Five things learned from Manchester United's Tottenham draw: Mata, Falcao, Carrick feature


Five conclusions from Manchester United's 0-0 draw at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon.

More quality from Ashley Young

Another day saw another strong showing from Ashley Young at White Hart Lane. The Manchester United man looks a totally different player under Louis van Gaal and a stunning shot from the 29-year-old almost won the game for United.

Like Marouane Fellaini, Young looks to have been inspired by Van Gaal - if only he had better strikers to provide to against Tottenham.

Less quality from Radamel Falcao (Van Persie too)

To Falcao or not to Falcao? That is the question.

The Colombian is now several months into his loan move at Old Trafford and questions must be asked about what he has actually delivered. Today, he was poor at Tottenham and it would not be unreasonable to suggest that a Diego Costa, Graziano Pelle or Charlie Austin would have won the game for United with the chances Falcao was presented with.

The same, too, applies for Robin van Persie. But, with Falcao, his United future is a lot easier to deal with - the club can simply refuse to take him on a permanent deal. At the moment, that would look the wise option. The Colombian needs to up his game.

Carrick impresses

A vital performer for Manchester United, however, was Michael Carrick. The midfielder has long divided opinion but, since he returned to Van Gaal's side after a spell out injured, his positive impact has been undeniable.

At Spurs, the 33-year-old played several immense passes and his calming presence in the middle helped United control large periods of the game. Again, it was a shame they could not do more in the final third to reward their midfielders.

So does Mata

United's star man from a midfield perspective, though, was Juan Mata.

  Final-Third PassesChances CreatedMinutes Played
Juan Mata 19 4 90
Phil Jones 9 0 90
Michael Carrick 8 1 90
Ashley Young 8 1 90

As Opta stats show, the Spaniard was Van Gaal's go-to man going forward, with a vibrant attacking performance creating chances galore for the visitors. Sadly, Mata's shooting was nowhere near the same standard.

But, as this moment in time, the Spaniard is undroppable in terms of what he brings to his side.

'Two points lost' - or not?

Finally, Manchester United boss Van Gaal expressed his frustration at losing two points after the Tottenham draw - but, the way results unfolded, it did not appear quite so.

Yes, United could and should have taken all three points based on their first-half dominance alone. Manchester City and Chelsea, though, also dropped points (City even doing so at home).

So, even though Van Gaal's men don't look capable of a title challenge right now, they did not end up losing ground on the top two. The Dutchman should be satisfied with a happy Christmas.

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