In the Premier League on Sunday, Tottenham Hotspur overcame two early deficits to tie Manchester United 2-2 at Old Trafford.
Ange Postecoglou had the likes of James Maddison, Yves Bissouma, Pape Matar Sarr, and Manor Solomon, among others, unavailable for selection but still put up an excellent performance.
The team managed to escape loss in Manchester thanks to goals from Richarlison and Rodrigo Bentancur, following 1-0 and 2-1 leads from Marcus Rashford and Rasmus Hojlund for the home team.
Spurs’ play could have been improved, though, if they had capitalized on the opportunities their strong build-up play created.
Although Brennan Johnson in particular struggled and performed worse than Timo Werner, who made his debut on the left, there was plenty of room in the wide area.
The crucial role Timo Werner played against Manchester United
After joining on loan from RB Leipzig earlier this month, the Germany international played just 80 minutes at Old Trafford before being thrown in at the deep end.
The former Chelsea player’s debut was far from ideal, though, as he missed two excellent chances in the first half to put Andre Onana in the United goal.
Without applying any force, he sent the ball over the bar from the edge of the box, then a few minutes later, after advancing into the penalty area, he pulled a low effort beyond the left post of the goalkeeper.
Bentancur scores after FIFTY seconds into the second-half ⏳✅ pic.twitter.com/1vdQztlf2O
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 14, 2024
However, Werner—who completed 91% of his passes—did make a significant impact just after the interval. Sensibly cutting in from the left wing, the attacker slipped a neat pass through to Bentancur, who rifled the ball in to make it 2-2.
The lackluster performance of Brennan Johnson at Old Trafford
Johnson, however, lined up on the opposite flank and, despite playing for ninety-six minutes, missed his chance to draw attention in a pivotal match.
The former forward for Nottingham Forest was ineffectual both with and without the ball for Spurs, and at times he appeared hesitant to get forward and take aim at Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Johnson lost 60% (6/10) of his duels overall and failed all three of his attempted dribbles during the game, indicating that United’s players found it too simple to overcome Spurs’ lightweight in physical confrontations.
The £70,000 weekly In 96 minutes, the Wales international—who mishandled the ball 14 times—only mustered one chance worth 0.05 xG for his teammates. In essence, the shooter would have to take advantage of the moment and score one out of every twenty attempts.
When he was released down the right channel in the first half, he had a chance to slip the ball across the box for Richarlison, who beat his defender and fired a cross high above the head of the Brazil international. His 43 touches were even fewer than goalie Vicario’s, which only made the situation worse.
“Disappointing” is how Sky Sports co-commentator Gary Neville characterized the 22-year-old forward’s performance, summarizing it as a whole.
Consequently, Johnson was inferior than Werner—who was making his debut and was playing for the first time since December 13—because he made no significant contributions to the game, either on or off the ball.