Spurs 0 Man Utd 1: De Gea masterclass seals sixth win for Solskjaer
Marcus Rashford scores the only goal against Tottenham at Wembley
Tottenham 0 Manchester United 1
Manchester United made it six wins from six under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, beating Tottenham 1-0 at Wembley Stadium yesterday.
The only goal of the game came from a first-half strike from Marcus Rashford but the man United had most to thank for their three points was David de Gea.
The Spanish goalkeeper produced a wondrous performance at Wembley, making 11 saves in total to deny Tottenham and dent their Premier League title hopes.
The defeat leaves Spurs third, nine points behind leaders Liverpool and two shy of Manchester City, who could extend that gap to five should they win this evening’s encounter against Wolves at the Etihad.
Tottenham’s miserable afternoon was compounded by an ankle injury for Harry Kane. The England striker crumpled under a heavy challenge from Phil Jones in the final minute of the game.
“It wasn’t the intention of the United player but it was a bad tackle and now he [Kane] has [a] bit of a swelling on his ankle and he was limping after the game,” said Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.
“We are going to lose Son [Heung-min] for the Asia Cup and if Harry Kane suffers an injury, it is going to be massive for us.”
Six of the best
United’s latest win moves them level on 41 points with fifth-placed Arsenal. Only goal difference keeps the Gunners above their bitter rivals after they lost again at the weekend, this time to West Ham.
United are on a roll under Solskjaer and the negativity and pessimism that characterised much of Jose Mourinho’s reign are a distant memory. Solskjaer has infused the squad with a positive outlook and no one is benefiting more than Paul Pogba.
The Frenchman cut a forlorn figure under Mourinho, but he’s back loving his football. It was his superb pass that enabled Rashford to fire a low shot past Hugo Lloris on the stroke of half-time.
“When you have the pace of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, and the cleverness of Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard, the plan was to attack with pace,” said Solskjaer, who has made no secret of his ambition to become the permanent United manager.
“Marcus took his goal brilliantly and the pass from Paul was half of the goal.”
Spanish lesson for Spurs
But it was the exploits of De Gea that won United the day. The shot-stopper pulled off a masterclass between the sticks.
Several of Kane’s efforts were thwarted while Dele Alli and Toby Alderweireld were also kept at bay by the Spaniard’s brilliance. “De Gea was outstanding,” conceded Pochettino. “He fully deserved to be man of the match.”
Solskjaer has described De Gea’s performance as “top” but he was also quick to shower praise on the whole squad. “We defended well as a team and when you play against Harry Kane you are always going to be tested,” he said. “It was just a complete team performance.”
Still not satisfied
Despite the renaissance of United in recent weeks, Solskjaer made it clear there’s still plenty of work ahead if the squad is to do its reputation justice.
“We are challenging for the top four but we are not where we want to be,” said the Norwegian. “Man Utd shouldn’t be happy with the top four. You expect to win every single game at Man Utd. You won’t, but you must go in thinking that. That’s the mentality of this group.”
Premier League results and fixtures
- West Ham United 1 Arsenal 0
- Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Liverpool 1
- Burnley 2 Fulham 1
- Cardiff City 0 Huddersfield Town 0
- Crystal Palace 1 Watford 2
- Leicester City 1 Southampton 2
- Chelsea 2 Newcastle United 1
- Everton 2 AFC Bournemouth 0
- Tottenham Hotspur 0 Manchester United 1
- Manchester City vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (8pm, live on Sky Sports)
Next weekend’s fixtures
Saturday 19 January (3pm unless stated)
- Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Leicester City (12.30, live on Sky Sports)
- AFC Bournemouth vs. West Ham United
- Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace
- Manchester United vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
- Newcastle United vs. Cardiff City
- Southampton vs. Everton
- Watford vs. Burnley
- Arsenal vs. Chelsea (5.30pm, live on BT Sport)