Everton return to winning ways with convincing win over United

, 20 April, 0comments  |  Jump to most recent
Everton 2 - 0 Manchester United
Everton completed the double over Manchester United and moved back within a point of Arsenal with a convincing 2-0 win over David Moyes's side.

Reverting back to the team that had demolished Arsenal at Goodison a fortnight ago — Ross Barkley started this time instead of Leon Osman — Roberto Martinez had clearly instructed his side to follow a similar model to that game, allowing the visitors plenty of the ball and then hitting them on the counter-attack.

And after Steven Naismith had blazed Romelu Lukaku's knockdown over the bar, the Belgian forced a 28th-minute penalty when his shot struck Phil Jones' raised arm and Leighton Baines calmly slotted past David de Gea.

United were kept at arm's length by tenacious containment by Everton and they were again caught cold when Naismith worked the ball wide to Seamus Coleman and he split the opposition defence with a perfect pass for Mirallas. The Blues' other Belgian forward had plenty to do from a tight angle but he lashed the ball inside the far post to make it 2-0 two minutes before the half time.

Tim Howard's goal had hardly been threatened up to that point but he was thankful on the stroke of half time when a corner came off the head of Gareth Barry but ended up safely in his arms.

Martinez was forced into an unplanned change at the interval when Sylvain Distin reported a slight hamstring problem and he was replaced by Antolin Alcaraz but Everton barely missed a beat at the back.

The Paraguayan got back well to snuff out a chance for Wayne Rooney in the first minute of the second half and settled into a solid partnership with John Stones.

With less urgency required, the Blues were less intense after the break and they dared the visitors to push forward to try and break them down thereby leaving space for Mirallas, Naismith and Lukaku to exploit.

The Belgian duo combined well just past the hour mark but Lukaku was denied by De Gea and Mirallas turned provider again with 13 minutes left but Naismith couldn't steer a side-foot on target with the goal at his mercy.

The Scot came closer a few minutes later at the end of another dangerous Everton counter-attack but the keeper tipped his shot around the post.

United were a largely spent force by this point but they did manage to finally carve the home defence open three minutes from time, only for Rooney to be foiled by Howard who pushed his shot over the bar.

The result puts Everton on 20 wins in a season for the first time in the Premier League and narrows the gap between them and Arsenal to a point again with three games to go.

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