MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02: Fred of Manchester United shakes hands with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manager of Manchester United after being substituted during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford on October 02, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Manchester United dropped points for the second home game in a row as Everton came away from Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off with a point.
The score ended 1-1 after Anthony Martial put the hosts ahead just before half-time, but a strong second period from Everton saw them nick a point, thanks to Andros Townsend’s breakaway equaliser in the 65th minute.
The Merseysiders did think they’d grabbed a late winner when Yerry Mina converted at the back post, but VAR ruled the goal offside.
It’s result that sees Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men move up to second in the table, a position they are unlikely to retain by the end of this weekend’s Premier League fixtures.
- Anthony Martial: Prior to Saturday, the Frenchman hadn’t scored for United since February and had a relatively quiet first half until Bruno Fernandes slipped the ball into his path just before the interval. The No.9 excellently curled his strike past Jordan Pickford at a very important time in the game.
- Rafael Benitez: The former Liverpool manager has rarely enjoyed his trips to Old Trafford, not least for the hostile reception he always receives, but he has tended to finish on the losing side at the Theatre of Dreams. Saturday was a different story however, an even more impressive result considering the number of key players injured at present
- Title contenders: Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City could all put distance between themselves and United over the course of the weekend, with the Red Devils dropping points for the third time in seven league games this season.
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: After dropping Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho from the starting line-up, the pressure was always going to be on the United boss if his side failed to win. The 20-time English champions failed to really impose themselves on the game, and a draw was a fair result.
- Jesse Lingard: Although he’s impressed with his limited chances on the pitch, the England international cannot get a place in the Red Devils’ starting line-up. He didn’t even come against the Toffees, with Ronaldo, Sancho and Pogba being introduced from the bench.
- Fred: Despite having a largely good game against the Toffees, he is too capable of making inexplicable errors. He certainly didn’t cover himself in glory for Everton’s equaliser, and was twice outmuscled by Demarai Gray in the build-up to the breakaway strike from Townsend.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1) De Gea 7; Wan-Bissaka 7, Lindelof 5, Varane 6, Shaw 6; McTominay 6, Fred 6 (Pogba 70); Greenwood 4, Fernandes 7, Martial 6 (Sancho 57;6) ; Cavani 6 (Ronaldo 57;5).
Everton (4-4-1-1): Pickford 6; Godfrey 5, Mina 6, Keane 6, Digne 6; Townsend 7, Doucoure 8, Allan 7, Gordon 5 (Gordon 72), Gray 8 (Dobbin 90+2), Rondon 6.
Man of the match
Abdoulaye Doucoure was probably the standout man. He regularly snuffed United’s attacking players and grabbed an assist in Everton’s second-half goal. The former Watford man has started the season well and continued that form at Old Trafford.
It’s two weeks until the Red Devils are in action again due to the upcoming international break. When United return, it’s a tough test away to Leicester City on Saturday 16th October (3pm kick-off). After that, Solskjaer’s men host Atalanta in the Champions League.