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 FA Premiership (9); Old Trafford, Manchester; Monday 7 October 2002; 8:00pm
  Scholes (85, 92')
van Nistelrooy (pen:90')
Attendance: 67,629
Halftime: 0-0


Sent off: Weir (89')

Referee: Mike Riley

Match Summary

Despite another horrendous Old Trafford scoreline, there was nothing inevitable about this.  It was a game Everton could have, should have won.  But, given the opportunity to do so, they failed to take it; failed to carry the game to United after keeping them at bay for so long. 

And, in the last 5 minutes, a ridiculous heart-breaking capitulation saw United score three undeserved goals as they finally got to grips with a tiring, uncreative Everton side and (perhaps expectedly) blew them into oblivion.

An absorbing game, nevertheless, the quality of football from each side was at times really rather poor.  Mistakes a-plenty spoiled the flow of this one.  With most mistakes coming from Everton, you really felt that this one was there for the taking, despite numerous off-target strikes by an undoubtedly strong United team.

But Everton successfully and very skillfully (or was it luckily?) defended their goal with assurance and confidence for much of this game.  The real sign of their inherent weakness was the abject failure to use the ball when clearing and moving the ball forward from wave after wave of United attacks.  Movement at the front was sporadic at best, and Everton's wing play seemed to always end up in a cul-de-sac.

United by contrast looked strong and threatening, but were just failing to click for the final ball, where normally they would have been crucifying Everton.  But as time wore on, they seemed to get more and more dangerous while Everton telling and criminally lost their will to attack.

Beckham then chipped onto the bar on 77 mins, almost the first shot even remotely on target.  Then van Nistelrooy blasted over from 6 yards.  It was surely only a matter of time...  Meanwhile, a very late substitution finally saw Rooney replace Radzinski and, on 81 mins, he so very nearly broke through, just stretching too far for his shot after rounding two defenders.

Then, on 86 mins, a United move finally found the net, the ball bouncing off Li Tie and landing nicely for Scholes to power home from 8 yds.  Then, Weir caught for pace (or the lack thereof) and sent off for holding back Solskjaer in the area, giving away a penalty.  From the spot on 89 mins, van Nistelrooy made no mistake.  Then, Scholes once again given plenty of room, drilled a superb shot into the top corner from 20 yards out to complete the rout.

Desperate disappointment for the Blues, but they really only have themselves to blame.  They crucially failed to take the game to United when given the opportunity; once again, despite the pre-match bravado, Everton were guilty of giving the Mancs far too much respect � and paying the ultimate price.

David Weir: Punished
for his lack of pace

Man Utd v Everton:
Prior League Games
 Man Utd  40
 Everton  15
 Draws  18
 Man Utd  8
 Everton  1
 Draws  1
 Last Season:

Man Utd 4-1 Everton

Premiership Scores
Saturday 5 Oct
Middlesbro 2-0 Bolton
Newcastle 2-1 WBA
Soton 2-0 Man City
West Ham 1-2 Birm'ham
Sunday 6 Oct
Arsenal 3-1 Sunderland
Aston Villa 0-0 Leeds
Blackburn 1-2 Tottenham
Fulham 1-0 Charlton
Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea
Monday 7 Oct
Man Utd  3-0 Everton

Match Facts
 Manchester United  (4-4-2)
 Red shirts, white shirts, black socks
Everton   (4-4-2)
 Blue shirts, blue shirts, white socks
G Neville
Veron (63' Solskjaer)
Beckham (c)
Butt (85' Forlan)
Van Nistelrooy (90' P Neville)

Subs not used:  
Ricardo, Fortune

Yellow Cards: �

Red Cards: �
Weir (c) (sent off: 90')
Li Tie
Radzinski (74' Rooney)

Subs not used:
Gerrard, Naysmith, Feng, Ferguson 

Yellow Cards:
Unsworth (19'), Gravesen (49')

Red Cards:
Weir (90')


