Tottenham enjoyed a near-flawless home opener, scoring twice, dominating the ball and keeping a clean sheet against Manchester United.
It’s been a long time since Spurs expressed themselves like that against one of the perceived elite Premier League teams. Tottenham played fearlessly, dominating almost every facet of the match.
Yes, United had a few chances, but were, for the most part, kept silent. Each player in the starting 11 was fully committed to the cause, showcasing confidence and an irrepressible desire to play on the front foot.
I forgot how truly beautiful football can be when it’s played in the right way. It’s remarkable how far Tottenham has come in such a short period under Ange. There’s so much to look forward with the affable Aussie at the helm.
Without further ado, here are the Tottenham player ratings from an exquisite afternoon in N17.
Guglielmo Vicario 9/10
The Italian was more calm on the ball than in his debut at Brentford. He made a brilliant save on Marcus Rashford in the first half, coming out quickly to cut down the angle before flashing his outstretched right hand.
The Italian made a brilliant reaction save on Casimiro’s flashed header in the 56th minute, showcasing his cat-like agility. Vicario will be chuffed with his superb home debut.
Pedro Porro 8/10
Pedro Porro had a furious first half, hitting the bar from just outside the box on a sizzling attempt. He also crossed superbly for Cristian Romero and got involved in the attack where he could.
The Spaniard conceded possession deep in his own half twice.
Fortunately, those giveaways weren’t costly. Most of United’s threatening attacks came from Porro’s side, at least in the first half, which is not necessarily the right back’s fault. He was outstanding in the second half.
Cristian Romero 8/10
The Argentine made a few excellent blocks, the most noticeable in the 14th minute, and was dominant in the air. He and new partner Micky van de Ven need to work on their communication, as United’s attacking players found space between Spurs’ central defenders, especially in the first half.
Bruno Fernandes was Exhibit A, with the Portuguese slipping between Romero and van de Ven. Luckily, the United captain inexplicably ballooned his close-range open header. Otherwise, Romero was solid, domineering, and comfortable.
Micky van de Ven 8/10
The Dutchman coughed up possession early but improved after that.
His speed allowed him to close space quickly on Rashford, who struggled to find open space with Spurs’ new centre-back always lurking.
He was never exposed nor called upon to make any goal-saving last-gasp challenges. After the opening 20 minutes, he neutralized Rashford, a testament to the Dutchman’s overall proficiency.
So, in all, it was an excellent performance from the newbie.
Destiny Udogie 9/10
What a player Destiny Udogie already is. With boundless potential, Udogie enjoyed another masterful match in Spurs’ new inverted fullback role. He is an indefatigable machine, particularly with his marauding offensive forays.
He supported and overlapped Sonny brilliantly, creating space for himself and Spurs’ captain. He also had a left-footed poke attempt on goal that had to be saved smartly by Onana. Outstanding performance.
Yves Bissouma 10/10
I rarely dole out perfect ratings, so this one feels good.
So much more than a defensive midfield workhorse, Yves Bissouma has it all. He’s brilliant on the ball and interjects effectively without it.
He is blessed with pace, guile, agility, and strength and is a force to be reckoned with. As long as he gets a run of games and stays healthy, Spurs’ midfield engine will be one of the best in the world. He’s already on his way to securing those accolades.
James Maddison 8/10
It took a while for James Maddison to find his footing.
However, the Englishman had a few threatening forays in the first half, creating chances on the counter with his speed and ability to swivel on a dime.
And what a ball from Spurs’ midfield maestro that eventually led to the team’s second. So intelligent and unerring on the ball, Maddison was the purchase of the decade. Strike that, Maddison and Bissouma.
Pape Sarr 9.5/10
What a performance from Spurs’ central midfielder.
He justified his selection and then some, physically battling and popping up at the back post to hammer a left-footed half-volley. He tracks back tenaciously and relentlessly, breaking up play with incredible efficiency.
He’s an absolute terrier in the centre of the park and complements that defensive nous with sneaky-good skills going forward.
Forwards and Subs
Richarlison held up the ball well on occasion but, more often than not, is too soft with his back to goal. He needs to be stronger in possession. He didn’t have any real clear-cut chances.
Dejan Kulusevski 8/10
The Swede was back to his dangerous best for most of the afternoon.
He created loads of chances, bullying Luke Shaw. While his last touch escaped him on several occasions, his cutback — which was fortuitously deflected — found Sarr at the back post for Spurs’ opener.
Kulusevski had several sights on goal. His shot let him down today, but it’s only a matter of time before he sorts that out and becomes more ruthless.
Son Heung-min 8.5/10
What a captain’s performance. Sonny was dangerous almost every time he got the ball. He made several incisive, seeing-eye passes leading to scoring chances, most notably the sweet layback for Porro in the first half, whose sizzling shot hit the bar.
He almost scored, too, but United’s flying-in defenders blocked his goal-bound shot.
Ben Davies 7.5/10
Like Perisic, Davies inserted himself into proceedings almost immediately. He looked lively on both sides of the ball.
Ivan Perisic 8/10
The Croatian got involved immediately, interchanging and playing give-and-go with Maddison. His first cross was dangerous, something we’ve come to expect from his deliveries. While it will probably go down as an own goal, Perisic deserves all the plaudits for his pass to Davies, which rolled into the goal for Spurs’ second.
Pierre Hojbjerg N/A
The Dane didn’t really impact proceedings either way during his comparatively short spell on the pitch.