Tottenham’s top four aspirations dealt crushing blow in defeat to United

Tottenham got the start they wanted but were unable to preserve their slim halftime advantage, as Manchester United scored three after the interval to take all three points. 

The 3-1 United win condemns Tottenham to seventh place in the standings after 31 matches. Everton are yet to play and will leapfrog the Lilywhites with a win against Brighton tomorrow. Tottenham are now six points adrift of a top four spot and will find it nearly impossible to make up the difference.

Spurs’ qualification for next season’s Europa League is now also in doubt, as the side sits precariously on the cusp. Not qualifying for Europe would be a devastating blow for this side, especially with as the financial burden of the new stadium looms large.

Scoring the all-important first goal was a crucial element to Spurs’ success in this evening’s match against United. Unfortunately Tottenham have shown they’re incapable of seeing matches out.

It appeared United bagged the opener after Edinson Cavani slipped behind Eric Dier and finished the one-time shot with aplomb. VAR, however, had something to say about Scott McTominay’s flailing arm that caught Son Heung-min flush in the face early in the move.

All though it would be considered soft if that foul was called against Spurs, it was an infraction by the letter of the law. Son then punished United with a smart finish at the end of a fluid Spurs’ move. Victor Lindelöf whiffed on an attempted clearance attempt, allowing Lucas Moura to slide the ball intelligently across to an unmarked Son.

The South Korean pounced on the opportunity, scoring his 14th of the season and first in nine matches. Tottenham have now lost twice in the 10 matches Son has scored this season.

We all know how precarious one-goal leads are for Tottenham, which rendered United’s equalizer early in the second half as unsurprising as it was frustrating. United have become masters at nullifying deficits away from home. They’re now unbeaten in 23 away Premier League matches, many of which saw Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side overturn early deficits.

The match opened considerably after United’s leveller, with both teams threatening to take all three points. United had a couple of glorious chances, but failed to capitalize. Hugo Lloris came up with a world-class save on a sizzling Bruno Fernandes long-range drive.

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were both thwarted by successive Dean Henderson kick saves.

Cavani then snuck behind Serge Aurier and dealt a crushing blow to Spurs with a well placed diving header. Mason Greenwood poured salt into Spurs’ gaping wound with a third in injury time.

That goal all but ended Tottenham’s hopes of finishing in the top four. The more pressing concern now is whether they’ll muster enough to gain qualification for next season’s Europa League.