(Injured:) Pistone, Rodrigo, Watson
(Ill?:) Alexandersson, Linderoth

Match Reports

Everton Web Sites
ToffeeWeb Match Summary Match Report
When Skies Are Grey Match Report
Blue Kipper Match Report
Everton Fans' Reports
Lyndon Lloyd Bold Everton come up empty
Links to Other Media Reports
BBC Sport Match Report
FA Premier Match Report
Sky Sports Match Report
Sporting Life Match Report
SoccerNet Match Report
Electronic Telegraph Match Report
The Guardian Match Report
The Independent Match Report
Liverpool Echo Match Report
Daily Post Match Report
Premiership Table
Pos Team Pts
1 Arsenal 23
2 Liverpool 21
3 Middlesbrough 17
4 Man Utd 17
5 Tottenham 16
6 Fulham 14
7 Chelsea 13
8 Newcastle 13
9 Leeds 13
10 Blackburn 12
11 Birmingham 11
12 Everton 11
13 Southampton 10
14 Aston Villa 10
15 West Brom 9
16 Man City 8
17 Sunderland 8
18 Bolton 7
19 Charlton 7
20 West Ham 5

After 7 Oct 2002

Match Preview

After a very encouraging four games, with really only one half and the last 5 minutes against Villa to cloud the skies, the Moyes revolution is once again gathering steam.

Yobo's two performances have resulted in two clean sheets; Richard Wright's clangers are no longer dominating match reports; Li Ties performances look more and more assured; Super Kev is, dare one whisper it, looking Super again; and now the boy Rooney, the Rocket, the Great White Hope has got off the mark.  Even Dunc has managed 20 minutes and two games on the bench!

So the future looks bright then?  Err... Manchester United, Arsenal, Leeds...  Maybe not that bright then?

Actually, let's not be downbeat.  The long-term future does look bright and the results in these next two games are not going to decide our season.

After a rather rocky start, Man Utd are beginning to move through the gears.  Their start was so bad that after 6 games they ONLY had one point more than us!

But 5 wins in their last 5, including 3 straight Champions League wins, seems to have quietened the media desperate to conclude the saga of Man Utd's undoubted mastery of the Premiership...  Tough luck for us then!

But there are grains of hope for us in both our recent form and the likely team that Man Utd will put out.

In recent years, Man Utd have rested 4 or 5 players and still beaten us with embarrassing ease.  Solskjaer in particular tends to use these games to boost his goals-per-game average and Beckham has replaced Lee Sharpe as the midfielder to hone his shooting skills against us.

If they do rest players again, I genuinely believe they would be in for a rude awakening.  Keane is definitely out; Van Nistlerooy possibly � and they are two major major players for them.

If Nistlerooy plays then I do have concerns � though we would definitely see just what Yobo has to offer us!  If he doesn't, then Yobo has already placed Forlan in his pocket once in the reserve match, and could do it again.

With Keane out, Gravesen and Li Tie are likely to only have to face Scholes/Butt and Seba Veron.  No problem!  Our real concerns are out wide where Pembridge and Carsley will have to face Beckham and an absolutely flying Ryan Giggs.

Actually if you don't mind I'll leave the match-up's there � it is far too depressing!

However, United a few years ago were even more than the sum of their awesome parts � the sign of a quality manager and coaching staff.  This year, I'm not so sure... but Everton definitely are!

Workrate, commitment and belief is what we must hang on to.  Oh, and a little bit of skill.  Our team is showing ability (you must have bags of it to play Fulham off the pitch); has plenty of goals in it (at least 2 in each of our last 4 games); is showing signs of solidity at the back now that Yobo has brought pace and, dare I say, a touch of class; and has an extremely competitive midfield.

We have to get stuck in, not let them settle, and make sure that with 20 minutes to go we are still in the game.  If we are, then I can actually see us getting something out of it.  Can you believe that we will probably have a stronger bench them then!  Even Blanc and Ferdinand will not be too happy to have been bruised and run ragged by Campbell and Radzinski and then see a fresh Ferguson and Rooney about to descend on them!

We all know that everyone else will see us as lambs to the slaughter and, let's face it, they are probably right.  But if Man Utd approach the game like that we may just make them pay.  This is a great opportunity for Moyes's Blues to make a huge step forward: Yobo to stamp his ability on the Premiership; Wright to remind everyone that he was once the best rated keeper in England; Li Tie to show pride for his country.

But me, I am going to revert to type and let my heart rule my head.  This game is made for an old stager who has never let us down in match-ups against the giants.  I'm going for a 1-1 draw with Big Dunc off the bench to score a late equaliser.  Dunc's legend (hollow though it ultimately may be) is built on scoring against the Reds of Liverpool and Manchester and once again he has got himself half-fit just as one of those games comes around.

If we can hang in this could be a cracker and what a way to tell the Premiership that we are genuinely moving in the right direction.


