Manchester United kicked 2018 off positively, as they held Everton to a 2-0 defeat on Monday night. Utterly beautiful second-half goals from Martial and Lingard sealed the three points, while Paul Pogba appeared back in form for the first time since his suspension against Arsenal.
Tough night for the Merseyside team, as despite a strong performance in the first half, they were rarely able to hold a candle to United in the final third of the game, resulting in the dropping of points.
Here’s how the boys fared on the first day of the year.
David De Gea- 6.9
The Spaniard didn’t have to do anything remarkable on the night, and was barely tested by the home side. He’ll be more than happy to hold on to his cleansheet, despite Everton appearing to be slightly offensive towards the end of the game, but that was a mere flicker.
Victor Lindelof- 6.6
Seemed utterly out of place as s full-back, and couldn’t even manage to be half as good as the suspended Young is usually at the spot. Regardless, no defensive blunders were made, and he seemed more certain in the second half.
Phil Jones- 6.8
A return to normal play after two lackluster games at the back. The Englishman was rarely tested during the encounter, which allowed him to function higher up than usual, and his passing was remarkable.
Marcos Rojo- 8.1
Arguably United’s best defender for the day, and a massive improvement from his other performances during the festive period. Steady at the back, he even risked a few attacking ploys during the night, but to not much success.
Luke Shaw- 7.6
It seems more and more likely that Shaw will stay at United, and his antics on the day were yet another takeaway in a positive run of games. Swift in approach and attacking in style, the youngster was a crucial cog in much of his side’s rejuvenation in the second half.
Nemanja Matic- 7.0
Despite seeming to be a bit overwhelmed by fatigue, getting partnered with Herrera gave him much more control over the central midfield position. Keeping the game stable and countering much of Everton’s runs in the first half, the former Chelsea man had a good night.
Ander Herrera- 7.2
Given a rare start, the Spaniard didn’t disappoint. His very presence had a visible catalyzing effect on the complete release of Paul Pogba, which was very apparent in the second half. Besides that, with three shots on goal, he showed an attacking flair that has been missing since last season.
Juan Mata- 7.5
A more confident approach was employed by the Spaniard, and his crosses were a vocal part of United’s game in the first half. In the second half, his presence was vital in ensuring Pogba got his antics straight, and the experience that he is often touted for was on full display. Mourinho would be sensible if he deployed the former Chelsea man more consistently.
Paul Pogba- 9.1
Man of the match without a doubt. A very changed Frenchman got on the pitch in the second half, and the swagger of confidence was there for Goodison Park to drool over. His contribution in Martial’s opener was brilliant, and the well-picked pass was much harder to execute than he made it seem. But his role in Lingard’s goal, though not fully apparent, was of tremendous importance too. The run into the heart of the defense allowed Lingard to fully exploit the resulting gap and bury the ball. On two occasions, in particular, it seemed that Pogba too would get on the score sheet, but he was unlucky there.
Jesse Lingard- 8.5
Seven goals in his last nine Premier League appearances. The academy graduate has been splendid in his play so far this season, and despite the constant talk of the club requiring a transfer in his preferred spot, perhaps a little more faith must be shown in the little Englishman, and he’ll certainly deliver. His goal was a masterpiece, and two of his attempts prior were runs that were made all by himself, which is a quality to be savored in a United side.
Anthony Martial- 8.0
In the absence of Lukaku, it was the French youngster that finally got the spot that many believe to be his natural position. His goal was an utter beauty and required much skill to be executed in that fashion. Perhaps he should be deployed centrally more often. With 7 goals to his name now, he’ll be looking to go into the second half of the season with a renewed vigor.
Marcus Rashford- 6.3
He too, got a chance at Lukaku’s coveted position, but looked less convincing than Martial. Between the two, the Englishman seemed more comfortable in the wide spot, and this is something that Mourinho can certainly do some thinking about.
James McCarthy- 6.2
Written by Naveen Kelvin
A writer trying to craft the poetry within football. Purpose in life is to Make Good Art.