Erik ten Hag’s squad failed to handle the intensity of Ange Postecoglou’s side, who appeared unusually unfit and lacking in the physical component of the game.
It’s an understatement to say that Ten Hag committed blunders throughout the game in North London.
United fans will be concerned that the mistakes made during the setback were similar to those committed against Wolverhampton Wanderers; only, this time, United was punished.
1. An imbalance in the midfield
The midfield three has been the key takeaway thus far this season. Whether you like it or not, the experiment isn’t functioning.
Mason Mount, who cost Chelsea £55 million, is battling mightily. The midfielder was more conservative in his placement, which seemed to function well in the first half.
However, in the second half, United reverted to the Wolves game, and he struggled.
The midfield trio was exhausted; they were huffing and puffing early in the second half, and their fitness was lacking.
The midfield was easily bypassed during moments in the second half. Gary Neville, who was on Sky commentary, felt Scott McTominay could have been better suited to the game’s conditions.
2. Sancho was passed over
Despite his influence on Monday night, Jadon Sancho, who came off the bench against Wolves, was once again on the bench.
The £73 million Englishman came off the bench looking sharp and taking better care of the ball than his replacement, Alejandro Garnacho.
Sancho had been trialed as a false 9 but was strangely brought on and deployed as a left-winger, which is a mystery.
3. Rashford’s striker experiment must come to an end.
Marcus Rashford was once again forced to play up front, this time with Garnacho and Antony on each side of him, and to say it didn’t work would be an understatement.
In Rasmus Hojlund’s absence, the Englishman, who was excellent at left flank last season, has been switched to the number 9 position.
Rashford’s lack of holdup play, simply because he is a winger, makes him appear invisible at times.
When Raphael Varane or Andre Onana sent the ball at the 25-year-old, the ball did not stick, allowing Spurs to continue their attacks.
Rashford will almost certainly be shifted back to his favored position of the left, with Hojlund still long away from full-match fitness.