When you have teams like Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspurs all competing for one piece of silverware, a certain level of prestige can be attached to that cup. In the first of two blockbuster semi-finals, Manchester United and Tottenham battled it out at Wembley for a place in the FA Cup final.
The game took little to no time to live up to expectations as Dele Alli put his team 1-0 up after 11 minutes. Alli’s effort was cancelled out by Alexis Sanchez, and later in the second half, Ander Herrera secured the comeback for Manchester United.
Here are three talking points from Tottenham’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester United.
Alexis ‘Mr Wembley’ Sanchez
Most Manchester United fans wonder why Alexis Sanchez is paid £500,000-a-week. Well, United’s talisman showed everyone why he’s the man for the big occasion. Just like he did for Arsenal, Sanchez took the game by the scruff of the neck and forced his teammates to follow suit.
In his eight appearances at Wembley, Alexis Sanchez has miraculously scored eight goals. That includes four goals in his last three FA Cup semi-finals. He may not score every week, but when he arrives at Wembley, there’s no player more suited to the occasion.
Today, he scored a quality header to level affairs, exactly when Manchester United needed him most. On top of that, the Chilean wizard completed 13 passes, created two chances, completed one dribble and made two tackles in big game performance. (WhoScored).
Moussa Dembele’s stock plummets
The Belgian is often heralded as the most underrated midfielder in the Premier League, but in the biggest game of Tottenham’s season, he failed to show up. Moussa Dembele looked unfit, out of sorts, sluggish and generally void of ideas. His counterpart Paul Pogba, on the other hand, put in a dominant performance at his expense.
For United’s first goal, Dembele decided to over dribble in a tight space allowing Pogba to overpower him and set up Alexis Sanchez. After that, he went on to misplace pass after pass in compromising positions. The 30-year-old misplaced five passes, made zero tackles and was dispossessed on three separate occasions. What a time to have your worst performance in a Tottenham shirt.
Tottenham fail when it matters, again
There’s been a lot of talk about a power shift in North London with Tottenham set to finish above Arsenal in the Premier League for the second consecutive season. That’s unchartered territory for them, and with that, they’ve begun to gloat to the moon. However, while Arsenal is set to turn in their worst ever league finish, they’re still in with a chance of silverware, Tottenham isn’t.
For all the great football Spurs have played in recent seasons, they’ve never been able to translate that form into something tangible, like a trophy. In fact, Mauricio Pochettino’s career-long run having never won a trophy is set to continue.
The FA Cup is now out of their reach, but at least Mauricio Pochettino’s men are still breaking records. They’re the first team in history to lose eight FA Cup semi-finals in a row. That’s some record, and if care’s not taken, Tottenham will forever be seen as the ‘nearly’ club. Forever the bridesmaid, never the bride.