Did Manchester United's Under-21s win the Premier League unfairly?

Old Trafford 3

Manchester United’s Under-21 side may have had an unfair advantage as they beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 to win the Premier League.

It was a great match between two of the best youth teams in the country. Spurs have been consistent throughout the season with plenty of players on the verge of the first team while United seem to have engrained success running throughout the club.

Spurs went 2-0 up during the match thanks to a very fast start but the advantage of having home support enabled United to dig in and produce a comeback to win 3-2 thanks to goals from Marnick Vermijl and a brace from Larnell Cole.

The question that Spurs will be asking this morning is how unfair the advantage was for United’s youngsters to be playing at Old Trafford.

On a subconscious level that must have helped because it gave them familiar surroundings through which to turn the game around and they also had the noise from the fans on their side.

So many players throughout the history of the game have commented on how much of a boost and lift home support can give a side through times of need, when a team is struggling and chasing a game.

It had a snowball effect last night as United gradually came back into the game following Tottenham’s second goal.

It’s fair to suggest that United earned their right to play at Old Trafford but had they been 2-0 down at White Hart Lane, it may have been a different story because the young Spurs defence might not have crumbled.

Bear in mind these are predominantly very young men so for Spurs it would have been difficult, and quite intimidating, when the crowd started to get up and get noisy against them.

If young players get intimidated, it puts them onto the back foot which means they’re not playing as sharply as they can and not showing that level of focus which is important when driving for an important win.

Tottenham won the under-21 Elite Group stage, and if anybody should have been hosting the final as a result, it should have been them.

However, the argument against the unfairness of course is the fact that Spurs had some very talented players who have already been subjected to the pressures and extremes of professional football.

Harry Kane was in the Tottenham attack, a player who has spent a lot of time on loan in the Championship and League One where he would have been subjected to a lot of verbal abuse from opposition fans.

Jonathan Obika is exactly the same and Alex Pritchard is being tipped for a move into the Tottenham first team in the very near future, which means he must have some serious levels of mental strength.

It is possible that just after a shaky start, United played well to get back into the game and they were just the better team as Tottenham lost their discipline. 

On the pitch it was simply a fair game played out between two talented sides, but whether that pitch was the right one for it to be played on in the first place is another matter.

What did you make of the United Under-21 side’s victory? Should the tie have been played at Old Trafford?

image: © Gordon Flood

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