Manchester United were beaten 1-0 by Everton at Goodison Park. Ralf Rangnick’s side had reached a new low after they failed to beat Leicester City last weekend and now look likely to face another season in the UEFA Europa League or the UEFA Europa Conference League.
United started out well against Everton. In the eighth minute, former United defender Michael Keane fouled Alex Telles with the away side winning a free-kick. Marcus Rashford had a shot on goal as a result of the set-piece but it was saved by Jordan Pickford.
United then had a corner which ended with Cristiano Ronaldo being caught offside from a Telles through ball. Aaron Wan-Bissaka then won a free-kick in the Everton area. In the 12th minute, Bruno Fernandes found Rashford with a cross and his effort was once against saved by Pickford.
United then had another chance in the 14th minute but were ruled offside again as a through ball from Fernandes was fed to Rashford. Ronaldo then had an attempt blocked after Fernandes found him in dangerous territory. United were certainly having plenty of chances.
Everton got a goal out of nowhere in the 27th minute after Richarlison gathered the ball on the left flank, cut towards the box, passed to Alex Iwobi who back heeled it towards Anthony Gordon with his effort on target but sent past David De Gea after a deflection off Harry Maguire.
Fred seemed to gain an injury in the minutes after the goal and Paul Pogba started to warm up on the sidelines. The substitution was made in the 36th minute of the match just after De Gea made a save to deny Everton from doubling their lead.
Everton seemed to be determined to take the three points from this game with Allan having another chance on goal just after United’s substitution but his shot was blocked. Frank Lampard seemed happy on the sideline directing his team to drive this victory at the end of the first half.
United gave away a corner with a minute of stoppage time added at the end of the first half. Nemanja Matić gave away the corner with Gordon taking the set-piece but De Gea punched the effort away from danger just as the whistle blew for half time.
United found themselves with a big challenge ahead of them in the second half, which is the story of the season. If they fail to get a win here, despite Arsenal losing to Crystal Palace earlier in the week, the chances of reaching the UEFA Champions League next season would be very slim.
There were no substitutions for either side at the start of the second half. United needed to get themselves back into this game somehow but Everton seemed more likely to score because of the way they started the second half. They seemed to want this victory more than United.
United had a good attack in the 50th minute of the match with Rashford rushing into the box with the ball and launching his effort on goal, which was not on target. Pickford had left himself in no man’s land, which was lucky for him as Rashford’s shot was not good enough.
Almost twenty minutes into the second half, United were still struggling to get back into the match and Everton were not finding that elusive second goal. Rangnick made a double substitution bringing on Juan Mata and Anthony Elanga for Matić and Rashford.
Fernandes had an attempt blocked in the 70th minute, which perhaps could have been a bit more clinical from United. A minutes later, Elanga had a chance on goal after Victor Lindelöf fed him the ball but he was off target. United needed to do so much better in this match.
It seemed like United did not want this and that this was going to be the same story for the remaining seven matches of the season, which would show that many of these pretentious players should not be given any further chances after the close of the season.
Lampard made his first substitution in the 71st minute as Demarai Gray replaced Dominic Calvert-Lewin with Everton seeking to find that second goal which would in effect win them the match and see them create a four point gap over Burnley, keeping them from the relegation zone.
Pogba had a shot on goal in the 80th minute, supported by Mata in the box but it was not meant to be for United. Lampard was then getting his second substitution ready as Everton looked to guide their club to the victory over United. Rangnick’s side seemed out of it.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka had a shot on goal in the 83rd minute as United found themselves in an attacking position. Pickford managed to grab hold of the ball to avert any danger. In the 84th minute, Abdoulaye Doucouré replaced Fabien Delph as Everton led United dominate the ball.
This result was going to define United, who still had to face Norwich City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Brentford, Brighton and Hove Albion, Crystal Palace and Chelsea – it makes me think that there are only six or seven points achievable from this run in – which shows the trouble United are in.
Everton seemed much more determined to get this win. Jordan Pickford was booked for time wasting in the 86th minute and Ronaldo was booked a minute later for showing his frustration – which must be a high level for him after his return to United during a season that has been terrible.
