Sunday 1st December saw Tottenham Hotspur host Manchester United for the first time this season. With both teams tipped to be title challengers at the beginning of the campaign many people may have been left confused looking at the table prior to kick off with neither of two teams being in the top 4.
AVB fielded a very similar side to the one that took a beating from Manchester City the week before, with Sandro and Dembele sitting in a holding role in midfield with the Brazilian playmaker Paulinho playing just in front, giving Tottenham a strong base to play out from.
With most games won or lost due to the performance of the midfield battles this game was no different. Sandro, and his opposite number Phil Jones, put in a performance to be proud of. Both players play the game very alike one another, loving a hard tackle and winning the ball back from a defensive situation and turning defence into attack by moving the ball forward quickly.
Sandro has a lovely ability of being able to read the game and anticipate his opponent’s next move. During the game against Manchester United, Sandro won the ball back making 6 successful interceptions, alongside 7 final third passes with 100% pass completion, showing his determination to win the ball and react positively by moving the ball forward to create chances for his team mates.
Sandro’s overall pass completion for the game was an impressive 81% but he only managed to make 27 passes during the game. The Brazilian also gave Spurs a 2-1 lead in the second half doing what he does best, picking the ball up on the edge of the centre circle and driving forward, he then cut inside on his right foot and put the ball in the far top corner, a goal his ex-team mate Gareth Bale would have been proud of!
Manchester United’s Phil Jones played a very important role against Spurs, and he played it very well. Jones played in a holding role in midfield alongside Cleverley but played more of an “anchor role” . By this I mean he sat slightly further back then Cleverley, and received the ball from defence but could also turn it into attack by playing the ball to his left winger (Valencia).
Jones received the ball from Smalling on 11 occasions, giving Smalling the opportunity to play into him and out through the midfield, which is great from a hard working midfielder. Jones also played it to Valencia on 8 occasions showing his attacking mind set, receiving the ball and playing forward to Valencia, allowing him to run down the pitch and push higher, releasing pressure off the Manchester united defence.
Jones’s stats throughout the game highlight his hard work. Jones made 3 tackles, winning 100%, he also made 2 aerial duels, again winning 100%, and his overall pass completion stood at 86% from 64 passes – more than double made by Sandro, and Jones also made 31 defensive zone passes with a 97% success rate.