Unbelievable! Who saw this coming? Everton tore apart Manchester United, smashing them 3-0 at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon. It took just 5 minutes for The Toffees to take the lead, James McCarthy smashing the ball past David de Gea. Half-an-hour later, it was 2-0. Leighton Baines made a great cross from a corner (yes, a corner) for John Stones (yes, John Stones) to head home making it 2-0. In the second-half and just five minutes after coming on, Kevin Mirallas made it 3-0, Ross Barkley making a great pass to the Belgian to finish the scoring. It wasn’t all Everton though, coming out of the game with just 35% possession! What did Everton do right? Did Man United do enough?
Line-Ups and Formations
Everton made just two changes from last week’s victory over Burnley at Goodison Park. Leon Osman and Romelu Lukaku replaced Kevin Mirallas and Arouna Kone in the squad. In the 4-1-4-1 formation, Everton started Tim Howard in the goal with Phil Jagielka and John Stones in the center-back spots. Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines started as full-backs with Gareth Barry in the defensive midfield spot. James McCarthy and Ross Barkley started in central midfield with Leon Osman on the left wing and Aaron Lennon on the right. Romelu Lukaku started upfront.
Manchester United made only one change from last week’s defeat at Chelsea. Falcao replaced by Daley Blind. United were also starting in then 4-1-4-1 formation, starting David de Gea in goal with Patrick McNair and Chris Smalling in the center-back spots. Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw started as full-backs with Daley Blind in the defensive midfield position. Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini started in central midfield with Ashley Young on the left wing and Juan Mata on the right wing. Wayne Rooney started upfront.
Everton’s deep defending works again
We have seen Everton defending deep many times throughout the course of the season, but this was certainly Everton’s best defensive performance this campaign. As Manchester United controlled the possession, The Toffees defended deep and anything United threw at us we sent it all back and counter-attacked them when they lacked numbers.
The visitors did create a few good chances is well but anything that came in was cleared by John Stones or Phil Jagielka. Manchester United completed just four passes all game in the Everton box. Everton also blocked more shots (9) than any other side this weekend in the top flight.
Due to Everton defending so deep, it was important that their counter-attacks where effective and they certainly where.
Two great counters win the game for Everton
Here is the build up to James McCarthy’s goal to open the scoring. Everton managed to break forward after Antonio Valencia gave the ball away in his own half. Everton broke forward with Romelu Lukaku giving the ball to Seamus Coleman before McCarthy made a fantastic ball into Coleman (who had made the run forward). He then gave the ball too James McCarthy who beat Patrick McNair in the one-on-one before beating David de Gea. Super counter.
Angel Di Maria lost the ball way to cheaply in the opposition half and within four passes Everton had finished the game. McCarthy found Mirallas on the wing who made the ball to Lukaku. Romelu Lukaku then made the pass to Ross Barkley who made the pass, which was meant to arrive to Lukaku (who was offside). He left it, which gave Mirallas the chance to kill the game.
Were United too weak?
In his post match interview, Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal said that his side ‘lacked aggression’. Was he right? Well Manchester United certainly weren’t great winning tackles, just 38% of them where successful although they did win 56% of their aerial duels.
Man United certainly missed a creative and aggressive player in midfield. I’m still confused why he did take off Marouane Fellaini if he was looking for aggression, but it was certainly a missing factor for the Manchester United side.
Man of the Match: James McCarthy
No doubt who my ‘Man of the Match’ award goes too. James McCarthy was magnificent in midfield, starting a majority of Everton’s counter-attacks. He also opened the scoring and started the counter-attack that lead to Everton’s third and final goal.
McCarthy also won three tackles (out of six attempted), made an interception and blocked an impressive three shots throughout the game. He worked hard and fully deserved his goal.
About time Everton have beaten one of the teams currently in the top four. If there is something positive to take out from this abysmal season it was today’s performance. Their run of form has been brilliant in the last six games, taking 16 points out of 18 and with the teams coming up it looks like it can improve. As for Manchester United, it is a big blow towards their chances of a Top Four position (especially if Liverpool win their game in hand). Who cares though? It’s Everton’s day.
Stats via Squawka.com
Up the Toffees.
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