Ole Gunnar Solskjaer passed the first test. Manchester United’s embattled manager employed a new formation which helped his team end a four-game Premier League winless streak with a 3-0 road win at Tottenham Hotspur. Cristiano Ronaldo was the attacking star with a spectacular goal and assist as Man United move into 5th place (17 points, eight behind leaders Chelsea).
Manchester United fielded a 3-5-2 formation which gave the Red Devils the defensive solidity they’ve been lacking in recent matches. The shutout win was only the second of the season and the first since Aug. 29. Tottenham didn’t register a single shot on goal and the return from injury of Man United center back Raphael Varane didn’t hurt: He had more clearances (6) than any other player on the field.
Meanwhile in attack, the addition of forward Edinson Cavani alongside Ronaldo, and the contribution of the wingbacks higher up the field helped give United an offensive edge. But the Red Devils still needed a moment of magic from their star players to break through. Bruno Fernandes lofted a perfectly weighted ball and his compatriot Ronaldo applied a sensational volley finish to open the scoring before halftime.
MORE: Manchester United season schedule & highlights
In the second half, Fernandes and Ronaldo combined again in the 64th minute before Ronaldo fed Cavani in behind. The veteran Uruguayan striker doubled the visitors’ lead and it made for a more comfortable second half. It was so comfortable that all three attackers were eventually subbed off as Man United sought to lock down the result. One of the subs, England international Marcus Rashford, got an emphatic third goal against a dispirited Spurs side.
While Solskjaer can breathe easy for a few days, the pressure increases on Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito Santo. His team was booed by the home fans at different points in the match, and so was Tottenham captain Harry Kane, who failed to make an impact.
The next in the series of three matches that Solskjaer reportedly has to save his Manchester United job comes on Tuesday in the Italian city of Bergamo, where Man United will face Atalanta in its fourth UEFA Champions League group-stage match. Then arguably the biggest of the three matches comes on Saturday, Nov. 6 when the Red Devils take on their intra-city rivals, reigning English premier Manchester City at Old Trafford.
“We have to change and we change today.”
Cristiano Ronaldo understands the frustrations from the Man United supporters and calls for the club to change following tonight’s win pic.twitter.com/6yUNBkREuv
MANU — Cristiano Ronaldo (Bruno Fernandes) — 39th min.
MANU — Edinson Cavani (Cristiano Ronaldo) — 64th min.
MANU — Marcus Rashford (Nemanja Matic) — 86th min.
(All times Eastern)
93rd min.: Cristian Romero is carded for a foul on Marcus Rashford. Frustrating end to this game for Spurs.
90th min.: Three minutes of stoppage time.
86th min.: Goal Man United! The sub Marcus Rashford gets it. Nemanja Matic feeds him the ball in behind and Rashford’s finish is ruthless.
🤔 Un gol muy dudoso…
👀 Pero entran las dudas si esta habilitado o no: míralo tú mismo y danos tu opinión
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82nd min.: SUB – Manchester United is seeing this game off. Spurs don’t look dangerous. Jesse Lingard comes on for Edinson Cavani. That’s all three attackers who are now off for Man United.
76th min.: SUB – Solskjaer takes off Bruno Fernandes and brings on Nemanja Matic. He wants to lock down this 2-0 result.
73rd min.: SUB – Spurs bring in Dele Alli for Giovani Lo Celso.
71st min.: SUB – Marcus Rashford comes on for Cristiano Ronaldo and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer immediately tries explaining the sub to Ronaldo to avoid any controversy. Man United has another match coming up on Tuesday in the UEFA Champions League.
🗣 ¡VIVAAAAA RONAAAAALDO!
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66th min.: SUB – And Skipp immediately comes off after that giveaway, with Tanguy Ndombele taking his place.
64th min.: Goal Man United! Spurs mid Oliver Skipp loses the ball to Bruno Fernandes. Ronaldo feeds Cavani who makes a run in behind, and it’s a great finish.
Edinson Cavani makes it 2️⃣ for @ManUtd ! 💪 #TOTMUN pic.twitter.com/WASO5MrCFC
54th min.: SUB – Amid boos and chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing,” Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito Santo brings on Steven Bergwijn for Lucas Moura, who looked to be one of the bright spots for Spurs on the day.
Tottenham booed off the pitch at half-time and Nuno Espírito Santo’s decision to take off Lucas Moura has now been loudly derided by the home support.
The jeers followed by a chorus of “you don’t know what you’re doing”
48th min.: What a finish by Ronaldo! But he was offside! Goal is taken off the board. The replays show that Ronaldo was ahead on the through ball in behind. But his powerful finish was still spectacular.
47th min.: Tottenham chance! Son Heung-min with the first-time shot and it goes wide. Lucas Moura penetrated and and dished the ball to him.
46th min.: The match has resumed. No subs.
Halftime: This game looked deadlocked during the first half. Both teams didn’t take many chances and they both defended well. It needed a spark of genius and it came from the Red Devil’s Portuguese duo. A perfect service from Bruno Fernandes was finished in equally exquisite manner by Cristiano Ronaldo. Man United has looked solid with its three center back system and the two wingbacks (Luke Shaw & Aaron Wan-Bissaka) have been involved in the attack. Those extra numbers have allowed Man United to keep attacks alive in Spurs’ half until Fernandes can find a moment to work his magic.
39th min.: What a goal by Ronaldo! Bruno Fernandes floats a ball into the box and Cristiano Ronaldo sends the first-time volley past Hugo Lloris. Great finish.
