The Week in Manchester United: Van Gaal's decision-making hits new low

As part of a new series on FourFourTwo, Republik of Mancunia writer Scott Patterson gives his thoughts on the latest baffling display from Manchester United...

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The week in five words

Say goodbye to top four.

What went well

United went 70 minutes without conceding against Tottenham

What didn’t

We've seen these sorts of collapses in this fixture before, but usually from the team in white. Spurs deserve credit

United's second half against Spurs illustrated perfectly some of the key flaws in the team. The defence is useless, there is no creativity, and the mentality is gutless.

There wasn't much – if anything – between the teams in the first half, but Spurs needed just six minutes to get the points wrapped up. We've seen these sorts of collapses in this fixture before, but usually from the team in white. Spurs deserve credit for their significant improvement this season, but United's decline is severe.

Louis van Gaal's decision to play Ashley Young and Jesse Lingard centrally, with Juan Mata and Anthony Martial out wide, probably deserves a mention here too. What on earth was that?

READ ALSO: Carragher: United are getting worse

Manchester United vs Tottenham

United players attempt to thank the travelling fans

Quote of the week 

"I want to work at a club with responsibility, in a hard league, where there are no easy objectives." – Jose Mourinho. The United job certainly won't be easy and the former Chelsea boss has let it be known he's up for the challenge. It can't be too long now, surely. 

The need-to-know facts

  • Only games involving Watford (27) have seen fewer first-half goals scored than games involving Manchester United in the Premier League this season (29).
  • United failed to produce a single shot on target in the first halves of both games against Spurs this season.
  • There were just five minutes and 46 seconds between Spurs’ first and third goals.
  • Spurs beat Man United at White Hart Lane for the first time since May 2001, ending a run of 14 home games without a win against the Red Devils.

Video/GIF of the week

... plus Memphis vs Kyle Walker. Ding ding...

Winner of the week

Anthony Martial scored his 13th goal of the season, and United's 1,000th Premier League goal, in the 1-0 win over Everton. His song was sung on repeat by the travelling fans at White Hart Lane, and he was the only player in red to have a shot on target, which is something worthy of praise for United this season.

Tim Fosu-Mensah is the only player who could leave London with his head held high on Sunday night, though. The 18-year-old made some great tackles and headed clearances and looked the most experienced player in United's back four, even though the opposite is true. Within 10 minutes of his substitution, United shipped three goals. 

Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Fosu-Mensah was a rare bright spot

Loser of the week

Phil Jones played his first game in over three months for the under-21s and was atrocious. He was nutmugged on a couple of occasions, and generally looked a mile off the pace. To play this badly in a Premier League game would be fairly embarrassing, even with the time he's spent out of the team, but to be made to look second rate by Chelsea's mid-table under-21 team is a real concern. 

Matteo Darmian pips Jones to the post, though, given his appalling display came in a crucial league game against Spurs – with everyone watching – instead of just a match for the reserves. Marcos Rojo is also a contender, but the scoreline was 0-0 when Darmian came on, and less than 10 minutes later, United were 3-0 down. He was run ragged. 

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