Undrafted – The Network

Spurs, VAR and Chris Kavanagh 1-3 United

For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Jamie Evans, I am currently a Sports Journalism student at Chester University and I am a massive Manchester United fan. I want to take the opportunity to thank the guys and girls at “Undrafted the network” for allowing me the possibility of writing for them and I hope all the followers, old and new, enjoy the content I bring to the table. Enough of the pleasantries, time for the good stuff!

I can’t tell you the last time I celebrated a goal so wildly as I did when Mason Greenwood secured us the points in the final minute v Spurs yesterday. The relief that we gained a vital 3 points against a difficult opponent, after being robbed of a clear goal in the first half due to two factors, poor refereeing and embarrassing behaviour from Heung-min Son. To say I was ecstatic at the end of the game would be an understatement!

Image Credit – Metro

The first half started pretty sluggish from both sides. Slow and laboured build up play getting either team nowhere. United showing signs of fatigue due to playing Thursday night in Granada? Possibly. But what was the excuse for this Spurs side having exited Europe the week before? The first half an hour was a pretty tough watch.

Then the game burst into life. Mctominay shrugs off Son, who goes down, but the ref waves play on. Fred fires a pass into Pogba who slips in a great through ball to Cavani who fires home from 6 yards and it’s 0-1 United…..or so we thought.

Son had remained on the floor for the entirety of the move and was now receiving treatment. Spurs players surround the referee wanting a foul and it’s only a matter of time before the dreaded VAR check came in to play. What followed was just outright ridiculous from referee Chris Kavanagh and Heung-Min Son. The replays show Son trying to get hold of Mctominay as he’s running forward with the ball, Mctominay shrugs him off but catches Son with the smallest of flicks to the face and Son remained on the floor for 10 minutes receiving treatment. Really embarrassing from the player and looking back I’m sure he will be ashamed of his actions. Chris Kavanagh gets the nod to go over to look at it on the pitch side monitor and inevitably he over rules the goal as he is just an incompetent referee. Unfortunately he is just one of many incompetent refs that are currently officiating in the Premier League but that’s another story for another day!

Everyone associated with United were furious. My blood pressure must have hit record highs. Robbed. Fast forward two minutes and just like Jesus on resurrection Sunday, Son appeared to have risen from the dead to slot home at the back post to give Spurs the lead. Icing on the cake.

Image Credit – Twitter

For the remaining 10 minutes of the first half, the clear injustice and going a goal down had lit a fire in the United players stomachs and we started to control the game, as a classic Jose Mourinho team sat back after taking the lead. However, you could see the United players were furious. There were a few tackles going in harder than usual and Cavani got booked for trying to drag Joe Rodon off the floor after he made a meal of a challenge. But United went into half time 0-1 down. A big second half was needed.

And that’s what happened. From pretty much start to finish of the 2nd half United were in total control. Fred, Pogba and Cavani really pulling strings and pulling apart the Spurs back four. The equaliser came when fred and Bruno combined for a one-two on the edge of the area before fred slipped in Cavani, Cavani fired his shot at Hugo Lloris who was only able to parry  it out to Fred who fired into the roof of the net from 3 yards…yes you read that correctly. FRED HAD SCORED A GOAL.

From then on it was just one way traffic. United enjoying all of the ball but not quite putting the finishing touches on the end product. Mason Greenwood entered the game replacing Marcus Rashford around the 70 minute mark and within a few minutes of being on the pitch he showed his intent by firing a shot from the edge of the area that clipped the bottom of Lloris left hand post before going out of play. Just minutes later and United were 1-2 up. Bruno received the ball and royally mugs off Sergio Reguillon with a delightful nutmeg that fell nicely for Greenwood to hit a delightful first time ball to the diving head of El Matador Cavani who headed home from the penalty spot to put us ahead. An all round great goal!

Image Credit – Manchester Evening News

In typical United fashion however we started to panic, Spurs decided to finally push some men forward again now they were losing and they fashioned a few chances with Son and Kane firing low into the front post of Dean Henderson with the United keeper saving both chances with his feet. There was a heart in the mouth moment though when Spurs had a corner whipped in, Pogba won the initial header but it was heading towards the back post where Moussa Sissoko was as free as a bird to header home what looked to be a certain equaliser, until Cavani appeared from nowhere and glanced a header onto his own post and it got cleared away. A stroke of luck at last!

Having weathered the storm, United were then running down the clock admirably down in the Spurs corner. Pogba showing off his strength and great feet, toying with the spurs defenders who were desperately trying to get the ball back. WIth just one minute remaining the frenchman received the ball in the middle of the pitch again and with a drop of the shoulder and two quick touches, he had sent Pierre-Emile Hojberg for a smørrebrød (famous Danish bread if anyone is wondering), and played a delightful through ball to Greenwood for him to fire home and wrap up the victory. Superb stuff from the reds.

Image Credit – Daily Mail

That result leaves Spurs 6 points off the Champions League places with 7 games to go. It’s not looking good for Mourinho’s men. Fingers crossed they don’t qualify and someone that isn’t Manchester City or Liverpool come and rescue Harry Kane from his misery. “COUGH COUGH Woodward get your cheque book out COUGH”.

United move on to Thursday nights tie v Granada next lacking a few players due to suspension. But with the two away goal cushion we should see that game through. With a game in hand on league leaders Manchester City, United can close the gap at the top to 8pts with a victory. How does the saying go? It’s not over until it’s over…….

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