It was all too familiar as Manchester United tried to recycle possession against an Everton low block. Of course, the inference is not that United play Everton every week, but rather the deep block. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team this season have dropped points against Wolves, Crystal Palace, Southampton, Newcastle, Bournemouth, Sheffield United, Aston Villa and now Everton. The Red Devils dominated possession in every one of those games. They recorded 67% against the Toffees.
This same United are the only team to have taken points off Liverpool this season. The 20-time English champions have also beaten Leicester City, Spurs and Man City. This is what makes the points dropped, even more, infuriating for the Old Trafford faithful.
Everton set up in a 4-4-2 dropping incredibly deep when United had the ball. The Blues’ attacking plan was to knock it long to Dominic Calvert Lewin and exploit his aerial prowess. Calvert Lewin caused United’s centre backs troubles but could not score. The goal came from a Leighton Baines corner when the whipped cross took an unfortunate deflection off Victor Lindelof to go in.
The hosts did respond, by applying more pressure. Everton dropped deeper and deeper. Daniel James found a little space on the edge of the box to find Mason Greenwood. Greenwood, as he did in midweek, smacked it into the bottom right corner, leaving Pickford helpless. United equalised but just did not do enough to earn all three points.
The Mancunians’ intensity had dropped from the Spurs and City games. The runs in behind from the likes of Marcus Rashford and Dan James were not as frequent. Anthony Martial did not influence the game as much as he would have liked. The midfield pivot of Scott Mctominay and Fred looked devoid of ideas, at times. There was a lack of initiative by the players on the ball.
This simply cannot continue for Man United. The Norwegian has certainly answered doubters after beating both Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola in a week but must find a solution to get through deep blocks. Whether it is an internal solution or external, is what we will have to wait and watch.