Everton 0-1 Manchester United – as it happened
Manchester United saw off an attacking but toothless Everton after a bright start.
United scored the only goal of the game when Evra’s only accurate cross was volleyed in from Hernandez, who found himself in a criminal amount of space. At that point, United had been attacking imaginitively, the quick thinking Cleverley inspiring the rest of the team to return to the short passing game that worked so well in the opening games of the season.
Almost immediately after the goal, United fell to pieces. Their passing became lazy, and Everton’s pressing won the ball back time and time again. Everton found it easy to bypass the Manchester United midfield for the rest of the game, but countless crosses were intercepted by the United defenders.
Praise should go to the Manchester United defence, who were again rearranged, but were calm enough to repel anything that Everton threw at them, which was admittedly little more than inaccurate crossing. The one real chance for Everton came in the first half, when Leighton Baines’ free kick hit the post. After that it was a straightforward, Premier League dullathon.
You can find the goal here.
97 min: The ball is cleared, and with the final kick of note, Vellios shoots for De Gea to gather. It’s full time. Thanks for all of your emails about my tendency to use double spacing, and David Moyes.
96 min: Manchester United are keeping the ball in Everton’s corner. Nani showboats and loses the ball. Everton win a free kick halfway into United’s half, and will welly the ball in.
94 min: Fellaini is booked for clipping Jones, and the circle of life is complete. He is so fucking stupid that it has now become annoying.
93 min: Wayne Rooney is down with cramp after clearing a loose pass from Valencia for a throw in. This game might interfere with my dinner plans.
91 min: There will be six minutes of added time, and now Everton have a corner. Cleared at the near post and out for a throw in. Everton scream for a penalty. Gueye is about to collect a ball at the near post, but he runs into Evra. It looks at first like Evra tripped him, but in truth it was clumsiness from the striker. The crowd, you will be shocked to hear, don’t necessarily agree.
89 min: Injury to the linesman, and Rob Swire, the United physio, takes a look. The linesman has twanged his back. Phil Dowd is warming up, as Andy Halliday receives full sympathy from the Everton crowd.
87 min: Idiotic from Fellaini, who clips the heels of Nani just to the left of the box. Nani ambles up the left, and drills a low cross cut out at the near post.
85 min: Coleman has a shot deflected as he collects Vellios’ control of a high ball and De Gea, showing nerves, boots the ball yards past Berbatov, who is livid. Berbatov had a great game on Tuesday and has had almost nothing of the ball today.
83 min: Seamus Coleman shoots from exactly the same position as Patrice Evra scored against Roma in their 7-1 victory. It’s straight at De Gea. Louis Saha is taken off for Magaye Gueye.
82 min: I’m considering getting absolutely belted.
80 min: Nemanja Vidic heads a Hibbert cross out for a corner. Every single player on the pitch has a bite at it, until Rodwell shoots over just outside the box. Lucky for United. Gerd Muller would have cleaned up there.
76 min: Colon aficionado Daniel Harris comments on my use of double spacing, ‘Even after a colon. You convention buster.’ Vellios, who looked very sharp against Chelsea, comes on for Leon Osman. He wins the ball immediately, but Coleman puts the ball out down the wing as he miscontrols.
74 min: An utterly ridiculous shot from Jagielka, forty yards out, forty yards over.
72 min: Antonio Valencia is on for Danny Welbeck, who has faded again, as he usually does. That means Valencia will go right, and Nani will switch to his unfavoured left wing. Valencia offers more protection to Phil Jones on the right, which will help as Ross Barkley has been able to supply several crosses so far this half.
71 min: Nani has a rare jaunt upfield, and his cross towards Berbatov is claimed by Howard. Everton return straight upfield and a backpass from Evra is cleared by De Gea for a throw in. So far, and this could change as Everton have plenty of strikes on the bench, Everton haven’t looked able to convert any half chances that fall their way.
68 min: Everton continue to press excellently and win the ball back as soon as United stray into their half to attack. Seamus Coleman shoots and manages to give away a throw in. Imagine that. It was rubbish.
6 min: An email would make me feel less lonely, you know. United have their longest spell of possession. Evra is caught very late by Coleman, and the attack peters out. Coleman is rightly booked, and Evra doesn’t look badly hurt. Berbanews: he’s coming on, to replace Hernandez.
62 min: Nani exchanges passes with Fletcher, and his cross is caught at the far post by Howard. A waste.
62 min: Half an hour left. United are very, very deep. A dangerous game, they can no longer rely on Ferdinand and Vidic to stop almost everything an attack gives them. A break allows Welbeck wins a corner. A ball over the top from Rooney from right to left is brought down for Welbeck. His volley is pushed over by Howard.
