Reflections on Manchester United 1-1 Everton

From The United Stands

The Theatre of Draws yet again didn’t disappoint. Although this time the Old Trafford ‘faithful’ were treated to a couple of goals as United snatched a point at the death against a very hard working Everton side as the match finished 1-1. Jagielka forced a shot through De Gea’s legs on 22 minutes to give them the lead. A lead they held onto right up until a Zlatan Ibrahimovic salvaged a draw after Ashley Williams was judged to have handballed Luke Shaw’s shot, resulting in a red card for the Welshman.

The game was what I expected it to be. I knew Everton wouldn’t come to just sit behind the ball and hope for the best. They impressed me in the first half with their speed in transition and counter attacking threat. As much as United were poor and lacking ideas, the Toffees had a game plan which was well executed. Romelu Lukaku held the ball up well and was able to bring the supporting midfielders into play easily who would in turn find one of the wide men. Simple, but effective.

United on the other hand didn’t seem to have a game plan. Things just didn’t tick for the Reds and it was down to the fact the majority of players seemed disinterested and lazy. The difference in movement between the two teams was frightening at time. United seemed disinterested in working hard off the ball, even at 1-0 down the effort was non-existent. There was no pride in that performance. Herrera, Lingard and Bailly were the exception to that as they played with a sense of urgency, looking to make things happen and in Bailly’s case, put is body on the line numerous times.

Mourinho made three changes in the second half; Shaw (Young) Pogba (Blind) and Mkhitaryan (Carrick) all came on and offered something United lacked in the second half – movement. Shaw looked threatening down the left-hand side, driving at defenders and looking to deliver into Zlatan and Fellaini at every possible opportunity. Pogba would roam the midfield, acting as the main distributor but he did so at a pace Carrick couldn’t offer, It added a lot more speed into United’s passing. Mkhi picked up the ball in good areas and tried passing through the lines, not coming off as much as he would have liked but he was still attempting something other than a sideways pass.

I feel United were not good enough, but still slightly unfortunate not to get the three points. Joel Robles followed every other keeper to come to Old Trafford this season and had a great game as well as being saved by the woodwork twice. Many will think United were lucky to get a draw, and in a 94th-minute penalty would support that theory. But on reflection of the game, Everton will be the happier of the two teams with the result.

There is a trip to the Stadium of Light to face relegation-bound Sunderland this coming Sunday. If United fail to win that game, all hope of a top four finish would be over.