Five talking points from United's draw at Everton
Manchester United earned a valuable away point early on Sunday afternoon, drawing 1-1 with Everton at Goodison Park.
Bruno Fernandes’s 31st-minute strike restored parity after Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s early opener, but there was plenty of excitement and a fair dollop of late drama in a match that swung like a pendulum for large periods.
Here are the five major talking points from our visit to the blue half of Merseyside…
REDS REACT TO ADVERSITY
Plenty of talk in the build-up to the game was centred around last season’s 4-0 reverse at Goodison and, when Calvert-Lewin charged down David De Gea’s attempted clearance to put the hosts in front after just three minutes, Reds supporters could have been forgiven for fearing a repeat of April's chastening defeat. But United’s reaction to going behind was highly commendable, with the visitors launching wave after wave of attacks and going close on several occasions. Nemanja Matic rattled the woodwork and forced a save out of Jordan Pickford, and it seemed only a matter of time until we got back into the game.
Highlights: Everton 1 Man Utd 1Video
ANOTHER BRUNO GOAL
The equaliser came on the half-hour mark, through Fernandes – his third goal in seven days, but his first from open play since joining from Sporting Lisbon in late January. The Portuguese playmaker showed brilliant awareness to drift into a pocket of space and, as soon as he received the ball from Matic, he was setting himself to shoot. Pickford might have been disappointed not to get a hand to Bruno’s effort, but it was a well-hit effort which admittedly did skid off the turf just in front of the England goalkeeper.
A FEISTY ATMOSPHERE
Goodison is renowned for its partisan crowd and the home supporters certainly helped their side through what was often a difficult first half, especially after the equaliser. The major flashpoint came when Calvert-Lewin fouled Luke Shaw out on United’s left just before half-time. The Reds were awarded a free-kick and both players were cautioned after a minor fracas down on the touchline, but the Toffees’ fans felt aggrieved by the decisions going against their team and sounded their frustration at both the referee and the visiting team. After previously struggling to contain the Reds, Everton, roared on by their fans, finished the first half strongly, laying the platform for an onslaught in the second 45.
Bruno: It was an intense gameVideo
MAGUIRE SOLID AT THE BACK
Everton ramped up the pressure when the teams came back out, regularly putting David De Gea and his back four under aerial bombardment, particularly from corners and set pieces. That United didn’t concede for the second time in the match was largely down to captain Harry Maguire who, time after time, headed clear when under the cosh in his own six-yard box. The former Leicester man registered 14 clearances and won five aerial duels, both of which were match highs.
VAR IN THE NEWS AGAIN
After a raft of substitutions midway through the second half, the match was seemingly meandering to a draw, but both sides had their goalkeepers to thank for good saves in a dramatic closing five minutes. First, Odion Ighalo was denied by Pickford, before De Gea stuck out a boot to divert Gylfi Sigurdsson’s shot away from goal. United couldn’t clear the danger though, and Calvert-Lewin’s effort was cruelly deflected into the back of the net by the hitherto imperious Maguire. However, for the third Premier League game in a row, the Reds were rescued by VAR, with Jonathan Moss at Stockley Park informing referee Chris Kavanagh that Sigurdsson had obscured De Gea’s view while grounded in an offside position. The Toffees – most notably manager Carlo Ancelotti, who was sent off after the final whistle – were aggrieved by the decision, but United fans breathed a sigh of relief.
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