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What We Learned: Manchester United 1-0 Everton – Barclays Premier League 2015/16

Oh wow was the final whistle a relief! That was a nervy closing period for the sole reason of the United of this season. But three points it is, and three valuable points in the chase for top four. Manchester City now needs to watch their backs, and here is what we learned against Everton.

He ain’t a centre back but who cares?

Romelu Lukaku has been known to be quite the bully in the past. He’s also in decent enough scoring form this season. Daley Blind didn’t care about any of that. He absolutely dominated the big Belgian striker and didn’t afford him a sniff at any point. There were fears he was being isolated against the Everton man and that would only lead to one thing; a goal. But at no point did you think that would come about due to the sheer class Blind bought to the table. He was exceptional today, and hopefully, he was taken off as a precaution as he could prove vital in the run in.

Michael Carrick is done 

It was something most of us knew anyway but was amplified by the classy showing from his replacement, Ander Herrera. Carrick just takes too long in possession and only appears comfortable releasing the ball backwards, if at all. He had a glorious chance to release Jesse Lingard in the first half but dallied about and eventually played a poor ball. It’s a shame to have to say it, as he really has been a phenomenal servant to the club but age I’d certainly getting the better of him. The pace and intensity Herrera bought when he came on was exactly what the doctor ordered as the game grew more uncertain.

Rashford has been good but has much to learn

Not a criticism by any means as the lad really has blown everybody away since he arrived on the scene. But today showed the weaker side of his game that will come with experience and exposure. Many times he looked a bit dazzled our there and not quite strong enough to compete with seasoned pros like Phil Jagielka. That being said, he also showed on occasions he is more than capable of doing so and was still a thorn in Everton’s side. His back heel to Timothy Fosu-Mensah in the build-up to the goal was divine, and he threatened once or twice. The future is bright for him, he just needs to learn his trade fully.

Conclusion

On an emotional day, it was only right that it should be tense and nerve-wracking. In the end, the three points were thoroughly deserved, but it didn’t stop me from thinking it could all go Pete Tong. Anthony Martial is a fitting scorer of the 1000th Premier League goal at Old Trafford, and the tribute to a true legend in Sir Bobby Charlton had many wiping away a tear. On the football front, encouraging almost. The will and determination to grind out a 1-0 win is exactly the spirit needed heading into the final few games. With Spurs up next, it could either be a momentum inspiring win or a crushing defeat, it’s almost impossible to call. All in all, happy faces all round. The top four is nowhere near out of reach, and my prophecy it would be achieved looking hopeful. On to Tottenham, it’s good to have proper football back!

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