Ange Postecoglou’s first home match as Tottenham boss brought a 2-0 win over Manchester United, who were disappointing once again.
As far as introductions go, this was pretty impressive. “Welcome to N17,” read the crowd mosaic before kick-off at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as Ange Postecoglou took charge of his first Premier League home match.
The exhibition he presided over will have left every one of the home fans rather excited at full-time, with Spurs fully deserving of their 2-0 win over Manchester United, with this the first time they’ve beaten them in five attempts at their new stadium.
It wasn’t perfect; United had opportunities and Spurs clearly got the rub of the green here and there, but overall they were excellent, something that cannot be said of their visitors.
United fans were probably somewhat apprehensive ahead of this trip given the team’s performance against Wolves on Monday; Gary O’Neil’s side may have lost 1-0 at Old Trafford but cut through their hosts at will thanks to the carrying abilities of Matheus Cunha and Matheus Nunes, with Casemiro left looking stranded for much of the contest.
Spurs represented another step up in class of opposition and showed a hint of their potential in the opening minute, working the ball from back to front brilliantly before Son Heung-min miscued a volley.
United did settle, growing into a first-half performance that seemed a significant improvement on Monday. Alejandro Garnacho – the youngest player (19 years, 49 days) to start the club’s first two games in a season since Ryan Giggs (18y 264d) in 1992-93 – tested Guglielmo Vicario, so did an explosive Marcus Rashford, and Mason Mount had a strike crucially blocked.
Bruno Fernandes, extremely disappointing against Wolves, was bright. An outrageous rabona cross accounted for one of two chances created in the first 45; in fact, he was one of four United players to craft at least two openings before half-time.
Luke Shaw tallied four and should have had an assist but was let down by Fernandes, who inexplicably headed wide from an inch-perfect delivery with Vicario and the Spurs goal at his mercy. That was one of 27 touches United had in the Spurs box during the first 45 minutes, a figure they’ve only bettered once in the first half of a game since the start of the 2021-22 season.
Despite clearly having great joy in attack, profligate United were a little fortunate to reach the break level, with Spurs ending the half on top as they hit the crossbar – through Pedro Porro – and post – via a Shaw deflection – in quick succession.
United’s luck ran out early in the second half as Spurs opened the scoring through an unlikely source. A kind ricochet off Lisandro Martínez saw the ball drop kindly for Pape Matar Sarr to whack home from close range, the midfielder belatedly opening his account for the club with his fourth shot of the day – he’d only managed three in his previous 12 Premier League outings combined.
It was the start of a hugely frantic period. Antony nearly struck back when hitting the post, and Vicario tipped a Casemiro header over, but generally Spurs had all the momentum, creating a flurry of chances as Yves Bissouma and James Maddison began to find space against a United midfield that was crumbling for the second time in a week.
At the 75-minute mark, Spurs’ 20 touches in the opposition’s area for the second half was five times what United had managed; Ten Hag’s withdrawal of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Antony and Garnacho had an impact, with the visitors becoming a little more compact, but the attacking threat they’d shown in the first period had long since disappeared.
Their fate was then sealed in the 83rd minute, Martínez getting the slightest touch on Ben Davies’ pass into the danger zone, leaving André Onana rooted to the spot. It confirmed a defeat that continues United’s wretched record against last season’s top eight on the road, failing to win a single such game since the start of 2022-23. On the evidence of this game, it’s a run that could continue for a while yet.
But Spurs and Postecoglou are due credit. Their 322 successful passes in the opposition’s half on average across their first two games this season is a significant increase from their 170 per-game average last term.
Postecoglou is taking the game to opponents and is now unbeaten in his last 49 home league matches as a manager. It may have only been his first with Spurs, but all of a sudden the excitement is palpable, an achievement in itself following the departure of Harry Kane.
Below is the Opta match centre for the game, which includes team and player stats, a passing network, an Opta chalkboard and more. Everything you need to do your own analysis following the Tottenham vs Manchester United Premier League match.
Tottenham vs Manchester United Opta Stats
• Tottenham Hotspur registered their first ever Premier League win over Manchester United at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at the fifth attempt (D2 L2), with this their first home win over the Red Devils since January 2018 at Wembley.
• Manchester United have won just one of their last 10 Premier League games in London (D3 L6) and are without a clean sheet in 12 games in the capital.
• Pape Matar Sarr is the youngest player to score for Tottenham in the Premier League (20 years, 339 days) since Juan Foyth in November 2018 against Crystal Palace (20 years, 302 days).
• Ange Postecoglou is unbeaten in his last 49 home league games as a manager across spells with Yokohama F. Marinos, Celtic and current club Spurs (W41 D8), with his last defeat in November 2020 with Yokohama against Kashima Antlers in the J1 League.
• Manchester United had 14 shots in the first half of this match, their most in the first half of an away Premier League game since October 2008 against Everton (15).
• Pape Matar Sarr became the third player to score his first Premier League goal for Tottenham against Manchester United, after Dean Richards in September 2001 and Clint Dempsey in September 2012.
• At 19 years and 49 days, Alejandro Garnacho is the youngest player to start Manchester United’s first two Premier League games in a season since Ryan Giggs in 1992-93 (18y 264d).