Five minutes of stoppage time was added at the end of the second half but with United showing no urgency or desire to equalise or even win this match, it was just going to be five minutes of the save yellow-bellied approach from the club that has failed to win the league for nine seasons in a row.
Ronaldo did have a late shot but Pickford rose to it and made sure it was not the equaliser. United fell to another defeat in the Premier League this season, amassing just one point over Everton this season with Everton amassing four over United.
David De Gea: Beaten by Gordon’s strike, which he seemingly had covered but Maguire’s deflection sent it past him. He dealt with Richarlison’s effort and seemed to have it all in the bag for United. It was not his fault the creativity was poor and United’s forward players could not score. ★★★★★★
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: He seemed confident from the outset but Richarlison got inside for the only goal of the game. Had a chance to find a goal late in the match but the shot was not the best and Pickford seemed to be at the top of his game for Everton. ★★★★★
Victor Lindelöf: Organised and was perhaps the best defender for United. His lack of physicality was a motivator for Everton but other than Gordon’s goal, there was nothing pressuring United from their game. United are in dire straits and the next manager has a big job ahead of him. ★★★★★
Harry Maguire: Deflected Gordon’s on target effort into the back of the net. De Gea seemed ready for it but not the deflection. It has not been the best season for the captain and the entire team is void of confidence. It makes me wonder why this team is not performing? ★★★★★
Alex Telles: It was an uninspiring performance for the Brazilian who could be the left-back for the remainder of the season, unless Alvaro Fernandez is promoted. Seemed to do well with some corners but despite his form in Portugal, he is a squad player in the Premier League. ★★★★★
Fred: Seemed up for the occasion against Everton and had some involvement in United many opportunities that United had to score in the opening stages. After Everton opened the scoring, the Brazilian seemed to suffer an injury and he was replaced by Pogba. ★★★★
Nemanja Matić: Came in for the injured McTominay against Everton. I think he did his job well in stages, but he’s not the answer for the future. Fred was the legs in the midfield until he was injured. Pogba’s introduction was not great for him. Replaced by Mata. ★★★★★
Marcus Rashford: Given the opportunity to get himself back in the starting XI. Initially, it seemed to be working with Rashford having a few chances on goal in the first half. But his finishing was not good enough. United then conceded and struggled. Replaced by Elanga. ★★★★★★
Bruno Fernandes: The Portuguese midfielder created some chances for Rashford but it seemed like frustration overcame him and his impetus was not best served. It has been a tough season and his professionalism will continue to drive him. However, he needs to improve for United. ★★★★
Jadon Sancho: In recent matches, he seemed to have turned a corner but in this match, he was ineffective for much of the match. United have a massive task to turn this team of avoiders into a team that could challenge for trophies, which is a pipe dream right now. ★★★★
Cristiano Ronaldo: Lacked service in the first half and showed his frustration in the second. He will be wondering why he came back to United – a team owned by a business that does not care about football other than the money it can make. Missed a late chance on goal. ★★★★
Paul Pogba: Replaced Fred 36′. Did not seem all that committed when he came on. Booked and did not seem to stop there. Could have scored but it was saved. His impact was not really a thing as it seems his head is in the future, not the now. ★★★★
Juan Mata: Replaced Matić 64′. Unable to unlock anything against Everton. He will have been rusty having not played since last month – for six minutes. It was his first appearance in the Premier League this season. This is probably the end for him at United and United need to move on. ★★★★
Anthony Elanga: Replaced Rashford 64′. Had a chance to steal a goal for United but it did not pay off. Seemed brighter than Rashford, who had loads of chances but failed to break the deadlock with any of them. He will probably play more matches this season but it will be a tough end. ★★★★
Goals: Anthony Gordon 27′
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelöf, Maguire, Telles; Fred (Pogba 36′), Matić (Mata 64′); Rashford (Elanga 64′), Fernandes, Sancho; Ronaldo
Substitutes Not Used: Heaton, Henderson; Jones, Dalot; Lingard, Hannibal
Bookings: Anthony Gordon 75′, Jordan Pickford 86′; Paul Pogba 51′, Cristiano Ronaldo 87′
Written by John Walker