Report: Everton 4 United 0
It was a day to forget for Manchester United on Merseyside as Everton ran out 4-0 winners at Goodison Park on Easter Sunday.
First-half strikes from Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson and further goals by Lucas Digne and substitute Theo Walcott condemned the Reds to a damaging defeat in the race for a top-four spot.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made three changes to the side that lost out in Barcelona in midweek with Diogo Dalot, Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku, returning to his former club, coming in for Ashley Young, Scott McTominay and Jesse Lingard, who are all named on the bench. Everton, meanwhile, welcomed back former Reds Morgan Schneiderlin and Michael Keane.
After Tottenham’s defeat at Manchester City 24 hours earlier, the Reds knew a victory would take us level on points with third-placed Spurs. Unfortunately for United, it was the hosts who were quickest out of the blocks and, in truth, they dominated the first 45 minutes in terms of efforts at goal.
With Sigurdsson pulling the strings in midfield and Richarlison proving a real menace to the United defence, the Reds were forced to retreat early on, thanks to a series of Everton set-plays. From one of those, the ball dropped to Idrissa Gueye, who sent the ball back in and only a brilliant reaction save from David De Gea prevented Richarlison from firing the hosts ahead.
Two minutes later, the Brazilian scored. A long throw-in from the left by Digne was flicked on and Richarlison spectacularly volleyed home into the roof of the net.
The Reds were struggling to get a foothold in the game but got a first glimpse of goal on 19 minutes when an excellent Paul Pogba ball over the top was flicked over the bar by Marcus Rashford.
United had another chance to apply some pressure on 28 minutes after winning a corner, but Rashford’s ball in was cleared, allowing Everton to break forward. Sigurdsson collected from Gueye and led the charge over the halfway line before taking aim, unopposed, from 25 yards and firing into the bottom corner past De Gea.
A slight mix-up in the United defence – when De Gea attempted to find Dalot with a throw – led to another chance as half-time approached but the Spanish stopper recovered well to prevent a second for Richarlison.
Solskjaer made two changes at the break with the injured Phil Jones replaced by Young and McTominay coming on for Fred. The Toffees lost Richarlison to a rib injury early on in the second period - Walcott came on in his place, but that didn’t stop the hosts’ dominance.
Unfortunately, the Toffees further extended their lead on 56 minutes when De Gea’s punched clearance from a corner fell to the unmarked Digne outside the area and the Frenchman fired home low in the corner.
Minutes later, Sigurdsson almost scored directly from a corner, but De Gea stuck out a foot to clear it. The Spaniard could do nothing to stop Everton netting a fourth just after the hour-mark as the outstanding Sigurdsson slipped the ball into the path of the onrushing Walcott on the left touchline and the forward skipped towards goal before slotting home.
The Reds had a couple of sights of goal thereafter, with both Anthony Martial and Matic firing wide, but, in truth, it was a day to forget for United. We now turn our attentions to two important home games - the Manchester derby on Wednesday and Chelsea on Sunday.
Everton: Pickford; Coleman (c), Keane, Zouma, Digne (Jagielka 85); Schneiderlin, Gueye (McCarthy 76); Richarlison (Walcott 51), Sigurdsson, Bernard; Calvert-Lewin.
Subs not used: Stekelenburg, Tosun, Davies, Lookman.
Goals: Richarlison 13, Sigurdsson 28, Digne 56, Walcott 64
United: De Gea (c); Lindelof, Smalling, Jones (Young 46), Dalot; Matic, Fred (McTominay 46), Pogba; Rashford (Pereira 77), Lukaku, Martial.
Subs not used: Romero, Lingard, Mata, Alexis.