Manchester United defeated Everton in an exciting and end-to-end game on Saturday afternoon. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was under immense pressure after United’s last two games. According to some sources, Ole was fighting for his job at Goodison Park and lucky for him, the team came out and put on an impressive display and secured the win. A brace from Bruno Fernandes and a first goal from Edinson Cavani gave United the win after Evertonian Bernard had put the blues ahead.
Ole’s team selection was fairly predictable as David de Gea made his return in goal with AWB, Shaw, Maguire, and Lindelof. Fred and McTominay returned to their roles as holding midfielders and Bruno Fernandes in the CAM role. The attack had Mata on the right, Rashford on the left, and Martial up top. Pogba, van de Beek, Cavani, and Tuanzebe were on the bench as Mason Greenwood and Alex Telles were not in the matchday squad.
United started the game very well. They pushed up and starting pressuring Everton very well. The players were much faster on the ball and knocked the ball around well. Everton tried to play to United’s weakness and were defending in numbers and trying to break. Calvert-Lewin had a header blaze over the crossbar as they began bothering United a bit more. Digne and Bernard gave United’s right side a fair bit of trouble as they put together some very good moves and got some good shots on goal. In the attack, Martial already looked poor while Mata, Bruno, and Rashford combined well on a few occasions.
As Everton’s movement improved, they took the lead through Bernard after his shot went through AWB’s legs and nestled in the bottom left corner. Only moments later, Luke Shaw played a fantastic cross to the middle of the box towards Bruno, who headed it into the far right corner. United showed great character and resilience to find the equalizer and relieve some pressure on their manager. With the game now level, both sides began playing a much more threatening game. In the 32nd minute, United went ahead through Bruno Fernandes. In a quick move, Fred played the ball to Rashford, who played onto Bruno and drifted into the box. However, the ball floated in from Bruno’s cross and gave the Portuguese man his second goal of the day. In the dying moments of the first half, Anthony Martial had yet another chance but his poor finishing let him down.
The second half saw a reversal in tactics fro the two managers. United were now defending and breaking against Everton. Everton showed plenty of desire, trying to push for headers and find the final passes but United’s defense was alert and unforgiving. Martial had a better start to the second half as he strung together some good passes but didn’t provide his midfielders with any good passing options. In the 60th minute, Pickford spilled the ball in the box and Maguire was in a foot sandwich between the goalkeeper and an Everton defender. United’s players appealed for a penalty but neither the referee nor VAR were interested. On the other end of the pitch, Everton players demanded a penalty for a well-timed tackle from Maguire on Digne.
Luke Shaw was replaced by Tuanzebe as Shaw seemed to have picked up an injury. In the 82nd minute, Mata and Martial came off for Pogba and Cavani. Edinson Cavani was still searching for his first United goal and this game was the best opportunity to score it. Pogba looked better as he strung some good passes with the forwards. Rashford’s run along the length of the pitch almost resulted in a goal, but United were still holding onto their slender lead. Everton fired in some good crosses from both wings but Maguire and Lindelof kept Everton at bay.
Rashford had an opportunity to finish the game but was denied by some last-ditch defending from Everton. However, there was some icing on the cake as Bruno Fernandes broke free in the 94th minute and looked ready to shoot on goal and secure his hattrick. He drew the defense to himself and then laid the ball off to Edinson Cavani who fired past Pickford and finished off the Toffees. 3 points, a huge result, and Ole lives to fight another day! United play West Brom next weekend and will feel more rested and confident for that.
- Fred and McTominay were absolutely phenomenal today. Both of them were contenders for Man of the Match. United look much more solid and reliable with them in the middle of the park.
- Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof were the other pairing that performed very well today. They kept crosses out and made some great tackles. They did lose headers sometimes which put United under pressure, so there’s something to work on.
- Bruno Fernades- our Portugese Magnifico was unstoppable today. Silenced the critics so easily!
Things to Improve
- Martial, Rashford, and Mata did not satisfactory game. Their passing and movement were very disappointing.
- Martial’s finishing has been very poor as of late and he hasn’t scored from open play in the league this season. His finishing must improve or he may see Cavani replacing him in the starting XI
- AWB had a tough time handling the right wing today but still did a good job.