Report: United 2 Everton 0
Manchester United moved back into third place in the Premier League, after claiming a 2-0 victory against Everton at Old Trafford.
Goals from Scott McTominay and Anthony Martial saw Erik ten Hag’s side move six points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur and three ahead of Newcastle United, before the rest of the weekend fixtures.
The crowd gave an incredible ovation to Christian Eriksen, who came off the bench to make his first appearance for the Reds since his injury against Reading in January. But there was concern as Marcus Rashford, who provided the assist for Martial’s goal, came off with an injury late in the game.
United registered 21 shots on the Toffees goal in the first half alone, only to be denied by Jordan Pickford on multiple occasions. A slip by Seamus Coleman allowed the Reds to double the lead and it was a relatively comfortable afternoon's work.
FIRST HALF: McTOMINAY BREAKS THROUGH
Both sides started the game with back-and-forth attacks but United took a foothold in the game with Jadon Sancho prominent on the left wing. The England international linked up well with Marcel Sabitzer before the Austrian’s shot took a slight deflection off former United defender Michael Keane to force a corner.
Minutes later, Marcus Rashford had an amazing chance to give Erik ten Hag’s men the lead in front of the Stretford End. After Keane mistimed his header, the in-form forward darted through on goal to go one against one with Pickford, but fired a shot straight at the keeper. Bruno Fernandes picked the ball back up and tried to cross the ball onto Rashford’s head, but the attempt went wide.
The best chance of early openings fell to Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 12 minutes in. Antony received a pass from a Fernandes corner, took one touch and tried to curl the ball past Pickford. The shot cannoned off the post and Wan-Bissaka ran in to get the rebound but the full-back skewed his shot and missed an open net.
The Toffees then managed to get a major opportunity to grab the lead, Dwight McNeil and Ellis Simms played a great one-two combination, before Simms found himself unmarked against David De Gea. The former Blackpool and Sunderland striker opted to sidefoot the ball, but the shot rolled past the far post.
United carved out a flurry of opportunities to try and take the lead. Antony got the better of Ben Godfrey on two occasions, the first he fired his shot straight at Pickford and the second time around, the Everton full-back did enough to get back into position to stop the Brazil winger. Moments later, Rashford managed to latch on to a McTominay pass and his shot again was prevented by Pickford.
But at last the goal came for United through McTominay. The midfielder who had an incredible international break, scoring four goals for Scotland in two games started the attack with Rashford, linking up with short and quick passes, before Rashford slid the ball to Sancho on the right hand side. Sancho managed to see McTominay’s darting run into the box and he produced a first-time shot to blast the ball past Pickford give Erik ten Hag’s side the lead in front of the Stretford End.
Pickford remained inspired though, keeping out Antony again, as it remained at only 1-0 when the half-time whistle sounded.
SECOND HALF: MARTIAL DOUBLES THE LEAD
At the start of the second half, both sides seemed to have a lower intensity when compared to the first 45 minutes. United manged to get the first significant attack when Fernandes managed to find Rashford on the edge of the area, but instead of trying a first-time strike, the forward chose to try to lay the ball off which resulted in the end of the attack.
Everton threatened De Gea’s goal just after the hour mark. Simms's long range effort was blocked by Lisandro Martinez but the ball dropped on the edge of the area for Alex Iwobi and his following strike was repelled by the diving Tyrell Malacia.
That attack manged to wake United up and we went on the attack with Sabitzer’s pas picking out Fernandes in the centre of the penalty area, but the Portugal midfielder’s header was off target. Rashford would try again from outside the area, attempting to catch Pickford out but it sailed over the bar.
A key moment arrived when Martinez managed to send a long pass towards Rashford, but Coleman was first to it. However, the Irishman’s touch let him down and allowed Rashford to pick the ball up and get into the box to provide a well-timed pass into substitute Martial to tuck home a second of the game to secure the victory for the Reds.
With 15 minutes left in the clash, Old Trafford and the Red Army rose to their feet to welcome Eriksen back, replacing Sancho. But the happy moment for the Demark midfielder was short lived as Rashford was forced to limp off after stretching to try to reach one of his passes.
United almost grabbed a third goal late on when McTominay was able to whip in an early cross towards Fernandes at the back post, but the resulting header glanced straight into Pickford’s gloves. Nonetheless, this was a job well done for Erik's Reds, and everybody from United can enjoy the rest of the Easter period.
United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Martinez, Malacia, McTominay, Fernandes; Antony (Martial 60), Sabitzer (Fred 76), Sancho (Eriksen 76) Rashford (Weghorst, 80).
Subs not used: Butland, Dalot, Lindelof, Varane, Pellistri.
Goals: McTominay 36, Martial 71.
Everton: Pickford; Coleman (c)) (Patterson 86), Tarkowski, Keane, Godfrey (Mykolenko 46) Iwobi, Onana (Davies 59) Gueye (Garner 59) McNeil; Gray, Simms (Maupay 67).
Subs not used: Begovic, Coady, Holgate, Mina.