Manchester United were beaten 2-0 by Everton at Goodison Park this afternoon, which is the first time since the 1969/70 season that the Toffee’s have done the double over United. It is also the first time ever that both clubs from the City of Liverpool have done the double over United in the same season. United will definitely not be involved in the UEFA Champions League next season, and their hopes of finishing inside the top six have been dented. It was also the first time David Moyes had returned to his former club as an opposition manager, one for him to remember I am sure. United were just not good enough from the offset and were lucky not to give a penalty away much earlier than they actually did.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez had his formation and tactics spot on for this fixture. His sides direct and clinical approach, getting them attacking United in all the right places. This resulted in a the home side scoring twice, once from the spot inside the first half with Leighton Baines and Kevin Mirallas scoring the goals. Martinez’s men have shown their free-flowing football style this season, but with United having more than a lions share of possession, but what use is that if they were not attacking or getting enough of the ball into the threatening areas of the pitch. Juan Mata and Shinji Kagawa were trying to dictate play with their quick passing, but it was just not good enough for United.
On the 28th minute of the match, Romelu Lukaku’s shot was blocked by Phil Jones’ outstretched arm, which resulted in Mark Clattenburg awarding a penalty, which Leighton Baines slotted home quite calmly. That was the fourth penalty Clattenburg had awarded against United this season, three against Liverpool and this one today. United were trying to get themselves back into the match but they failed to penetrate Everton’s defence. Just before the end of the first half, United were caught with a counter-attack with Seamus Coleman slipping the pass to Mirallas, who was played onside by Alexander Büttner, who then fired his shot past David De Gea. Everton were 2-0 up in a vital period of the match, all the signs suggested United were out of that match at that time.
In the second half, United were trying to get back into the match and a shot from Shinji Kagawa did not trouble former United goalkeeper Tim Howard. United had few chances in the second half and just seemed so uninterested to actually fight for the victory. David Moyes, who jus surely on his last legs as the United manager made two changes just after the hour mark with Antonio Valencia and Javier Hernandez replacing Nani and Jonny Evans. Just 14 minutes later, Danny Welbeck replaced Shinji Kagawa, but they were still playing second fiddle to the strong Everton side.
United’s best chance came three minutes from the end of the match with former Everton striker Wayne Rooney hitting a close-range shot towards Everton’s goal, but Howard denied him. Chris Smalling also headed wide deep into injury time, but by them it was all too late for Moyes’ side. This season has been disastrous for United’s millions of supporters, but it could still get much worse. Having your former side beat you twice in a season, when you are the manager of a team who were champions from the previous season must be humiliating. Not as humiliating as the comments by the manager after the match though…
“We gave away two terrible goals. But I thought prior to that we passed the ball brilliantly well. We kept the ball and had great control of the game. What we couldn’t do was create enough chances. They were two poor goals to give away, both on the break.
“We didn’t have a final through-pass or the final finish when the [chances] came, and there weren’t very many of them. So that was the disappointing part, that we couldn’t do that. The job is to win football matches. There is a lot talked about style, but it’s more important to win, and we didn’t do that.”
The funny thing was that after Moyes had his say, the camera went back to the studio where Jamie Carragher said “We must have been watching a different game.” I sadly had to agree with Carragher, United just were not good enough and with Norwich City, who we play next Saturday, being involved in a relegation battle, they must fancy their chances against United at Old Trafford.
Match Statistics: Goals 0, Shots On Target 2, Shots Off Target 3, Corners 5, Offsides 4, Yellow Cards 2, Red Cards 0, Fouls Won 8, Fouls Conceded 8, Pass Success Rate 85%, Possession 61%
Manchester United: 1. De Gea; 4. Jones, 12. Smalling, 6. Evans (14. Hernandez 61′), 28. Büttner; 16. Carrick, 24. Fletcher; 17. Nani (25. Valencia 61′), 8. Mata, 26. Kagawa (19. Welbeck 75′); 10. Rooney
Substitutes Not Used: 13. Lindegaard; 11. Giggs, 31. Fellaini, 44. Januzaj
Bookings: Phil Jones 27′, Chris Smalling 49′
Everton: 24. Howard; 23. Coleman, 26. Stones, 15. Distin (32. Alcaraz 46′), 3. Baines; 16. McCarthy, 18. Barry; 14. Naismith, 20. Barkley (21. Osman 70′), 11. Mirallas (7. McGeady 90′); 17. Lukaku
Substitutes Not Used: 1. Robles; 2. Hibbert, 29. Garbutt; 10. Deulofeu
Bookings: Ross Barkley 47′, James McCarthy 60′
By Paul Bienkowski
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