58 min: Everton are focusing their attacks down the wings, but Manchester United’s defence has been far sturdier than in recent matches. You’d think Fergie will stick with whatever defence can get a run of games uninterrupted for now.
55 min: I’ve just seen that De Gea saved that shot with his face. Cleverley is limping off down the tunnel, and United are down to ten men until Nani is warmed up to come on. Everton are spending almost all of this half in the United half. Nani has now come on. Park will move in and Nani will go to the right wing.
52 min: George Templeton is back. ’What would David Moyes’ cry for help be? I suppose we can’t feel sorry for him because he signed a lucrative contract extension but at some point he can’t want to continue at a club with no money to spend forever can he?’ No, that’s a fair point, but is there that much more money at Aston Villa? Would anything he does at Villa bring him any closer to a job at the top clubs? Rodwell has a steaming shot, heading to the top corner, pushed away smartly by De Gea. Everton remain on top, and a low cross is cleared by Vidic. Cleverley is down injured, only just back from a ligament injury.
49 min: Halsey blows for a foul after Fellaini nudges Fletcher to the ground. The commentator tells me I’m wrong, and it was a foul. Ho and hum.
47 min: Phil Jones is being booed after Louis Saha comes in late and fouls him. No injury or yellow card. Welbeck’s one two with Hernandez is unsuccessful as Hernandez’s return is too strong.
They’re back on the pitch. Let’s do this shit. Bilyaletdinov is replaced by future Manchester United midfielder Ross Barkley. Oh, capitalism.
You can find the goal from the first half here.
Ben Monk with our first cry for help. ‘According to the always completely accurate Wikipedia, Hibbert has made 277 appearances for Everton, so he is miles behind Neville Southall on 750, and doesn’t even make the top 20 (David Unsworth is 20th with 350). Hibbert is their all time leading appearance maker in Europe though, on 20.’ That’s piss poor from Hibbo.
45 min: Saha again. Coleman’s business is deflected in the box to Saha, who can’t do anything but shoot straight at De Gea. Everton have been the better side, in my opinion. Half time, back in a bit.
44 min: Welbeck and Rooney exchange passes down the centre, the ball is passed to Hernandez, on the edge of the box, whose low shot is straight at Howard. Everton almost got mugged, there. Everton retaliate, ambling through United, and Saha’s own low shot is saved equally comfortably. One minute of added time.
42 min: United are playing just well enough to stay level. They get away with such slack performances by virtue of their resting heart beat of ability being above most other teams’. Everton will expect to score at this rate.
39 min: Fellaini bursts through the centre, and is tripped by Fletcher. Another free kick to Everton, from about the same distance as last time, but to the right hand side of the goal. Baines takes, and hits the bar! A great effort. De Gea didn’t move, but it was only a couple of inches away from going in. The wall didn’t jump. Weird.
37 min: All Everton right now. Hibbert’s pass through to Osman is clever, but Osman is rightfully called offside. This isn’t a case of United’s defence being typically shaky, but it is a case of United struggling to retain the ball for long spells, again. That bright start seems a fluke. FERGIE OUT.
36 min: Leon Osman takes a dipping ball past Vidic with a light touch, and is brought down by the static defender. It’s twenty two yards out and central. Three Everton players, Saha, Bilyaletdinov and Baines consider the strike, and Saha’s freekick is cleared by Hernandez. The ball is crossed back in and punted out by Phil Jones, but the returning long ball to Fellaini drops to Osman, who has a low shot saved by De Gea. And then, Rodwell is given the ball from more loose midfield play, and his left foot shot skids just wide of De Gea’s left post. Everton are coming back into this.
33 min: United, who I think (until last weekend) have scored the most from set pieces in the league, win a free kick when Welbeck is tripped. They take it short, and give it away. That’s what I mean by concentration.
31: Bilyaetdinov shoots, and it’s deflected off Phil Jones for a corner. Baines takes, with his book reading left foot, and it’s cleared at the near post. For shame, corner takers. Up your game.
29 min: An Osman cross goes out for a goal kick. United are playing with a swagger again, but they’re not good enough to play so casually. They’re not concentrating enough, and they’re asking for trouble if they keep giving the ball away. With Louis Saha up front, it doesn’t take much for them to equalise. Welbeck almost intercepts a Hibbert back pass, but Howard clears up.
27 min: Everton have some possession down the right, spread the play to the left but a loose pass is intercepted by Phil Jones, who rambles with the football a good seventy yards. As good as he is, he’s still so green that it is just too much of a risk not to play him at right back right now.
