Have You Seen This: A Dynamic Football Match Without A Crowd?


I think it was really, really a very, very strong performance

— Jose Mourino

A Premier League match held in Old Trafford on the 3rd of October between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur was one of the most exciting matches in the Premier League’s history. The game was the first match for Tottenham player Son Heung-min after his hamstring injury; he was expected to be out for a couple of games according to Jose Mourino, the current Tottenham coach, but his return surprised many fans.


Three goals burst within the first 7 minutes

The start of the game was already dynamic in that three goals were scored within the first 7 minutes of the first half. After 2 minutes the game had started, Davinson Sanchez barged over Anthony Martial in the penalty area which led Manchester Utd to gain a penalty kick. Thus, Bruno Fernandes became the first player to lead the goal from the penalty spot. The coach of the Spurs, Jose Mourinho, mentioned this penalty goal during his interview with Sky Sports – “We prepared ourselves very well tactically and psychologically, the penalty didn’t affect the team at all. We played extremely well, we created huge problems, it was a really, really strong performance”. Just as Mourinho claimed the penalty goal didn’t affect Tottenham, Tottenham didn’t panic but rather enhanced interaction between players. The Manchester Utd’s fans did not have enough time to fully cheer for their team’s goal as Tottenham player Tanguy Ndombele scored a goal, 2 minutes after Fernandes’ goal. Then, Son turned the tide by scoring another goal for Tottenham. 

It was the first match in 10 years where 3 goals were scored just in 7 minutes. This happening can solely be stimulating but there were more exciting circumstances throughout this match. 


Anthony Martial sent off with a red card 

In the first half of the game, when Spurs was overtaking Manchester Utd with Son and Ndombele’s goal, Ndombele got a chance to corner kick. Tottenham players were moving around to gain a right position where they could gain a chance to score and Manchester Utd players were checking out for those players including Ndombele’s kick to defend their area of goal. In this situation, players were all pushing each other to be in an appropriate position. The desire for an appropriate position was more extreme to Erik Lamela and Anthony Martial than other players, which caused Martial to be sent off with a red card for the first time during his career. The swinging of Martial’s arm to Lamela’s face during the fracas made a guilt of the red card. Some critics argue that Lamela should have been treated just as equally as Martial, as many believe that Lamela’s action was just as aggressive as Martial’s. Nonetheless, it was Martial who the referees decided to send off. 

Mourinho and Tottenham’s fans were pleased with Lamela’s action to send off Martial but fans of Manchester Utd were not. Martial’s sending off is one of the reasons for Manchester Utd’s tragic result as Manchester Utd had to play against Tottenham’s 11 players with a team of 10 players whereas it was one of the advantages for Tottenham towards their victory. Thus, this is still left as a dispute, even after the match, and was discussed whether sending out Martial was fair between the fans and analysts.


The biggest home defeat for Manchester United since 2011

After Martial’s red card, the control of the ball was over to the Spurs with two more goals given by Harry Kane and from Son and Serge Aurier each. This allowed the Spurs to gain the points whereas Manchester Utd had to give away points from home. This is the biggest home defeat for Manchester United since their match with Manchester City in 2011, where the result  was Manchester City’s win as 6-1.


Confronting Mourinho’s current team and his previous team

Upon discovering Mourinho’s many shortcomings as a manager, Manchester Utd fired Mourinho. As a result, Mourinho transferred to Tottenham. Thus, this match was confronting for Mourinho’s current team and his previous team, in which many of the players he used to manage were still a part of. Some critics claim that Mourinho exploited his previous knowledge of Manchester Utd’s tactics and weaknesses for the gain of the Spurs. 


 It was a really, really strong performance

Although there are disputes over whether the referee’s decision of sending Martial out and giving a disadvantage to Manchester Utd was fair, it is acknowledged that Tottenham’s performance was strong. Their performance was full of confidence and the interaction between the players were well matched. Mourinho was also pleased with how strong his new team was – “I can imagine that some people can say we’re playing against 10 men for a long time, which is obviously true, but for me it’s also true that 11 against 11 we were playing extremely well, we were creating huge problems, we were winning 2-1 and they couldn’t find solutions to control us. So I think it was really, really a very, very strong performance”. Agreeing with Mourinho, Tottenham’s fans are also proud of their team’s performance. 

This match was one of the most abounding matches in the history of the Premier League. Due to the current situation with COVID-19, there are no crowds of fans to cheer on the teams in the field of matches. However, as football is a very entertaining sport, the match itself is able to entertain the fans watching from home. Such highlights, as outlined in this article, make a football match more interesting to watch.  I do believe that we will be able to get through this hard time together and hope to feel the lively energy of the fans at matches once the pandemic is over. 


You can watch the highlight of the game by clicking this link.