MANCHESTER – Tottenham tore apart Manchester United for a 6-1 victory at Old Trafford on Sunday, exposing the defensive weaknesses in Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side by inflicting the team's joint-heaviest Premier League defeat at home.
Only once since 1930 has United conceded six at home — to Manchester City nine years ago. Not since 1986 has United opened the league season with back-to-back home losses.
This was a crushing defeat to a Tottenham side managed by Jose Mourinho, who was fired in 2018 to make way for Solskjær. And against a team that has played eight games in 22 days across three competitions and was trailing after two minutes at Old Trafford.
But after Bruno Fernandes’ penalty, United’s wretched defense allowed Tanguy Ndombele to level in the fourth minute and Son Heung-Min to net again inside three minutes.
United can be aggrieved that Erik Lamela’s apparent playacting led to Anthony Martial being sent off in the 28th minute. But the team was already being run ragged by Tottenham.
Harry Kane scored his first on the half-hour, Son netted again in the 37th, Serge Aurier was on target in the 51st and Kane wrapped up the rout from the penalty spot in the 79th.
“Very impressive,” Mourinho said. “The team was phenomenal since the second minute. Losing 1-0, big personality.”
Unlike United, which opened the season with 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace. Two more goals were conceded at Brighton last weekend but Fernando came to United’s rescue with a winner from the penalty spot in the 10th minute of stoppage time.
In contrast to that late penalty on the south coast, United was immediately off the mark from the spot against Tottenham.
The game was barely 30 seconds old when Davinson Sanchez tripped Anthony Martial to halt a run into the penalty and Fernandes converted from the spot.
Fernandes can be relied on to score penalties — this was his 18th in a row including at previous club Sporting in Lisbon. What cannot be relied on is United's shambolic defense despite captain Harry Maguire becoming the world’s most expensive defender when he was signed last year for 80 million pounds (then $97 million).
Twice he weakly headed the ball, unable to clear the danger, before Ndombele prodded in the leveler.
United was carved apart when Kane slipped the pass through for Son who lifted the ball over goalkeeper David De Gea. It was the first time in a decade that three goals had been scored in the opening seven minutes of a Premier League game.
The blot of Tottenham's day came with Lamela seeming to deceive the referee after being softly struck by Martial in retaliation for a light push on his face by the Argentine. Lamela clutched his face before dropping to the ground — and Martial's red was upheld by a VAR check.
Tottenham didn't seem to need the man-advantage it was so ruthless and United was so poor.
Eric Bailly received the ball and passed sloppily to Nemanja Matic, whose failure to control was seized on by Kane. The striker intercepted the ball and played a one-two with Son before netting.
United was torn apart down the right flank for Tottenham's fourth. After being released by Moussa Sissoko, Aurier put the ball through the legs of Maguire, the center half who had drifted into a left back position, and Son flicked a shot through De Gea.
United was in disarray and fortunate not to concede again until after the break. It was Pierre-Emile Højbjerg's weighted pass that set up Aurier for the fifth.
Pogba compounded a dismal display by fouling Ben Davies to concede the penalty that Kane converted.
The coronavirus pandemic kept fans out of the stadium — sparing Solskjær boos from his own supporters.