Barclays Premier League
Saturday 23 April 2011
MANCHESTER UNITED 1
United: van der Sar; Fabio, Ferdinand, Evans, O’Shea (Evra, 57); Valencia, Gibson (Giggs, 74), Anderson, Nani (Owen, 63); Hernandez, Rooney. Subs not used: Kuszczak, Brown, Rafael, Carrick.
Everton: Howard; Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Coleman (Gueye, 75), Neville, Osman, Rodwell, Bilyaletdinov (Cahill, 46); Beckford (Anichebe, 46). Subs not used: Mucha, Skodran, Mustafi, Duffy, Vellios.
Everton at Old Trafford in April... again. This fixture produced one of United's key victories in the 19th title success but only just.
Javier Hernandez's 83rd-minute winner was a defining moment, allowing Sir Alex’s men the breathing space of a six-point lead over Chelsea ahead of a difficult trip to Arsenal.
Despite Everton having a poor record at Old Trafford in the Premier League era - with only one victory and three draws - many expected a tough game from a team shaped by the determined David Moyes. So it proved, and with the Toffees producing a determined rearguard action, tension mounted as the match wore on. The stage was set for a hero to emerge, and as Antonio Valencia delivered another right-wing cross, a deflection off Sylvain Distin helped it reach Chicharito, who headed triumphantly past Tim Howard. Cue pandemonium in the stands and wild celebrations on the pitch.
Everton had provided a taxing examination of United’s title credentials, but the sheer force of will and dogged persistence helped the Reds to claim a vital three points. The same characteristics will no doubt be needed this Sunday against the same opponents.