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Manchester United (Ronaldo pen. 44) 1-0 Everton
Stadium: Old Trafford, England
Competition: English Premier League
Date: 31 January 2009
Kickoff: 17:30 GMT, 12:30 ET
Manchester United held off Everton, 1-0, to maintain their hold on first place! Soccerlens brought you the action live! Click below for the liveblog and feel free to leave comments below!
When these two teams met in October, Manchester United grabbed an early lead, only to fall victim to a second-half header from Marouane Fellaini. Both clubs had started the season off slowly, and were in danger of falling further off the pace as a result of the 1-1 draw. How times have changed…
Manchester United have stormed into first place and are playing their best ball of the season. They recently broke the Premiership record by recording 11 straight clean sheets, despite using a revolving door of defenders as a result of injuries. That they have managed to overtake Liverpool and Chelsea to sit in first place despite losing several important players to injury is a testament to their depth and quality. They’ll hope for another strong showing, this time against a quality Everton side that shut them down nicely during their last meeting.
As for Everton, they’ll have some questions to answer after blowing a late lead against Arsenal. Despite that setback, Everton have been unbeaten in their last seven league matches. They’ve had a rough stretch of matches, lately, and their best offensive threat, Tim Cahill, left the match against Arsenal with an injury. Still, they’ve been in fantastic form, and their defense is playing as well as any side outside of Manchester United. A win against their northwestern rivals would go a long way towards their goal of finishing in the Top 4.
Who will win in this match between in-form sides? Will Phil Neville get booed for his rough tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo during the October clash? Tune in and find out!
Also See: Will Everton be able to break Manchester United’s record-breaking run of 11 consecutive Premier League clean sheets?
Manchester United: Van der Sar, Neville (c), Ferdinand, Vidic, O’Shea, Ronaldo, Carrick, Fletcher, Park, Berbatov, Tevez
Subs: Kuszczak, Welbeck, Eckersley, Giggs, Brown, Gibson, Fabio.
Only one change from the team that thrashed West Brom in midweek as Giggs will sit out for Fletcher. Brown, who came on as a sub in the West Brom match, will be available as a sub once again, and Welbeck and Fabio have seemingly recovered from last week’s F.A. Cup match against Tottenham. Van der Sar, obviously, will be looking to add to his clean sheet record .
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines, Osman, Arteta, Neville (c), Pienaar, Fellaini, Cahill.
Subs: Nash, Yobo, Castillo, Rodwell, Jutkiewicz, Anichebe, Gosling.
No changes for Everton from the side that drew with Arsenal in midweek. Cahill and Fellaini will both play, despite injury concerns, and the bench will remain the same as well. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Two former United players will return to Old Trafford as Howard and Neville will come back to their old stomping grounds.
90′ + 3 Carrick takes a shot from long range, and it’s off the mark. There’s the whistle, and we’re done! Thanks to everyone who followed along, and join me tomorrow for the big Liverpool/Chelsea match!
90′ + 1 There will be two minutes of added time. Anichebe tackles Brown and shoves him to the ground. No booking for Anichebe, and that’s a bit of a surprise. Halsey is letting them play, though.
90′ Pienaar gets fancy and tries to back-heel it, but it’s to no one in particular. Van der Sar takes it and he takes his time punting it away.
89′ Yobo looked like he was going to come on, but Moyes pulls him back at the last minute. Let’s see what he has up his sleeve.
88′ Pienaar leads the charge after Lescott takes away Carrick’s pass. Lescott continues his run and Pienaar tries to thread it through to him, but Carrick makes a good defensive play to take it away. Carrick has had a great game today.
87′ Park works against Hibbert down the left and he fires a shot on Howard. Park doesn’t have the angle, though, and the shot is easily stopped.
86′ Phil Neville with a dangerous throw into the box and Anichebe sends it to Cahill. He fires a shot but Carrick makes a great play to knock it away.
84′ Baines gives away a free kick deep down the right wing. Ronaldo sends it into the box, and Howard punches it away. Carrick gets it on the edge of the box, but his effort is sliced wide of the target.
