Manchester United have scored half of their goals (it’s early in the season I know) from penalties. The third of their four goals was the result of a corner kick. Part of the difficulty facing Man Utd is their ability to get behind defenses – resulting in penalties. So while the statistic of 75% of their early season goals being set pieces is a bit inflated, Tottenham will have to address there play into the box, getting behind players, and creating chances. It will be interesting to see if the Spurs take a more defensive posture, sitting back in a 3-4-3 to combat United’s forward play, or move into more of an attack with Pochettino’s favored 4-2-3-1.
Man Utd have also allowed 4 goals this season. An overwhelming 75% of those goals have come from a wide player serving the ball. This bodes well for Spurs as they have a significant threat in Trippier on the right side (assuming he starts over Aurier). With that said, I have found Spurs to be a bit predictable coming down the right hand side and serving up (albeit great service) crosses. Spurs will need to involve Ben Davies in the offense, create the need for United to shift and find them out of position. Each of the goals given by United have been defensive lapses rather than simply good offense. That will benefit a potent Spurs attack, but if they only attack one side of the pitch, it will allow United to rest comfortably defending.
While the newly promoted Brighton were only allowed 45% of the possession vs. United in match week two, a counter-attacking Leicester saw 56% of the ball in week one. This, again, is a good sign for a Tottenham side that wants the ball on their foot. They aren’t comfortable allowing opponents to hold the ball and find a rhythm. Spurs like to win the ball back quickly, swarming in an organized press that creates turnovers. Granted, Tottenham’s style sometimes leads to a bit of sloppy play by both sides, it is effective, and will be a difficulty for United.
United have good pace, and their counter has been organized. In truth, they have been unlucky on more than one occasion – finding the shot on goal they wanted and either missing the goal altogether or being snuffed by active and aggressive goalkeeping. Thankfully it looks like Lloris will be between the posts today. He is riding a tremendous World Cup, and a good showing thus far in the premier league.
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