For Tottenham, the beginning of the season was the best of times, and now the home stretch is the worst of times.
One week ago, Tottenham saw their title hopes take a crushing blow thanks to a 5-2 loss to Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.
"It's just one game," Spurs fans told themselves. "Next up is Manchester United at home. We can win this. We can bounce back."
How wrong they were.
On Sunday night, Tottenham looked slow on defense, leaderless in the midfield and confused at forward. The team made a howler of a mistake not marking Wayne Rooney on his header off a corner at the end of the first half and Kyle Walker looked lost and inexperienced at times, letting Ashley Young get around him for two goals in the 60th and 69th minute, respectively.
As a team, Tottenham looked dull but individually there were bright spots. Who exactly were those bright spots? Read on for how the players rated and let me know if you agree.
Brad Friedel: 5.0
Just when you thought the 41-year-old Friedel was an ageless wonder, he goes and has two howlers in back-to-back weeks. I suppose it's to be expected as they were against Arsenal and today Manchester United, but both teams have been inconsistent and Friedel shouldn't have had this bad of an off night.
He should have been better at disrupting Wayne Rooney's ease at getting to the ball and heading it in goal.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto: 6.5
Tried to keep up an energetic pace along the left sideline and held Nani to a near-invisible status. The best of all the defenders tonight.
Ledley King: 6.0
Seemed to keep his pace for the first half, but the wily veteran looked tired as the night dragged on. Is the window finally shutting on one of England's classiest players?
Younes Kaboul: 5.5
A rare off night for the Frenchman, getting caught out of position at times. Not helped much by a partner at centre-back in King who looked tired as the match went on. It was clear by night's end that Tottenham's top need this summer is another centre-back.
Kyle Walker: 5.0
Thing went from bad to worse for the youngster as he was caught out of position time and time again by Ashley Young. He's been outstanding as of late. Is the pressure of balancing international play and league play getting to the 21-year-old?
Luka Modric: 6.5
Unfortunately, Scott Parker wasn't the only absence in the midfield, as Gareth Bale also missed due to a hamstring injury, forcing Modric out wide. Modric played his best, but Tottenham need him in the center of the field, directing traffic.
Jake Livermore: 7.0
The most energetic and hopeful of Tottenham's midfield, going up against Manchester United's veterans with confidence. If not for David De Gea's athletic saves in the second half, Livermore would have gotten on the scoreline and perhaps swung this game a little differently.
The rarely used Brazilian started the match well, but showed his inexperience, especially in the second half.
Aaron Lennon: 6.5
Made a series of good attacks along the right flank, taking advantage of opposing midfielder Nani with ease in the first half, but seemed to tire in the second half.
Niko Kranjcar: 6.5
The rarely used Croatian international was, again, rarely used. He came on for only the last 10 minutes of the match.
Danny Rose: 6.0
Only played the last five minutes as Aaron Lennon's substitute.
Emmanuel Adebayor: 7.0
The best of Tottenham's attacking options, staying in Manchester United's half all day. He should have opened the scoring in the 37th minute, but his goal was disallowed after it was ruled a handball. Tough call by referee Martin Atkinson. I thought it was legal—as did 36,000 screaming fans at White Hart Lane—and it changed the course of the night.
Louis Saha: 5.5
Let's just hope Tottenham fans can remember Saha's last two matches when trying to extend grace to the club's newest player.
Jermain Defoe: 6.5
Came on for Saha in the waning minutes and scored in the last five minutes—as some boldly predicted he would. Wish he had the ability to play the full 90 minutes with the same level of class.