Everton 1 Manchester United 3
Manchester United earned a much-needed, hard-fought win at Goodison Park, coming from behind to beat Everton in the Premier League's lunchtime fixture.
The second half was full of intensity, tackles and commitment from both sides, but United defended well to limit the Toffees’ chances, and found a decisive third goal in injury time, when Fernandes laid the ball off for Edinson Cavani to finish simply and register his first strike for the club.
The win represents a vital three points, following a disappointing seven days in which the team suffered two consecutive defeats, to Arsenal and Istanbul Basaksehir.
Presenting the trending stats and opinions from United's superb 3-1 win over Everton at Goodison Park...
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made four changes to the side that lost to Istanbul Basaksehir in midweek, but it would have been the similarities to that disappointing evening in Turkey that would have alarmed him during the early stages at Goodison Park.
As in that match, United dominated the early possession, but were again caught cold by a long ball from the opposition. This time it was a goal kick from England stopper Jordan Pickford, which was glanced on by Dominic Calvert-Lewin to the nimble Bernard on the edge of the United box. The Brazilian squeezed a cute shot inside David De Gea’s right-hand post to give the hosts an early lead.
If the manager was looking for and expecting a response from his boys, he got one. Immediately. Mata found space in front of the Toffees’ back four, fed Shaw on the left flank, and the full-back provided his second assist of the week when his lovely cross found Fernandes alone in the box. The playmaker directed a confident, powerful header right across Pickford to give United an important equaliser.
After that, the Reds were in control and, seven minutes later, Bruno struck again to hand us the advantage. The influential and industrious Fred threaded an incisive ball through to Marcus Rashford around 20 yards from goal, and the striker turned and found his Portuguese team-mate to the left of the Everton box. Fernandes then lifted a floated cross towards the six-yard box, looking for Rashford, but he unwittingly notched his second goal of the game after the ball evaded not only Marcus but also the despairing dive of Pickford via the right-hand post. It was no more than the Reds deserved, after responding to the home side’s early goal with bite and conviction.
The second period began with Everton showing a fresh sense of conviction and determination. It wasn’t reflected in goalscoring chances, but the tackles soon began flying in. Fernandes was booked for a late one, and VAR checked for a strong Maguire challenge on Digne. The offside flag had already been raised, regardless, but the skipper could still have been punished, although the video assistant ultimately decided the skipper's challenge had fallen within the bounds of respectability.
The home side were enjoying the majority of possession – in contrast to the first period – but struggled to slice through the Reds, and the match entered the final 20 minutes tight and testy but with United by and large in control. Solskjaer's men had a great chance to double the advantage in the 72nd minute, when Fred’s chipped through ball found Rashford onside. The England forward just couldn’t turn the ball into his stride, but still tested Pickford with a stinging strike which the Blues goalkeeper did well to repel with his legs.
Minutes later, Rashford found space on the left and centred for Mata, on the edge of the box, but the Spaniard didn’t quite connect sweetly enough with his low shot. At the other end there was resolute defending, as a dangerous Iwobi cross was flicked away by Maguire, and substitute Axel Tuanzebe – on for Luke Shaw – performed solidly in the unfamiliar left-back spot. But for all their crosses, corners and desire, Everton never really made much of an imprint when probing around the United box.
Coleman pulled back for Doucore in added time, but the midfielder’s shot was scooped harmlessly over David De Gea’s upright. Minutes later, with Everton pushed up high, Fernandes broke and set up substitute Cavani for a straightforward chance which he buried easily past the onrushing Pickford. And that was that. The full-time whistle blew seconds later, to the delighted screams of “Get in” from the superbly committed Scott McTominay.
The best shots from our victorious afternoon on Merseyside.
United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire (c), Shaw (Tuanzebe 67); McTominay, Fred; Mata (Pogba 82), Fernandes, Rashford; Martial (Cavani 82).
Unused substitutes: Henderson, Matic, van de Beek, James.
Booked: Fernandes, Fred.
Goals: Fernandes 25, 32, Cavani 90+5.
Everton: Pickford; Coleman (c), Holgate, Keane, Digne; Doucoure, Allan, Sigurdsson (Iwobi 66); Rodriguez (Tosun 80), Calvert-Lewin, Bernard.
Unused substitutes: Olsen, Mina, Davies, Godfrey, Gomes.
Booked: Holgate, Allan, Tosun, Doucoure.
Goal: Bernard 19.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was delighted with the performance, telling club media afterwards that he wanted to see a performance of this nature as often as possible from his squad.
“If we can get this determination, mindset, approach every single game, we'll be hard to play against. You see all the tackles that Scott and Fred were winning in the middle there, we're tight, we're compact, we win the ball, we play, we've got spaces, that's how we want to see these boys. So we're very pleased with that.”
Captain Harry Maguire was equally pleased, but stressed that the result was not one to sit back and admire, but one to build upon:
“Sometimes it’s difficult for the lads but today we reacted really well to two poor results. We felt like we were on the right track after [the 5-0 win versus] Leipzig but we felt like we let ourselves down against Arsenal.
“We knew it was an important game, to come here and get three points. The boys reacted really well but as we know, it's only a start.”