Sunday's victory over Everton gave us two United goals, three points and at least the following five topics to discuss with our fellow Reds...
The first talking point on every United fan's lips after the Everton game was the seemingly telepathic partnership between Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba. The duo were undoubtedly the headline grabbers with Martial being unplayable at times. The 22-year-old set the tone for his electric display by stinging the hands of Jordan Pickford early on with a rasping effort, before his tricky feet and direct running won the penalty in which Pogba converted, albeit at the second attempt. Pogba’s trademark, stuttered run-up resulted in Pickford saving the penalty, but United’s no.6 was on hand to slot in the rebound for his fifth goal of the season.
Pogba then displayed his array of passing qualities, beautifully slotting a ball through for Martial, who laid the ball back to his compatriot, only to be denied by Pickford. Prior to this clash with Everton, Martial had scored 40 goals for United since his debut in September 2015, an unrivalled tally over that period and he added to that ratio in impressive fashion curling, first time, into the far corner with Pogba again the provider. From our view in the press box, it was in from the moment it left his boot. The only blot on the pair’s copybook’s was Pogba losing the ball in the build-up to the Everton penalty, before Martial failed to put the game beyond any doubt when Pickford saved with his legs when clean through. Other than that, a match-winning French connection.
A century of goals against Everton
United have scored a lot of goals, against a lot of clubs over the years, but none more so than Everton. In fact, after Sunday's victory, United have now matched Arsenal's record of scoring 100 goals against a single club. Ironically, the Gunners have also done so against the Toffees, but the Reds' 36th win in this fixture is a Premier League record by a club against a single opponent. Moreover, this triumph was the third consecutive league victory against Everton - the first time we have done that against a single club for 11 years.
Lindelof impressive again
It can take time for players from overseas to adapt to the Premier League's physical nature and fast-paced environment and, over the last two weeks, it seems that sufficient time has now passed for Victor Lindelof to really find his feet at United. He went into the Everton game fresh from being arguably our Man of the Match against Serie A giants Juventus in the Champions League, when he had made a number of last-ditch challenges to keep the deficit at just one goal and had marshalled a certain Cristiano Ronaldo for much of the 90 minutes. He built on that encouraging display in Sunday's domestic match, keeping the tricky Richarlison quiet and making some important tackles in the process.
Jose Mourinho recognised his positive performance and reserved some praise for the 24-year-old, saying:
“He's getting better, he reads the game well, he's fast, he's not very physical but he can be more aggressive than he is when he adapts to a different style of play which is the Premier League, but a second season at the club [means he] is a kind of player that can only be better.” Once Lindelof does fully adapt to the Premier League style of play, we may just be talking a little more about the improving Swede.
Fred the Red
Fred returned to the United starting XI for the first time since opening his Reds scoring account in the draw to Wolves at Old Trafford back in September and he did his chances of retaining his place, no harm at all against Everton. The Brazilian, whose debut against Leicester City was encouraging, started in a midfield three alongside Nemanja Matic and Pogba and was industrious, tenacious and illustrated his passing qualities. I was suitably impressed.
The former Shakhtar Donetsk man adds energy in the centre of the park and has the engine levels to fit the mould of the traditional box-to-box midfielder. Again, like Lindelof, his best days in a red shirt are of course ahead of him, but given this was just his sixth United appearance, it looks like 'Fred the Red' could be a headline we will continue to write over the months and years to come.
The Reds grow in confidence
Sunday's victory over Everton means the Reds are now unbeaten in three matches in the Premier League. I appreciate it's not a headline-making statistic, but after the enthralling second-half comeback against Newcastle, the thoroughly impressive away performance against high-flying Chelsea, which should have ended with the Reds returning with all three points, and the 2-1 home defeat of the Toffees, we are clearly growing in confidence. Week on week, we are highlighting more positives and we must hope these progressive signs suggest Mourinho's men are on the up! Bring on Bournemouth!
The opinions in this story are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Manchester United Football Club.
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