83′ Vidic and Pienaar collide and Vidic is called for the foul. Arteta will have a free kick from a good 35 yards out or so. He sends it into the box towards Lescott and Cahill. Cahill tries the overhead kick but misses it. Lescott tries to pounce on it, but he goes down and wants a penalty. No love from the ref, though, and it looks like Ferdinand had a hand on his shoulder, but it’s tough to say whether he deserved the penalty.
81′ Arteta with the foul on Ronaldo near the center line, and Arteta disagrees. Very quiet game from Arteta so far.
80′ Carrick with a strong run towards the box and he sends a shot that’s deflected out for a corner. Giggs takes the corner and swings it into the box towards Ronaldo. He gets his head on it, but it’s over the crossbar.
79′ Tevez tries a shot from the edge of the box, but Howard stops it easily. Tevez tried to chip that over the keeper, but to no avail.
77′ United break and Tevez sends it long to Berbatov. He sends it back to Carrick, who nearly threads it through to Tevez, but great play from Jagielka to cut it out. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Jagielka is playing about as well as any defender in the Premiership right now.
75′ Giggs is on for Fletcher. Giggs immediately gets into the action by flicking a nice over-the-top pass to Park inside the box, but Hibbert does a great job to defend Park and wins a free kick for his troubles.
74′ Hibbert and Howard have some miscommunication and Hibbert has to hold it instead of pass it back to his keeper. Tevez applies the pressure, but Hibbert is able to get it away.
73′ Cahill gets it in the box and he lays it back to Pienaar. He tries one from the edge of the box, but it’s way off the mark. Should have done better there.
72′ Vidic gets a touch on the corner, and Howard takes a tumble. He’s in trouble, but Tevez can’t pounce on the loose ball. Ronaldo tries to keep the ball in, but it goes out for a United throw.
71′ Tevez and Ronaldo are standing over the ball, and Tevez takes it. It’s off the wall but Howard has to tip it out for a corner. This is where they miss Hargreaves.
70′ Tevez tries to spring Ronaldo, but Jagielka is there to knock it away. Tevez takes it away in his attacking half and his shot is blocked. Carrick gets it and he is fouled on the edge of the box by Pienaar.
68′ Fellaini comes off for Anichebe.
65′ Carrick sends it to Ronaldo, but he can’t get his header down. United reset their offense and Tevez makes a nice move to thread it through to a sliding Berbatov. He can’t get his boot on it, though, and he loses his shoe. Tevez has played very well today.
64′ Brown wins a corner as his cross smacks Pienaar in the face and it’s out past the end-line.
63′ Poor pass from Fletcher cuts out a promising United attack. Baines takes it and goes on the attack. Osman’s pass to Pienaar is poor as well, and Brown takes it.
61′ Baines on the overlap with Pienaar as they try the trick once again. Brown is wise to it and knocks the return ball to Baines away for a throw.
60′ Brown with the foul and Arteta will take the free kick from about 35 yards out. He goes for goal, but Van der Sar saves it easily.
59′ Arteta with a great ball to Hibbert, who catches O’Shea napping. He tries to center it to Osman, but Ferdinand knocks it away.
58′ Fellaini takes on Vidic on the edge of the box, and Vidic gets enough of a touch on it to knock it loose. Ferdinand then kicks it out for a throw.
56′ Poor touch from Phil Neville gives it right to Tevez. He attacks Jagielka, but the Evertonian does well to keep Tevez in front of him. Tevez fires a shot on target, but Howard makes the diving stop. Gary Neville is coming off for Wes Brown, and he gets a nice ovation from the fans. Gary heads straight into the tunnel and he looks like he needs some treatment.
54′ Great play from Carrick to win the ball in traffic. He sends it long to Ronaldo, who makes a good run into the box. Osman is there to take it away, though. Meanwhile, Wes Brown is warming up and I think Gary’s night is done.
52′ Great cross into the box and Tevez with a great chance, but it’s over the crossbar.
51′ Cahill tries a shot from long range, but it’s over the post.
