Tuesday August 28, 2018
MANCHESTER, England -- Three thoughts on Tottenham's stunning 3-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford.
1. Spurs deepen the gloom for Mourinho
Tottenham maintained their 100 percent start to the season and heaped further pressure on Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho by emerging with three points from Old Trafford for the first time since January 2014.
Harry Kane's second-half header and two from former United target Lucas Moura secured the win for Spurs, who moved joint top of the Premier League alongside Liverpool, Chelsea and Watford.
The victory hammered home the title credentials of Mauricio Pochettino's team, but the defeat, United's second in three games this season, has now placed huge importance on United's trip to Burnley on Sunday. Another defeat at Turf Moor ahead of the international break could raise the previously unthinkable prospect of Mourinho's job being under threat.
United, who dominated the first half but failed to take a number of clear-cut chances, are now already six points off the pace in the race for the title, but they will begin worrying about a top-four finish if this form continues.
For Spurs, though, Pochettino's men have delivered an early-season statement of intent by proving they can win away from home against a top-six rival. This was only their third win in 21 clashes away from home against a big-six opponent, but it was an emphatic display that suggested they can push for the title this season.
As for United, they look a million miles away from that.
2. Kane shows his class against wasteful Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku cost Manchester United £90 million when signed from Everton last year, but if Harry Kane were ever to leave Tottenham, you wouldn't get much change from £200m by comparison. The market has changed since Lukaku swapped Goodison Park for Old Trafford, thanks to Neymar's £198m move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, but you ultimately get what you pay for and Kane showed at Old Trafford just why he is in the £200m bracket.
Big strikers take their chances in big matches, and while Kane scored from his first chance to put Spurs ahead with a second-half header, Lukaku had already missed three clear scoring opportunities by that stage. After Lukaku's third miss, a header wide from Fred's 27th-minute cross, Jose Mourinho turned to his bench and held up three fingers to signal his displeasure at the Belgian forward's wastefulness.
The United manager had a point, too. When you pay so much for a striker, you expect him to deliver when it matters, namely in the games against big rivals, but Lukaku rarely finds the back of the net in the tightest of matches. Kane, on the other hand, is ruthless. He won the World Cup Golden Boot by taking most of his few chances for England in Russia and he did the same at Old Trafford.
When Kane outjumped Phil Jones to head in a 50th-minute corner, it was his first-ever goal at Old Trafford and gave Spurs a crucial lead. From that point on they took ahold of the game and scored another to make the points safe, but it would have been different had Lukaku been similarly clinical for United. His miss between Spurs' first and second goals, when he was denied by a sharp Hugo Lloris save, underscored it further.
3. Shaw makes Southgate's trip worthwhile
Gareth Southgate names his first England squad since the World Cup this Thursday and he made a final check on the contenders by watching from the stands at Old Trafford. The long-term admirer of Luke Shaw will have left the ground boosted by the performance of the Manchester United left-back.
Shaw has endured a nightmare at Old Trafford since arriving from Southampton in the summer of 2014, with injury and fitness restricting the 23-year-old to fewer than 70 first-team appearances in four years. But he has now started each of United's games this season and he looks fitter and leaner than ever before.
Jose Mourinho has given Shaw a long-awaited chance to prove himself, favouring the youngster over regular left-back Ashley Young against Spurs, and he was one of a small handful of United players who performed to anywhere close to their ability in this game.
Shaw should be back in Southgate's squad for the Spain and Switzerland games, but Danny Rose also performed well on the left flank for Spurs on Monday night. At 33, Young has insisted that he will not retire from the international scene, but Shaw and Rose might just force him out of the picture if they continue to perform like this for their clubs.