Manchester United 0
Statistics (Full Time)
Possession: Everton 34.9% / United 65.1%
Passes Completed: Everton 215 / United 495
Shots on Goal: Everton 7 / United 4
Fouls Committed: Everton 6 / United 10
Yellow Cards: Everton 0 / United 2 (Fellaini, Shaw)
Red Cards: Everton 0 / United 0
Everton made it three home wins in a row against Manchester United Sunday lunchtime, dispatching the Red Devils with three well-taken goals that lift The Toffees to 10th in the table, while United remain in 4th.
Roberto Martinez’s game-plan got off to the perfect start when James McCarthy slotted home after just five minutes, allowing Everton to sit deep, absorb United’s superior possession and hit on the counter. John Stones put the Merseysiders 2-0 up shortly before half time, expertly meeting Leighton Baines’ corner to head past de Gea.
Louis van Gaal introduced Radamel Falcao at half-time, and Angel di Maria shortly after the hour mark, but neither of United’s trophy assets made any meaningful impact on the game. Serious question marks must now be placed against both men’s Old Trafford futures.
As United pushed forward, gaps inevitably opened up at the back and Kevin Mirallas found himself through on goal in the 74th minute, expertly slotting past de Gea. United’s defense was culpable of not playing to the whistle, hesitating for the linesman’s flag as Romelu Lukaku stood offside. It was amateurish defending.
This is United’s worst defeat to Everton in 20 years, and Louis van Gaal now finds himself two points behind Manchester City in the fight for the third automatic Champions League spot. The Red Devils now have a week to re-group for the visit of West Brom next Saturday.
Everton, meanwhile, are now safely ensconced mid-table. The Goodison Park faithful must be ruing their awful first two-thirds of the season.
GOAL: James McCarthty (Everton), 5th Minute
GOAL! James McCarthy opens the scoring for Everton after five minutes at Goodison Park
GOAL: John Stones (Everton), 35th Minute
Against the run of play, John Stones scores a bullet header from an Everton corner to put The Toffees 2-0 up at Goodison Park.
GOAL: Kevin Mirallas (Everton), 74th Minute
Kevin Mirallas takes advantage of hesitation in the Manchester United defense to latch onto Ross Barkley’s through-ball (intended for the offside Romelu Lukaku) and shoot past David de Gea.
Everton: Howard, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines, Barry, Lennon, Barkley, McCarthy, Osman (Mirallas ’68), Lukaku (Kone, ’87)
Man Utd: De Gea, Shaw, McNair, Smalling, Valencia, Blind, Young, Fellaini (Falcao ’45), Herrera, Mata (di Maria ’63), Rooney
Manchester United travel to Goodison Park this Sunday to take on Everton as the Premier League enters the final five games of the season. Louis van Gaal will be looking for a response from his team following their frustrating 1-0 loss away to league leaders Chelsea last weekend, especially with Manchester City just a solitary point behind in fourth place.
Everton, by contrast, have little to play for aside from professional pride. Safely ensconced in mid-table, 13 points above the relegation zone but 15 distant from the Europa League places, it will be interesting to see just how motivated Roberto Martinez’s side is for the visit of the Red Devils. Everton have a good record against United at home, having beaten them on each of their last two visits.