Manchester United had a tough day against Everton despite scoring four goals.
It was a game full of players appearing against their former clubs. Rooney and Lukaki faced their previous clubs, while Fellaini and Schneiderlin also featured against their former employers.
The game got off to a great start from a United perspective with Valencia scoring an early goal of the season contender. Matic decided to switch the play and found the Ecuadorian full back on the other side of the pitch. The pass bounced before the right back hit it past Pickford who could have done better, as the ball wasn’t totally out of reach.
From this moment, against an Everton side that had been humiliated in the Europa League by Atalanta, the home supporters expected their side to push on and grab another goal to put the game out of reach before half time. However, Everton responded with sustained periods of possession, with Rooney making a few passes down the right hand side. The former United player found himself in David De Gea’s penalty area on a number of occasions but couldn’t finish any chances the away side created.
United were fortunate to be going into the dressing room at half time with the advantage. Despite the dominance from the away side, United were always a threat on the counter attack. As Everton had to force the issue, Mkhitaryan and Rashford were always going to be in the back of the Ronald Koeman’s mind whenever the Toffees built up an attack.
The game was looking to end up as a narrow United win or possibly a draw, but after Lingard and Herrera were brought on, the fresh legs gave the Red Devils more steel in the middle and United managed to play their way out of Everton’s counterpress.
The last 15 minutes took the game away from Everton, with three goals in quick succession from Mkhitaryan, Lukaku and a penalty from Martial. Mkhitaryan’s goal came about after a poor attempt at a build up from Ashley Williams which sent Lukaku through on goal. The Belgian cut back and played a perfectly weighted through ball to the onrushing Armenian who sealed the three points.
After this, the game was a formality. It seemed as though United wanted to score five, as this would have sent them top of the table on goal difference. They almost accomplished that, as Romelu Lukaku found the net against his former club. After an abysmal free kick, the Number nine ran into the box and got on the end of a deflected shot. He made the most of the celebration, something he wouldn’t have done if the Everton fans hadn’t been booing him in the build up to the goal.
Martial came on for a ten minute cameo and managed to win and score a penalty to make it 4-0.
The scoreline suggests a Man United masterclass and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Everton had the majority of the ball but ultimately rarely threatened. The Evertonian dominance wouldn’t have been such a worry if United had managed to kill the game off with a counter attack. The scoreline definitely papers over a few cracks and although this is the third time we’ve seen four goals and none conceded, the creativity from Pogba will be sorely missed in the coming weeks.