50′ Hibbert tries to send in a cross from the right, but he shanks it and Van der Sar takes it comfortably.
49′ Carrick goes down in the box once again, but no penalty this time. Lescott hits him, but he stays out of trouble. Meanwhile, Everton comes back quickly and Pienaar shoots from long range that forces a good save from Van der Sar. On the replay, it looks like this incident was much more of a penalty than the earlier foul on Arteta.
48′ Arteta goes for goal, but it’s well wide of the post. Very poor effort from him, and not something you see everyday.
47′ Vidic gives up a free kick to Pienaar, and Everton will have a good chance from about 30 yards out.
46′ No changes for either side and United kick off to start the second half.
46′ Gary Neville had a very poor first half, defending wise. Nearly all of Everton’s attacks came down the left and Neville did not do a good job staying with Hibbert. We could be seeing Wes Brown at some point in the second half.
46′ Sometimes, it’s a game of inches. Arteta first made contact with Carrick outside the box, but Carrick kept moving forward and the trip came inside the box. Great call from Mark Halsey.
Very entertaining match so far, with a bit of controversy to boot! United dominated possession and were unlucky not to have scored before Ronaldo slotted home the penalty kick. Everton seemed like they were going to escape the first half without conceding, but Arteta’s foul on Carrick gave United the opening they needed. Everton will have to open up a little bit if they want to equalize, meanwhile, you can bet United will continue to put pressure on the Toffees’ defense. The second half should be a good one!
45′ + 3 There’s the whistle and we’re at halftime. See you in the second half!
45′ + 2 Carrick shoots from the edge of the box, and he forces a diving save from Howard. He nearly spills the ball to a waiting Berbatov, but Howard is ultimately able to hold onto it.
45′ + 1 Two minutes will be added on. Tevez sends it through to Berbatov, but Tevez puts way too much mustard on it and Berbatov wouldn’t have caught up to it even if he had been playing on roller blades.
44′ GOAL! Carrick gets through and he is tripped in the box. He wants a penalty and he gets one! It looks like Arteta clearly catches him after Carrick had already gone past him. Good call from the ref. Ronaldo steps up to take the penalty, and he does his little stutter step and powers it past Howard. The keeper guessed right, but Ronaldo still put it in.
43′ Good delivery from Ronaldo into the center of goal, but Everton knock it away for a throw.
42′ Park challenges Baines deep down the right wing, and Baines catches Park with a late tackle. United will have a free kick in a pretty dangerous area.
41′ Everton on the attack and Baines with another delivery into the box from the left, but Vidic easily knocks it away for a throw. Arteta sends it into the box and the ball goes through Gary Neville’s legs. Fletcher is there to knock it away, though.
39′ Baines sends in another cross from the left wing, but Ferdinand sends it out for a throw.
37′ Everton are doing a good job of getting behind the ball in their half of the field. Rafa Benitez feels your pain today, Sir Alex.
35′ Osman and Baines try the same little play that Baines and Pienaar did earlier. Park does well to close off Baines, and his cross is cut out by Van der Sar. Back the other way, and O’Shea tries to thread a cross across goal, but Howard makes a good play to intercept it.
33′ Great chance for Everton but the pass into the box for Fellaini goes through his legs. Van der Sar takes the gift in stride. Ronaldo with some more tricks as he lifts a pass into the box for Carrick. He chests it down nicely and half-volleys it on goal, but it’s off-target. Nice bit of skill from both players, but nothing doing in the end.
32′ Tevez tries to make a run at Lescott, but he gets tackled on the edge of the box. No foul and we get a shot of Wayne Rooney in the stands.
31′ Good interplay from Baines and Pienaar as Pienaar draws two defenders and plays it through to Baines. He tries to cross it to Cahill, but United knock it away for a throw.
30′ They take it short this time and they knock it around a little until O’Shea is called for a foul on Osman.
29′ Park down the left and he wins a corner on Hibbert.
28′ Carrick’s corner goes into the six-yard box, and Howard collides with Vidic. The keeper will always get that call, and this time is no different.
