Data and Analysis @datasmith101
How Tottenham swept aside Manchester United in the Premier League
Tottenham vs Manchester United live on Sky Sports Premier League this Sunday from 4.15pm
Last Updated: 10/01/19 5:04pm
How did Tottenham sweep aside Manchester United in August? We check the stats ahead of the reverse fixture, live on Sky Sports this weekend...
Jose Mourinho suffered his biggest home defeat as a manager when his United side lost 3-0 to Tottenham earlier this season, one week after losing 3-2 to Brighton.
The result offered a glimpse of what was to come, with both clubs experiencing consistently polarised form going into the festive schedule.
United had collected their fewest haul of points during a Premier League season upon Mourinho's dismissal, while Spurs made their best start to a campaign during the modern era.
But United have hit form since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed caretaker manager with five wins on the bounce in all competitions, scoring a remarkable 16 goals and conceding only three times.
However, the Norwegian concedes Spurs will be his first "proper test" at the helm, having faced Cardiff, Huddersfield, Bournemouth, Newcastle and Reading to date.
So what can the interim boss learn from August's encounter? We check the stats...
United made six changes to face Spurs last time out after their defeat at Brighton, including wholesale changes at the back - dropping Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly and starting Ander Herrera on the right of a three-man defence.
Spurs stuck with a conventional back four and started Lucas for a third game running after the former PSG forward had opened his account for the season one week earlier in a 3-1 win against Fulham.
As the graphic below shows, Toby Alderweireld and Kieran Trippier combined most frequently for Spurs, with Trippier pushing high up the pitch - combining effectively with Christian Eriksen and Lucas.
Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier provided protection in defensive midfield, while Eriksen fed a forward-thinking trio of Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Lucas.
United were on the front foot, with Romelu Lukaku spearheading an attacking quartet including Fred, Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard - flanked by wing-backs Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia.
Defensively, only four outfield United players averaged in their own half - the three centre-backs and Nemanja Matic - while six Spurs players averaged behind the half-way line.
United's lack of defensive cover proved costly, with Spurs breaking the deadlock early in the second half after Kane latched onto a Trippier cross to score a delightful header.
Lucas doubled the lead two minutes later before netting his second late in the game - hitting United on the break, weaving between centre-backs and firing past David de Gea to seal the 3-0 victory.
The graphic below shows how United started and finished the first half with superior passing possession but dominated most of the second half after conceding two quickfire goals early on, averaging 62 per cent possession after the break.
But United's quest to restore parity stretched their defence further, with Lucas capitalising on the break and Spurs maintained a disciplined defensive resolve to keep a clean sheet.
Spurs' success stemmed from creating big chances - primarily from Trippier and Eriksen - converting unlikely chances and exploiting the space behind United's rampaging wing-backs and high defensive line.
United's frustrations contributed to a lack of patience, firing seven shots from range and relying heavily on crosses from Shaw and Valencia to carve opportunities inside the box.
United were superior in possession across all areas of the pitch but took a higher proportion of backward passes, while Mourinho's side also asserted aerial dominance from the likes of Marouane Fellaini, Chris Smalling and Shaw.
But Tottenham's most dominant statistical advantages at Old Trafford were across defensive metrics, dwarfing United for blocks, saves, interceptions, tackles and recoveries - boosted by the inclusion of two holding midfielders.
United's main weaknesses were defensive frailties and failing to hit the target with attempts on goal, while their efforts to chase the game contributed to Pogba, Fred and Lukaku being dispossessed frequently.
Can Tottenham sweep United aside again, or can Solskjaer make in six successive wins and pass his first 'proper test' as caretaker manager?
Watch Tottenham vs Manchester United live on Sky Sports Premier League this Sunday from 4.15pm to find out.
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