25 min: Whether it’s because Everton are struggling, or United have been given a bollocking by Ferguson, it’s amazing the difference in approach United are using compared to against, say, Basel or Liverpool. Is Cleverley actually that good? Rodwell brings down Phil Jones after he loses control of the ball just inside the Everton half, and gets the first booking of the game.
21 min: As inconsistently as they are doing it, in terms of quality, Cleverley’s return has seen United try to go back to short passing in front of the opposition box, and it’s had a lot more effect that their usual attacks down the wing. Park is cleaned out down the right by Baines, but the ref gives nothing.
18 min: Goal! Everton 0-1 Manchester United. Hernandez, in far too much space in the six yard box, is picked out with an accurate cross from Patrice Evra, and he steers it into the goal under no pressure at all. Shows what I know.
16 min: Long range toe poke from Wayne Rooney skims well wide. He had been obstructed by Mark Halsey, but he doesn’t choose to boot him up the arse. ’Let’s not potentially ruin David Moyes’ career and life by having him follow the Greatest Living Manager in Football (trademark). No David Moyes would fare much better following Alex McLeish and taking Aston Villa to a surprising top 4 finish in two seasons’ time.’ George Templeton argues. Well, you might be right, you might be wrong. On the other hand, nobody really knows anything.
14 min: The game has very little urgency at all. Everton are missing Tim Cahill and, still, Mikel Arteta, and their young players are largely still making their way to first team reliability. Everton’s cross from Hibbert dies in the air for De Gea to gather.
9 min: How many appearances does Hibbert need to have played the most games for Everton? A lot of untidy midfield play is interrupted. Rooney spreads the play to the left for Evra, whose cross is cleared. His crossing has always been a shambles.
6 min: An even start to the half with not much to go on for the past few minutes. United have kept the ball marginally better than they have in the Champions League and Premier League than in recent showings, but Everton aren’t finding it particularly difficult to find room down their right.
4 min: Alistair Walker has his say: ‘Can’t imagine I’ll get too much agreement but I reckon Moyes – assissted by a more tactically astute coach – would be the perfect successor to Fergie. Not as flash as Jose or Pep, but that might just be a good thing.’ The best thing he has going for him for United is that he’s rarely cowed, but then Mourinho has the ego required as well. Imagine following Ferguson.
2 min: Welbeck is put through by Welbeck, he gallops past the Everton defenders to cross low to Park. He can’t steer the ball past Howard, who gathers his low shot at the second attempt. Wayne Rooney doesn’t seem to be playing as a striker, but behind Welbz and Hernandez.
1 min: Mark Halsey
scores a three second hat-trick starts the first half. And immediately Coleman eases through the United defence, and his shot is saved comfortably by De Gea at the near post.
For all you Everton fans watching, and I assume there are literally some of you. Here’s a lovely picture of Goodison.
First heart attack. The clock on my laptop says. 12:00. I thought I’d played a blinder, there.
Team news, from internet via synapses to you.
Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Baines, Heitinga, Jagielka, Coleman, Bilyaletdinov, Osman, Fellaini, Rodwell, Saha
Subs: Mucha, Mustafi, Barkley, Stracqualursi, McFadden, Gueye, Vellios
Manchester United: De Gea, Evra, Jones, Evans, Vidic, Park, Cleverley, Fletcher, Rooney, Hernandez, Welbeck
Subs: Lindegaard, Ferdinand, Fabio, Nani, Valencia, Owen, Berbatov
I wonder if Michael Owen sabotages Dimitar Berbatov even when they’re both not playing? Anyway, that’s a pretty exciting, possibly foolish, team selection from Ferguson., with three strikers on the pitch. For Everton, it’s their best available eleven. Rodwell has been out of form for a year now, so expect him to stick three past De Gea, join United in January, and then pick up a year long toe injury.
Sorry to repeat myself, but the French Pearl is the finest cocktail I have ever had. Gin, pastis, mint, lime juice and syrup. Its unappreciated by the general public yet deserving of unyielding praise. It’s the cocktail Dimitar Berbatov, essentially.
Last year Dimitar Berbatov scored the most Berbarotic goal in his history, a mixture of charm, fun, imagination and sheer balls. Ever since then, Alex Ferguson has found new ways to humiliate him. Michael Owen, playing him in the Carling Cup at Aldershot, Michael Owen, and of course Michael Owen. Will he start? He should. Will he start? In mapinion, will he fuck.
Everton, on the other hand, are always reported to be under or overperforming, never really punching the weight you’d expect with minimal resources and a brilliant manager. David Moyes deserves praise not only for his achievements but also for his bloody determination. Granted, where would he go that would represent a real step up? Only a club abroad, you’d imagine.
I’ll bring you the team news as I get it, but for now, my prediction: 1-1, and Everton to score first.