27′ Cahill tests Van der Sar from the edge of the box, but he easily saves it. Ronaldo with another shot, this one from outside the box, and Howard knocks it out. He seems determined to score today.
26′ Ronaldo with a great chance as he seemingly fires one from the edge of the box with almost no buildup. I can’t imagine that he got any power on it, but he beats Howard and hits the far post. Tevez tries to pounce on it, but he’s flagged for being off-side. That would have been a pretty soft goal had it gone in.
25′ Tevez with a burst of speed and he beats Lescott into the box. He sends a great cross towards Ronaldo, but he can’t get his head on it. What a great run from Tevez, though. Meanwhile, Osman is called for a foul on Ronaldo.
24′ Pienaar tries to feed Fellaini in the box, and he seems to be all over Vidic, but the pass is long and Van der Sar takes it.
23′ Tevez takes a shot from Arteta on the edge of the box, but no call. Gary Neville slides in with a hard tackle on Fellaini, and the United skipper is called for the foul.
22′ Free kick is out to the far post, but Van der Sar corrals it.
21′ Corner is out to Cahill. He tries to lay it off to Baines, but Berbatov stretches and does well to knock it away. Everton reload and they win a free kick against Park. This is close to the corner flag, so it will be like a corner.
20′ Everton win a free kick in their attacking half after Gary Neville commits the foul and take it quickly. Fletcher deflects it out for a corner.
19′ Long pass to Ronaldo from Fletcher and he looks like he has a chance to go one-on-one with Howard, but he’s flagged off-side. On the replay, it looks close, but he was probably on-side by a nose.
18′ Poor giveaway from Lescott to Carrick gives United a chance to break with Berbatov and Tevez in advanced positions, but Carrick’s pass is easily taken away. Oh well.
17′ Van der Sar takes control and catches the corner. He shows off his arm as he fires a great outlet pass to Tevez. Fletcher sends in a cross from deep down the right wing, but Howard takes it. Back the other way as Baines delivers one from the left wing to Cahill, but it eludes him and goes out for a United throw.
16′ Lescott sends a corner from the left edge of the box to the far post for Fellaini. It’s deflected out for a corner and this is where Everton is most dangerous.
15′ Vidic is on the ground as a result of a collision with Fellaini. Vidic has some blood in his mouth, but that shouldn’t stop him. He’ll have to go off for a little, cause it looks like he got some blood on his shirt.
13′ Great chance for United as Ronaldo sends in a good cross into the box that is deflected out to Park. He sends it to an unmarked Tevez, who fires on goal, but somehow, Howard gets a touch on it. Wow! I can’t believe Tevez didn’t score there. On the corner, Carrick’s service is poor and Howard easily takes it.
12′ Ronaldo picks off Phil Neville’s over-the-top pass and leads the break. Hibbert slides in with a hard, but clean tackle. Ronaldo is angry, but it was clean.
11′ Tevez tries to get through a wall of blue, and he manages to squeeze it to Berbatov. He tries to get it to Fletcher in the box, but it’s taken away.
8′ Tevez turns in the box and fires a shot, but it hits Lescott.
7′ Dangerous cross from Park from deep down the right wing that takes a wicked bounce in front of Howard, who just gets a touch on it. That would have been trouble if Howard had whiffed on it.
6′ Cahill gets a shot on goal, but he’s called off-side. On the replay, it wasn’t even close. He was way off-side.
5′ Baines with a dangerous cross from deep down the left to Fellaini. Vidic heads it away, but Fellaini is called for pushing him. Two fouls in two minutes for Fellaini.
4′ Poor free kick from Ronaldo as he hits the wall. I’d make a Ferrari joke, but that was so three weeks ago.
3′ Ronaldo runs at Hibbert and shows a few stepovers. Hibbert closes him off well and Ronaldo tries to cross it into the center of the box for Tevez. He lays it off to Fletcher, but it’s past him and Howard takes it easily. United come back and Fellaini fouls Carrick and United will have a great chance from less than 30 yards out. Really poor foul from Fellaini, whose had a problem with that, this year.
