A lacklustre Tottenham Hotspur side were put to the sword by a relentless Manchester United outfit at Old Trafford as the Red Devils secured a 2-0 success in Thursday’s Premier League contest.
Spurs boss Antonio Conte had lost all three of his previous managerial meetings at the Theatre of Dreams prior to tonight’s game, and second-half goals from Fred and Bruno Fernandes extended the Italian’s miserable Manchester streak to four.
For a short while, it appeared that Erik ten Hag‘s side would be left to rue a succession of missed chances, as the hosts had 13 shots before the half-hour mark without finding the back of the net.
Hugo Lloris was in top form for the Lilywhites, keeping out Marcus Rashford‘s close-range effort and Luke Shaw‘s volley, while Antony also clipped the outside of the post after cutting inside on his favoured left foot.
Casemiro also drilled a long-range effort just wide of the post, but Conte’s side offered little resistance to Man United’s dominance, and they would be made to pay just after half time.
In the 47th minute, the effervescent Bruno Fernandes won the ball back for United midway in the Tottenham half, and the ball then broke kindly for Fred, whose tame side-footed effort would not appear to trouble Lloris.
However, the Brazilian’s effort took a significant deflection off of Ben Davies, wrong-footing the previously impenetrable Lloris, who could only watch the ball trickle into the far corner.
Conte and his 3-5-2 setup had virtually nothing in the way of a response to Man United’s relentless and effective pressing, and the hosts were rewarded again in the 69th minute.
After Harry Kane had a close-range effort – albeit an offside one – saved by David de Gea, referee Simon Hooper allowed play to continue, and Fernandes curled home a wonderful effort from outside the area after Man United effectively played out from the back.
The bulk of the opportunities continued coming Man United’s way in the dying embers, as Lloris got down low to deny a fierce Rashford effort magnificently before Fernandes put the ball in the back of the net again, but the Portuguese playmaker had gone a fraction too early and was flagged for offside.
Victory for Ten Hag’s side keeps them fifth in the table, but the gap to fourth-placed Chelsea has now been cut to just one point, while Tottenham remain third on 23 points, four adrift of leaders Arsenal having played a game more.