1. Playing Ashley Young up front with Jesse Lingard behind him, while Juan Mata and Anthony Martial played out wide, was an utterly bizarre tactical move. If you asked any 11-year-old with a vague interest in United what positions those four players should be in, they would be able to give you a better formation than Louis van Gaal. While Young was more involved than Marcus Rashford had been in the first half, Martial has wondering what he’s got to do to play in his preferred position.
2. Tim Fosu-Mensah looked like the most experienced defender in the back line on Sunday, and is probably the only player in the team who can be happy with his performance. Given he only had two hours of first team football under his belt before this game, United’s other defenders should be embarrassed. Marcos Rojo was appalling, while Chris Smalling and Daley Blind looked nothing like the defenders who kept Romelu Lukaku at bay last weekend. When Fosu-Mensah was subbed off with injury, the scoreline was 0-0. Within 10 minutes of his withdrawal, United were 3-0 down. Matteo Darmian, the Dutchman’s replacement, was dreadful.
3. Louis van Gaal is right when he says there was nothing between the teams before Spurs’ first goal, but to argue we had been playing well up until that point is ridiculous. We had just one shot on target, minutes earlier, after Martial got himself in to a good position thanks to some great individual skill. He fired straight at Hugo Lloris though, disappointingly, and that was a turning point. Had he gone for either corner, and put United 1-0 up, the rest of the game could have been very different.
4. Before kick-off, just looking at the league table showed it was obvious the tables have turned when it comes to United and Spurs, but the result confirmed it. There have been several collapses in this fixture over the years, but it’s usually from the team in white. To concede three goals in less than six minutes is just embarrassing and a sad reflection of how weak-willed this squad is, as well as lacking in defensive quality.
5. The Spurs fans were a huge disappointment. With Leicester winning earlier in the day, Spurs fans knew they had to win today, but sat largely in silence for the first 70 minutes. Even the repeated taunts of “you nearly won the league” from our away end failed to stir a response from the home support. The volume from their fans once they were 3-0 up was impressive, particularly for such a small stadium, but why hadn’t they turned up before then?
6. All of that said, I would still probably prefer Spurs to win the league. It would boil more piss, which would be more amusing. All Arsenal fans, Chelsea fans, West Ham fans and Gary Lineker would hate it. I’m also fairly bored of this “fairytale” story of Leicester. I’m not sure which fairytales you were told as a kid, but the ones I heard didn’t involve racists and women beaters as the heroes. Leicester are top of the table, have played the best football, and with 33 games played, deserve to be champions. Their rise from relegation zone to top of the table is fantastic and Claudio Ranieri is a great guy, but the way their players’ misdemeanours are swept under the carpet because they don’t fit the dreamland narrative is irritating. Wayne Rooney got crucified for saying “fuck” on camera. Imagine if he had throttled his wife or racially abused someone. *sigh*