RONALDOOOOO 🚨 #TOTMUN pic.twitter.com/Map8ey3XTY
35th min.: What a block by Aaron Wan-Bissaka! Tottenham’s Son is free on goal and just as he gets his shot off, Wan-Bissaka blocks it with an incredible recovery tackle. Man United escapes.
33rd min.: Chance for Man United! Fred with the swerving left-footed shot that forces a save from Lloris. The corner kick doesn’t produce any danger.
28th min.: Goal Tottenham! A corner kick is flicked by Eric Dier, but Spurs’ Cristian Romero is offside when he deflects it in.
25th min.: On the other end it’s again Bruno Fernandes crossing for Edinson Cavani who’s header spins just high and wide of the top left corner.
😅 ¡CERO Y VAN TRES!
👀 Su remate se fue desviado
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24th min.: The Tottenham free kick goes off the Man U wall, but then the ball is floated back into the Man U box and Son skies it from close range. Dangerous.
🇰🇷 El coreano controla en el área y dispara pero se fue a los cielos de Inglaterra
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22nd min.: Another yellow against Man United. Harry Maguire gets a yellow for bringing down Giovanni Lo Celso just outside the box, but it was Raphael Varane who committed the foul.
21st min.: Tottenham fans want a penalty for an alleged hand ball by Wan-Bissaka, but replays showed there was no infraction. Nothing comes of the corner.
20th min.: Luke Shaw loses the ball and then brings down Lucas Moura who was ready to break. Yellow for Shaw.
13th min.: The other wingback Luke Shaw on the left attacking side with a dangerous cross and it leads to a chaotic sequence in the Tottenham box.
9th min.: Aaron Wan-Bissaka is involved in the attack down the right for Man U. His pass into the box found Cavani for a shot that was blocked. The wingbacks are going to be important.
8th min.: First Man United attack. Bruno Fernandes cross from the right and Edinson Cavani with the glancing header that goes wide.
6th min.: Spurs’ Son with the first shot of the match and it’s deflected by Fred for a corner. Nothing comes of it.
4th min.: Man United with a few giveaways in its own end, but Tottenham hasn’t made them pay.
1st min.: We’re off.
12:28 p.m.: Ronaldo loves scoring against Tottenham:
📊 Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more goals against Tottenham than against any other English club (10 in 18 apps) – he has scored in each of his last 5 games v Spurs for Man Utd & Real Madrid
Edinson Cavani makes his 1st away PL start since he scored at Tottenham on April 11 pic.twitter.com/tw8uLVEpO5
12:27 p.m.: Teams are lined up on the field for pregame ceremonies.
🙏 Respetuosamente, se guarda un minuto de silencio en el Tottenham Stadium por los soldados caídos en guerras 🙏 #LigaPremierTD #RemembranceDay pic.twitter.com/DcGRiwe93c
12:12 p.m.: Bring on the pressure, says Solskjaer.
“Who would want to live with no pressure?”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer speaks before Manchester United’s big game against Tottenham #TOTMUN pic.twitter.com/beNosx8RRR
12:08 p.m.: The 3-5-2 formation being adopted by Man United is one of the stories of the game.
A deep bench for United to draw from again today #mufc pic.twitter.com/R1EIjgfguw
As if Solskjaer has just said that Conte plays three at the back so that’s why he’s trying it today
11:08 a.m.: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before the madness begins:
Press box views in north London 🎥 #MUFC | #TOTMUN pic.twitter.com/K4tYRisFev
Tottenham’s Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring) is out and so is Bryan Gil, who suffered a hamstring injury in League Cup play. Dele Alli is back and available off the bench, though Harry Winks is not in the squad selected by Nuno Espirito Santo.
Tottenham starting lineup (4-3-3, left to right): 1-Hugo Lloris-GK — 33-Ben Davies, 15-Eric Dier, 4-Cristian Romero, 12-Emerson Royal — 5-Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, 29-Oliver Skipp, 18-Giovani Lo Celso — 27-Lucas Moura, 10-Harry Kane, 7-Son Heung-min
Tottenham subs (9): 22-Pierluigi Gollini-GK, 6-Davinson Sanchez, 3-Sergio Reguilon, 25-Japhet Tanganga, 2-Matt Doherty, 14-Joe Rodon, 20-Dele Alli, 28-Tanguy Ndombele, 23-Steven Bergwijn
It looks like a new-look formation for Solskjaer, who will look to shore up the defense by fielding three center backs and pairing up veterans Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo at forward.
MORE: Highlights of Man United’s debacle against Liverpool
Although United will be without Paul Pogba, who is suspended for three matches after his red card against Liverpool, Raphael Varane is back in the lineup. Anthony Martial was back training this week, but he did not make the matchday squad.
Manchester United starting lineup (3-5-2, left to right): 1-David de Gea-GK — 5-Harry Maguire (c), 19-Raphael Varane, 2-Victor Lindelof — 23-Luke Shaw, 17-Fred, 39-Scott McTominay, 18-Bruno Fernandes, 29-Aaron Wan-Bissaka — 21-Edinson Cavani, 7-Cristiano Ronaldo
Manchester United subs (9): 26-Dean Henderson-GK, 3-Eric Bailly, 20-Diogo Dalot, 34-Donny van de Beek, 31-Nemanja Matic, 14-Jesse Lingard, 11-Mason Greenwood, 10-Marcus Rashford, 25-Jadon Sancho
The match will air live in English and Spanish in the USA. NBC (English) and Universo (Spanish) will air the game, and both channels are available to stream on fuboTV .
MORE: All the results from Matchday 10 in the Premier League
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