Tottenham 0 – 3 Man Utd

Manchester United eased the pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford sealed a comprehensive 3-0 win at Tottenham on Saturday Night Football.

Ronaldo produced an inspired performance, volleying in United’s opener late in the first half, before laying on a second for Cavani midway through the second with an equally exquisite assist as Solskjaer’s side took their first step to recovery after Sunday’s 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Liverpool.

Solskjaer arrived in north London with his tenure hanging by a thread but ensured he lived to fight another day as his team selection and tactics – chiefly to switch to a back five, and partner Ronaldo and Cavani in attack – won the day and ended a four-game winless run in the Premier League to lift United up to fifth in table.

By contrast, the pressure on Solskjaer seemed to transfer to his counterpart Nuno Espirito Santo, who bore the wrath of the home supporters and was subjected to boos throughout as Spurs’ challenge barely got off the ground and then evaporated when substitute Rashford slotted a late third for the visitors.

Player ratings

Tottenham: Lloris (5), Emerson Royal (6), Romero (5), Dier (5), Davies (5), Skipp (4), Hojbjerg (5), Lo Celso (4), Lucas Moura (6), Son (5), Kane (4).

Subs: Alli (5), Bergwijn (5), Ndombele (5).

Man Utd: De Gea (6), Wan-Bissaka (7), Lindelof (6), Varane (6), Maguire (6), Shaw (6), McTominay (6), Fred (6), Fernandes (7), Cavani (7), Ronaldo (8).

Subs: Rashford (7), Lingard (n/a), Matic (6).

Man of the match: Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo stars to rescue Ole from the brink

Cristiano Ronaldo embraces Edinson Cavani after Man Utd's second goal
Cristiano Ronaldo embraces Edinson Cavani after Man Utd’s second goal

Solskjaer switched to a back five at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and United made an assured start, restricting Spurs to an early Heung-min Son shot, which deflected harmlessly wide of the target.

But cracks began to appear as Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw, two players as culpable as any for the Liverpool collapse, picked up bookings in quick succession, before Spurs fashioned their first clear-cut chance.

Team news

  • Ben Davies and Giovani Lo Celso returned as Tottenham made two changes from Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at West Ham.
  • Raphael Varane and Edinson Cavani returned as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer switched to a five-man defence after Man Utd’s 5-0 defeat to Liverpool.

Oliver Skipp and Lucas Moura combined to send a delicate ball over the United defence which Son plucked brilliantly out of the air, but the South Korean blazed over at the near post.

United went straight up the other end and nearly produced the perfect response, with Edinson Cavani steering a header inches wide from Bruno Fernandes’ pin-point cross.

Spurs had the ball in the United net on 28 minutes, only for Romero’s bundled back-post effort to be correctly ruled out for offside, before Fred stung the palms of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris with a swerving long-range drive soon after.

Cristian Romero scores for Spurs, but the goal is ruled out for offside
Cristian Romero scores for Spurs, but the goal is ruled out for offside

The breakthrough came for the visitors six minutes before the break, with Fernandes sending another inch-perfect ball over the Spurs defence for Ronaldo, who volleyed emphatically into the far corner to give United a deserved half-time lead.

Spurs should have levelled things up within three minutes of the restart, but Son curled wide of the target after Lucas Moura had intercepted a loose pass out from the back from David de Gea.

Cristiano Ronaldo volleys Man Utd ahead at Spurs
Cristiano Ronaldo volleys Man Utd ahead at Spurs

Seconds later, United thought they had doubled their advantage, but Ronaldo was adjudged to have strayed offside before his unerring finish into the roof of Lloris’ net.

It marked the beginning of Spurs’ decline, with Nuno the subject of boos from the home crowd when he replaced the lively Lucas Moura with Steven Bergwijn, and again when United doubled their lead.

Edinson Cavani celebrates his goal with teammates Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Scott McTominay (AP)
Edinson Cavani celebrates his goal with teammates Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Scott McTominay (AP)

Skipp was dispossessed by Fernandes in midfield, the ball was fed into Ronaldo who, having lost his balance, somehow managed to thread Cavani through on goal, and the Uruguayan clipped a delicate finish over the on-rushing Lloris.

Tottenham failed to muster any kind of response and were put out of their misery when substitutes Nemanja Matic and Rashford combined and the England international’s composed finish put the icing on the cake on an evening where Solskjaer’s United showed their steel.

Opta stats

  • Manchester United earned their biggest away league win against Spurs since February 2007, when they won 4-0 at White Hart Lane.
  • Tottenham have now lost two Premier League home games by at least three goals this season (also 0-3 vs Chelsea) – they’d only lost by such a margin at home once in the seven previous campaigns combined (0-3 vs Liverpool in 2014-15).
  • Having won each of their first three Premier League games 1-0 this season, Spurs have now conceded at least once in their last seven. It’s their longest run without a clean sheet since a run of 10 between September and December 2019.
  • Tottenham haven’t had a shot on target in their last two hours and 16 minutes of football, since Harry Kane’s effort in the 44th minute against West Ham. This was the first time Spurs have failed to have a shot on target in a Premier League home game since December 2013 against Liverpool.
  • Nuno Espírito Santo is just the second Spurs manager to lose as many as five of his first 10 Premier League games in charge of the club, after Christian Gross in 1997-98.
  • Only against Leicester City (6) has Man Utd’s Marcus Rashford scored more Premier League goals than he has against Tottenham (4).

Man of the Match – Cristiano Ronaldo

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. When Manchester United and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needed a performance, Cristiano Ronaldo delivered it in trademark fashion with a goal and an assist of the highest order. With the spotlight shining heavily on the potential pitfalls of his high-profile return to Old Trafford in recent weeks, this was a timely reminder of exactly why he was brought back to the club.

What’s next?

Tottenham host Vitesse in the Europa Conference League on Thursday at 8pm before travelling to Everton in the Premier League on Sunday at 2pm.

Saturday 6th November 11:30am

Kick off 12:30pm

Manchester United visit Atalanta in the Champions League on Tuesday at 8pm before hosting Manchester City on Saturday at 12.30pm – live on Sky Sports Premier League.

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