MATCH ARTICLES

20/04/2014 18:59, Report by Ben Hibbs
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The Match: United undone

Following our match report, we dissect the Goodison Park performance in detail...

The match A tale of possession versus penetration, and the latter won. United’s 62 per cent of the play and 598 passes compared to Everton’s 371 leaves no doubt as to who dominated the ball. But the only column that really counts is the scoreline and aside from a sprinkling of half-chances – Wayne Rooney having the best of them when Tim Howard saved from point-blank range amid the game’s dying embers – Everton dominated there. The hosts were clinical in taking two breakaway chances in a decisive first half; Rooney’s late opportunity and Chris Smalling's headed miss in injury-time felt like too little, too late.

The goals They came against the run of play, but perhaps that was the point. Everton played on the counter-attack and their game-plan came off on the day. David Moyes’ men started at a rapid pace, moving the ball nicely between Juan Mata and Shinji Kagawa in particular. But if United’s play was a picture of possession, Everton were the epitome of ruthlessness, taking the lead when Jones instinctively handled Romelu Lukaku’s shot, leading to a penalty which Baines confidently converted. When United then surrendered possession in Everton’s half just before the break, the hosts countered and Kevin Mirallas fired past David De Gea, having been played in all too easily by Seamus Coleman.

Star men On the back of such a disappointing defeat, it is difficult to pick out individual performers. The early movement and combination play between Mata and Kagawa had hinted at a potential fleet-footed route through Everton’s defence, but the Toffees took the game by the scruff of the neck and the game’s momentum subsequently shifted.

Sub-plot David Moyes insisted beforehand that this match against his former club wasn’t about him – but camera lenses and eyes on both red

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