Harry Kane and Son Heung-min each scored twice Sunday to send Tottenham Hotspur to a historic 6-1 trouncing of Manchester United — which played down a man for more than an hour after Anthony Martial was sent off for violent conduct — in a chaotic and thoroughly entertaining battle of Premier League giants at Old Trafford.
Entertaining for neutrals, that should say. Because for any Red Devil supporters watching from home, what transpired at the traditionally imposing Theatre of Dreams must have been utterly excruciating to watch — especially after Bruno Fernandes had fired the hosts ahead from the penalty spot inside the opening two minutes.
But Tottenham, coached by former Man United boss Jose Mourinho, equalized almost immediately though, with a Tanguy Ndombele goal following some dreadful defending by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side:
Son made it 2-1 in short order by taking advantage of a quick Kane free kick, but the turning point in the game undoubtedly came in the 28th minute, when Martial slapped Spurs’ Erik Lamela in the face after Lamela appeared to elbow Martial in the jaw as the two grappled for position before a corner kick.
Unfortunately for Martial and United, the referee only spotted the retaliation, and somehow the video assistant didn’t recommend that the Argentine — who shamelessly embellished the contact — also be expelled from the match. Martial now faces a three-match suspension for violent conduct under Premier League rules.
Up a goal and a man well before halftime, Tottenham was in complete control of the match at that point. It only took a matter of seconds for Spurs to tear the shorthanded hosts to shreds, with Kane finishing off a pretty passing sequence from close range:
Amid more nonexistent defending, Son added his second to make it 4-1 before the teams headed to the dressing rooms at the break. The rout was officially on:
Yet, even with the outcome clearly beyond doubt, few could’ve predicted just how lopsided the final score would be. But things only went from bad to worse for United in the second half. Serge Aurier added Spurs’ fifth not long after the intermission. And Kane got his second goal from the spot following a completely unnecessary foul by Paul Pogba in his own penalty box. That one play basically summed up United’s forgettable afternoon.
While Solskjaer is reportedly set to add veteran Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani before the transfer window closes Monday, Sunday’s debacle only reinforced the growing notion that where the Red Devils really need help is in the back.
The five-goal loss was United’s biggest margin of defeat since they lost by the same score to Manchester City in 2011. Through its first three matches of the 2020-21 Prem campaign, United has shipped a staggering 11 goals, its worst defensive record to start a season in 90 years. The manager now has two weeks to sort it out, though, before his side’s next match, against Newcastle on Oct. 17. For the Red Devils, the international break couldn’t have come soon enough.
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