Manchester United ran riot against a hapless Everton side at Old Trafford, as the club’s third 4-0 win of the season saw them go joint first with Manchester City at the top of the table. The game saw a number of players face off against their respective former sides, and despite what the scoreline might suggest, it hardly tells the story of how the match really went.
Here, we look at 5 talking points from the game:
5. Valencia’s Worldy
It’s only been five games into the new Premier League season so far, but it appears as though we already have two solid contenders for goal of the season. Charlie Daniels scored a similar goal from a tighter angle for Bournemouth against Manchester City a few weeks ago, but Antonio Valencia’s fourth minute strike against Everton was one to behold.
A pass from the left flank by Nemanja Matic just bounced right in front of the Ecuadorian, who had only one thought in his mind, and boy did he execute it to perfection. Valencia launched the most sweetly connected volley he may ever score before the end of his career to put United 1-0 up, and you can be assured that this won’t be the last time you’ll see that strike.
4. The Toffees Stuck To Their Own Half
Although they showed a major improvement on this aspect in the second half, Everton’s first-half display would have shocked countless number of fans who came to Old Trafford expecting the usually tight affair between these two sides. There was absolutely no attack from the Toffees at all in the first period. They happily sat back and let United dictate play, and never once even looked like making a breakthrough.
In fact, they sat so far deep into their own half that Phil Jones felt absolutely no pressure waltzing into the Merseyside club’s half on a number of occasions. It was a woeful sight to see from an Everton perspective, and they will have to rectify it immediately if they want to challenge for a Europa League spot at the minimum.
3. What Happened To Rashford?
It is so rare to see Marcus Rashford have an insipid, ineffective game, but that was exactly the case against Everton at Old Trafford. The boy wonder, who is often seen as the inspiration on days where United are in desperate need of a shining light, seemed like he was in need of some inspiration himself for once. He struggled to burst his way through Everton’s defense and remained subdued throughout his 60 something minutes on the pitch, before he eventually made way for Jesse Lingard, who instantly added energy and a new dynamic to his side’s play.
Rashford’s display against the Toffees was so poor that even Jose Mourinho seemed upset about it and had a word with the youngster before hauling him off for Lingard after 61 minutes. Mourinho will hope that this was just a one-off though, as the Englishman will be a critical factor come the end of the season.
2. Where Is It Going Wrong For Ronald Koeman’s Men?
It is ridiculous to think that Everton were the fourth highest spenders in the Premier League in the recently concluded summer transfer window, but now find themselves at the wrong side of the table. Ronald Koeman spent as much as he could in order to procure some of the most promising talents around Europe, as well as manage to bring Wayne Rooney home, but things have suddenly gone haywire in the last four games after such a promising start. The 4-0 loss to United means that Everton have now lost four games on the bounce, conceding 12 goals and failing to find the back of the net even once in the process.
On paper, this Everton side looks good enough to be contending for a spot in the Champions League, and that was undoubtedly the intention and ambition when they went all out and splashed the cash this summer. Sure, their recent games have all been against quality opposition like Chelsea, Tottenham, and United, but you simply can’t expect to fight for a place in Europe’s elite competition if you can’t even put up a reasonable fight against one of the powerhouses from your own country, let alone the best of Italy, Spain and Germany.
The major worry will be the fact that their new stars are failing to burst into life, and if things don’t improve soon, a relegation battle will probably be the only fight they face this season.
1. The Return Of The Old, The Success Of The New
Michael Keane, Wayne Rooney and Morgan Schneiderlin all returned to Old Trafford in Everton colors with the hope of getting a result. Romelu Lukaku, who signed for United from the Toffees this summer, also started the game, and it was the latter who came out of the game with all three points.
Keane has played for Burnley at Old Trafford, while Schneiderlin didn’t have too many good memories at the club to deserve a big reception. On the other hand, Rooney, United’s all-time leading goalscorer, was warmly welcomed and cheered by the home fans, as he made his first appearance for Everton at the Theatre of Dreams after 13 long years at the famous stadium. Rooney missed two great opportunities to score on his return, while Schneiderlin gave away the fourth goal with a handball in the penalty area.
Lukaku, on the other hand, enjoyed a happy game against his former club. Having missed a sitter earlier in the game, the Everton fans were on his back, but he returned the banter almost instantly with an assist and then a superbly taken goal. The celebrations said it all.
Manchester United fan, Wayne Rooney is his role model. Passionate writer who has written for several sites in the past. He’s also an aspiring pianist and creates background music for BlameFootball’s Youtube channel.