Tottenham Hotspur went 1-0 up in the first half before a defensive error by Eric Dier conceded a penalty giving Manchester United the equaliser. The Premier League returns to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but the first result back could have been better for Spurs.
Eric Dier Concedes Penalty as Tottenham Hotspur Draw With Manchester United
Steven Bergwijn Bright
Steven Bergwijn opened Tottenham’s account after the Premier League restart. Lloris went long. Bergwijn picks up the ball, beats Harry Maguire, no other United defender near him. His powerful shot goes straight through David De Gea.
This goal was both powerful and promising. Bergwijn has had a solid start now at the club. He crucially brings another source of direct attacking play.
Bergwijn continued to be a threat. He whipped in a cross to Son on the back post before the 32nd minute, Son’s header to far corner is tipped away by De Gea.
New-Look Back Four With Same Defensive Errors
Spurs started the match with Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez as the two centre-backs in a back-four. This is an unfamiliar look without a Belgian defender in sight.
In the first half, the defence was compact, mostly solid. Eric Dier played his role well, strong in the air and on the ground. His partner Sanchez had a brief worrying moment where his weak header found Rashford in the box; Lloris made himself big to make a good stop.
However, right on cue, late on in the match, Eric Dier gave away a cheap penalty. He shoved over Paul Pogba. Spurs were under heavy pressure from United at the time which culminated in Pogba skinning Dier twice before getting fouled.
There was another fright for Spurs on 90 minutes, with Dier yet again involved. This time there wasn’t enough to warrant a penalty. United were perhaps trying to buy another penalty from him. VAR had to intervene to overturn Jonathan Moss’ original decision of a penalty.
The Return of Moussa Sissoko
Moussa Sissoko has become a rather important player in the Spurs midfield. He definitely isn’t the most skilful player, but he is effective nonetheless. His first-half was rather quiet, with only 10 touches.
In the second he was perhaps not his lung-busting self. But, none of the players were truly at the top of their game. Nevertheless, he made a vital interception late on. He still helped to break up play throughout the match, putting in some solid tackles.
Harry Kane Dull
It was a rather disappointing performance from Kane. He has only just returned from injury, and it showed on the pitch. Physically he was slow and tentative. His touch was off and he failed to make any real impact on the game.
It is definitely a case of Kane lacking match fitness and confidence. As the games come thick and fast, Mourinho should move to protect Kane. The issue would be who to field in his absence. Heung-Min Son is still the only recognised player to slot into that striker position. Dele has played in those sorts of areas though, so he provides another option.
Nevertheless, Kane played through 90 minutes which suggests that it is only a matter of time before he reaches his previous levels.
Spurs next face West Ham United on Tuesday night. It will be interesting to see whether Mourinho will rotate his side in any way. Toby Alderweireld did not get any minutes tonight, so perhaps he would feature at least.
The style of football was perhaps a little too negative in the second half. The result of the team sitting too deep inevitably led to the defensive error. Tottenham will play West Ham at home and should demonstrate that they are the home team throughout the match.
The kind of drive and directness of Steven Bergwijn’s goal in the first half is the kind of desire that the whole team should emulate to take the game to their opponent.
In Tottenham’s first match back, there were positives but there is still a rustiness that dogs most Premier League teams at the moment due to the extended break.
There is plenty of room for improvement, especially if Spurs want to play Champions League football next season.