2′ United with the early pressure as Carrick and Ferdinand both do well to keep possession. Poor pass from Tevez to Ronaldo results in a giveaway to Fellaini. United get it back, though, and they’ll stay camped out in their attacking half of the field.
1′ Everton kick off and we’re underway! Mark Halsey is our ref. The pitch doesn’t look very good, so that could play a part in the quality of the football today.
0′ Here come the Neville Brothers – everyone’s favorite sibling combination in England. Unless you’re a Liverpool fan, of course.
0′ Here’s a bit of perspective. Edwin Van der Sar hasn’t conceded a goal in more than 17 hours. Even Jack Bauer can be impressed at that.
0′ Another former United player will be on the radar as it will be interesting to see how Howard recovers from his drop in form. He’s let in a soft goal in each of his team’s last two matches and has cost them the victory in both instances. We’ll see if his Old Trafford jitters return today.
0′ It’ll be interesting to see what kind of reception Phil Neville gets from the Old Trafford crowd. He probably should have been sent off for his tackle on Ronaldo during the last meeting, and his actions so infuriated his old teammates that even mild-mannered Ryan Giggs tried to go after him. Nevertheless, you could argue that that tackle changed the complexion of the game, since Everton started to play well afterwards while United went into a bit of a shell.
0′ Some exciting and interesting results from around the league thus far. Ten-man Stoke beat Manchester City, 1-0, which is a huge setback for City. Bolton blew a two-goal lead to Tottenham thanks to two Darren Bent goals (boy, did he make a statement or what?), but managed to squeak by on a late goal from Kevin Davies. Arsenal were underwhelming once again, being held to a scoreless draw with West Ham. And Villa fail to take advantage of their golden opportunity as they are held to a scoreless draw with Wigan.
0′ The team that could really make out like bandits after this weekend is Aston Villa. They win and they’ll be level on points with United, pending the result of this match. Villa are deadlocked with Wigan in the 89th minute, though, and they’ll have to pull out something special if they want to take all the points.
0′ United can really put the pressure on both Liverpool and Chelsea with a win here today. Conversely, Everton can really throw a monkey wrench into the title race if they win today. They’ll have their work cut out for them, though. United haven’t lost at home all season, and they haven’t conceded a goal in their last 11 matches.
0′ Hello everyone! Welcome to Soccerlens’ live coverage of the Manchester United/Everton match! I’m Victor and I’ll be your liveblogger.
United get a huge win against an in-form Everton, and will remain in first place regardless of what happens in the Liverpool/Chelsea match tomorrow. It’s a great result for United, especially in light of Arsenal and Aston Villa dropping points. United seem to be putting their foot on the gas and asserting their will on this title race, and that’s bad news for the teams below them. Especially since they’ll all have to come to Old Trafford in the second half of the season. Plus, they should be getting Rooney, Evra, Nani, Anderson, Evans, and the others back soon enough. Once again United’s defense did well, as Everton really didn’t threaten at all, and Van der Sar had another easy afternoon to extend his clean-sheet streak to 12 matches.
As for Everton, this isn’t the worst result in the world for them. They came within a disputed penalty of earning a point, and to lose by one goal at Old Trafford after playing Liverpool twice and Arsenal in their previous three matches is a pretty good accomplishment. Despite the fact that they’ve thrived without an established striker, their lack of options up front hurt them against Manchester United, and their defense was a little shaky, especially in the first half. Still, David Moyes got through the match without losing any additional players, and he should be especially thankful for that.
Man of the Match:
Both sides had worthy candidates. United’s patchwork defense continues to get the job done as Ferdinand and Vidic seem to clicking once again. Tevez was his usual energetic self, winning balls and creating chances for his team, and Ronaldo had another strong outing as talk of his scoring slump has quieted to a whisper. For Everton, Jagielka continues to impress on defense, and Howard made a number of great saves to keep his team within striking distance. However, Carrick was, by far, the best player on the pitch today. He did a great job passing the ball, as always, but it was his defensive contributions late in the game that sealed this win for United. He earned a penalty for his club (which he deserved), and probably should have gotten another one early in the second half.
Also See: How to watch live football for free.