What a match it turned out to be in the last 20 minutes. Tottenham, who were just not able to break the United defence for the most part of the first half, ran havoc in a space of 5 minutes 45 seconds. Both the teams were not able to penetrate the opposition defence to a point where they make a mistake. Alderweireld was brilliant in defence for hosts Tottenham. And young Timothy Fosu-Mensah seemed to be a defensive rock for visitors Manchester United. The young Dutchman showed a level of performance that didn’t defy his age. He looked matured, a leader on the ball, and calm in defensive. Tottenham were just not able to create the magic in the opponent box because of the 18-year-old United defender. But then the youngster picked up a knock on his knee and had to be substituted in the 70th minute. On came Darmian and on came dismay for Manchester United.
Well, there are a lot of factors which hurt united in this match but let us look at three tactical mistakes by LVG that hurt United the most.
Mata on right wing-
This was a move that questioned the minds of many for quite some time now. LVG has been trying to experiment with his front 4 for the most part of this season and it has made us see a number of players being posted on the right wing role. But Mata is one such a player that is not meant to play on the right. The main reason being his right leg. Every time he gets a ball on to his right side, he has to run a bit backwards or side wards to make space so that he can kick the ball with his left leg. He is also not fast enough to play on the wing. Mata is a player who makes up for his pace with his brain and that’s why he thrives in the number 10 role. He puts in those clever passes, does the clever link ups and thereby makes a name for himself in the play-making role. But on the wings, he just absolutely gets shut up. Also, Mata is not physical and it was a very stupid decision to play Mata on the right where he was up against the likes of Danny Rose, a player who has been very good this season in both defending and attacking the left flank.
Starting Micheal Carrick ahead of Ander Herrera-
Another one of those typical LVG mistakes. Even though LVG prefers starting Carrick every time he is fit, he should realize that he is starting a man who is 34 and was never known for his speed. I personally like Carrick a lot but it makes no sense to start him against fast paced teams who counter like a mad bunch of wolves. LVG did the same mistake against Liverpool in the Europa League as well. Carrick gets caught out of position a number of teams when he is placed against fast paced teams. Herrera is a player who runs and runs to recover a ball he has lost. That was something that was needed against Tottenham. Also with Schneiderlin in the starting 11, it makes sense to start someone alongside him who can run up and link up with the attackers. Schneiderlin perfectly takes care of the defensive duties in central midfield.
Playing Ashley Young as Centre forward-
This one just baffled the minds of any football supporter. What on earth was LVG really trying to prove there? First, we are not very sure as to why he substituted Rashford with Young, and then to play him in the front was something that just doesn’t make sense anyone but him maybe. The logical explanation at the substitution was that maybe Mata will move on the left wing and let Martial will play as a striker with Young on the right wing. Or maybe Young will play in left wing and let Martial play upfront. But when the world saw that it was Young who was going up in the box to take headers and it was Young only who was only United player against the likes of Vertonghen and Alderweireld, they all started scratching their heads. Young has never played in the central attacking position for United in any competitive game. And Young did look like a player lost in the field yesterday. Well only LVG can explain what he had in mind while doing this experimentation.