Bold Everton come up empty

Playing Manchester United has become a miserable and sobering experience; a dreaded, unavoidable expose of how large the gap is between the well-oiled Old Trafford money machine and the rusting latches on Everton's almost redundant coffers. We've been paying for having the temerity to deny the Red Devils the FA Cup ever since 1995 — and paying for it in spades.

This time, with David Moyes in charge, it was supposed to be different — and it really was. Possibly for the first time since that Wembley triumph, an Everton side took on Manchester United with more than just fear of demolition and a desire to keep the score down. For 86 minutes, they fought valiantly and took the game to United offensively but were undone by fatigue, a lack of incision in the final third and their hosts' attacking superiority. The final 3-0 scoreline was gut-wrenchingly unjust; for when viewed alongside our other maulings at the hands of Sir Alex's men over the past seven years, there is nothing to suggest how different the Blues were on this occasion.

Moyes kept faith with the side that had seen off Fulham so convincingly, which meant an attacking duo of Kevin Campbell and Tomasz Radzinski, with Wayne Rooney and Duncan Ferguson on the bench and Lee Carsley continuing in midfield at the expense of the increasingly ineffective Niclas Alexandersson.

Everton started the game confidently in front of a massive 67,000-odd crowd — with millions more watching Sky's live coverage — setting their stall out to both harrass the United midfield but also attack at every opportunity.

And their first opportunity came in the 8th minute when Campbell was felled on the edge of the area but while the ball broke nicely for Radzinski in the box, the referee failed to play advantage and awarded a free kick which Thomas Gravesen blasted well over.

The rest of the half was fairly even, with Beckham, van Nistelrooy and Scholes going close for the home side and Campbell firing just wide on his weaker leg when he might have done better from 12 yards.

The second period began in much the same vein. Giggs headed wide and high for United, while David Unsworth wasted another direct free kick for the Blues before Radzinski's first-time snapshot was dealt with well by Barthez.

Around the hour mark though, the game began to shift ominously in United's favour, particularly when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was introduced for the ineffective Juan Sebastian Veron. The Norwegian was handed a half-chance within minutes of his arrival but he couldn't put away a Beckham cross.

Two minutes later, van Nistelrooy found himself in space on the six yard box, pulled the ball down and volleyed over the bar to waste a gilt-edged opportunity. Scholes then put a piledriver the wrong side of the post as the reds threatened.

With Everton's midfield tiring visibly, the time was right for a change and, in a refreshingly positive move, Moyes decided to throw Wayne Rooney into the fray. However, instead of going to 4-3-3 and playing one of the forwards deep, he took Radzinski off.

So, while the attacking threat posed by Rooney's fresh legs almost paid handsome dividends when he skinned two defenders but shot straight at Barthez, the midfield quartet were struggling to contain the opposition's offensive threat.

Beckham's delightful 78th-minute chip bouncing off the top of the bar to safety was merely a portent of the impending breakthrough. 7 minutes later, the ball broke to Scholes in the six yard box and he fired past the despairing dive of Richard Wright to break the deadlock. After putting in so much work to contain the former champions, Everton's players were crushed by the blow.

Two minutes later, a through-ball put Solskjaer away and against David Weir there was only going to be one winner. In his battle to keep up with the striker, Weir pulled a little too much on Solskjaer and was penalised with a penalty and a red card.

Van Nistelrooy despatched the penalty — although Wright guessed right but the kick was well placed — to put the game out of Everton's reach. Or so it seemed. A minute later at the other end, Campbell was obviously hauled down in the area but a clear penalty claim was waved away by referee Riley. In stoppage time, the Blues defence backed off as Scholes advanced before unleashing a screamer into the top corner via the crossbar and complete the scoring.

So, a game that for long periods promised at least a point for David Moyes's plucky side ended with a harsh 3-0 scoreline and nothing to show for a mostly stellar effort. Far from Smith-esque in his tactics, Moyes's intention was plainly to take the game to their hosts without leaving the back door open to their deadly strikers.

Ultimately, however, they were let down by poor distribution and a lack of ideas in the final third, and paid for their relentless pressing game in the middle with tired legs in the closing stages. The result did not show how vastly different this was from previous recent displays at Old Trafford but for those Evertonians watching, there was at least the consolation that we matched our dreaded opponents for most of the game.

Lyndon Lloyd

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