Manchester Utd 2 - 0 Everton

It might be a strange thing to say after a defeat at Old Trafford, but that could have been much worse.


No rail strikes but engineering between London and Milton Keynes, so no direct trains from Euston to Piccadilly made travel a bit tricky, with some navigation on the rail network required.


First leg to Leicester for a connection to Nuneaton, which was a bit of a dog leg back on myself. Then from Nuneaton on to Manchester. It was actually pretty slick, but being a 12:30 kick-off, it left things a bit tight, so I made my way straight to the stadium.


No time to meet with my Man Utd mate beforehand as we had planned, but we rearranged to do so after the match. I've known Bill for about 30 years, when we were in Germany for a period, and now know some of his match going mates too. 


I took my seat just in time for kick-off. I was more or less behind the goal on the second to last row, in with the home supporters on the opposite side to the Stretford End. Not quite St James' Park, but high up. The Evertonians to my left in the corner. 


I'd promised Matt I would be on my best behaviour, but my cover was blown after about 5 or 10 minutes. Fortunately, those around me were a decent bunch and I had a bit of friendly banter with several of them. Good thing none of them were those types who report you to stewards and get you evicted for alleged threatening behaviour, when the "crime" is actually just not supporting their team. I even got my half-time drink bought for me. 


It was a pretty flat performance from Everton with Man Utd not really having to get out of second or third gear. From Michael's report and the comments, I think there is a general consensus on that. I thought McTominay's opener was a good example of taking the shot early. Watch and learn from that, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, when you make your eventual return. 


I didn't see the second goal as everyone around me stood up whilst I remained rooted to my seat, eyes closed, even though I couldn't see anyway. You know me by now, if I can't see, it might not happen. But it did.


I had only just commented to the person sat next to me that Tarkowski was having a good game under pressure. I thought I'd cursed him as, from my seat, I thought he had slipped in the build-up to the goal. Turned out it was Seamus. Those high-in-the-sky seats. Ironically, just prior to the second goal, the fans around me were actually starting to fret and some were telling me they were convinced that we were going to snatch a point. A bit of frustration building and lots of praise for our goalkeeper. 


I've mentioned observing teams targeting Seamus in recent games. Man Utd were continuously stretching the pitch and doing similar, this time mainly it seemed getting at our left-back. Ben Godfrey was having a torrid time down that side with Man Utd finding space with relative ease and putting us on the back foot. It came as no surprise to me that he got hooked at half-time. 


For those who think Onana goes missing for long periods, well, that argument was justified on Saturday until he was finally and deservedly replaced. Gueye was, not for the first time this season, the midfield hod-carrier and was left with too much to do.


I do like the delivery that McNeil brings, we just didn't have the firepower to get on the end of them. Which brings me to Simms. A bit passive and not involved in my opinion. Now, it could be argued he didn't get the service, but I thought he was waiting for the ball too much and not showing or making himself available. Just a view from what I watched. 


I don't want to sound too critical. Onana and Simms are young players and, providing we get through this season, we can develop them. Maybe Onana needs a rest as we just can't afford passengers during the run-in. Simms might be better coming on to impact the game. I'm not Sean Dyche, but that's what I was left thinking. 


It was obvious at the time and has since widely been reported and acknowledged: Pickford was outstanding and saved us from a right mauling. Without doubt Everton's Man of the Match. If we look beyond the score with blue-tinted glasses, the Man of the Match. 


In the context of an away fixture at Old Trafford, we did create chances but I don't recall many of them being on target. One, maybe two? I haven't watched back or checked the BBC stats at the time of writing. 


However, in reality, we posed minimal threat to Man Utd and gave them a comfortable afternoon in the sun. We didn't help ourselves with an unusual high line that left the defence exposed, especially on the flanks from diagonal balls out of the United back line. Now, I have been calling for a long time for us to play higher up the pitch, but we need the right defenders to do that. And a midfield that can press. 


I was told to meet at the Railway Club near the stadium after the game. The single Everton supporter in with the natives, as I had been all afternoon. It's a good traditional working man's club type of bar with a beer garden housing a nice replica of the original Munich Air Disaster memorial that stands at the end of what was the runway of the then Munich Airport in Trudering, which I've been to visit. As always, Bill and his gang looked after me and I wasn't permitted to buy a drink. 


Nothing we can do about Saturday now. That game won't define what's left of our season. A defeat is always hard to take and I trudged away from the stadium a bit down, but not despondent. That could have been a lot worse had it not been for Pickford. 


We've come through three back-to-back difficult fixtures that many didn't give us a chance for. It's now about Fulham and the following games. I even fancy us to nab something at Newcastle; already sold out incidentally. Over 3,200 tickets for Leicester have gone as of today with that being sold out too.


A lot to do, but points to play for. It's in our hands to go and do it. And we are with them. 

Reader Comments (4)

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Paul Birmingham
1 Posted 11/04/2023 at 22:21:28
Thanks for the report Danny, and in summary the way I heard it, and confirmed the way my lad saw the game, and he got back safe and sound, and no problems, at the game.

For me, it was as as good as a “ no show” by Everton, but overall a decent weekend, and despite the defeat, Everton didn’t, end up in the bottom three, and Jordan Pickford, kept the score line low, when it could have been 5-6, nil, and has done the GD, counter a good boost.

Simms chance, was decent, and as ever what and if? But I also have some sympathy as Ellis, has barely started a game. I’ll not go into the u21, U23s, system, that’s a major thesis, but opens up many valid questions, that TWrs, have raised for decades.

Sums up Everton, at the moment in perspective of the clubs management, and I won’t say leadership in context of the board as there’s none.

But Sean Dyche is doing his best to instil, belief, and team work, which is working.

My critique from the performance was the high line, which played right into a United hands, and they didn’t have to think, in the 1st half.

The next game is the most important, and so now to get 3 points v Fulham.


Paul Kossoff
2 Posted 11/04/2023 at 23:32:35
Always enjoy your match days comments Danny, thanks lad.
Andy McNabb
3 Posted 12/04/2023 at 08:35:43
Thanks Danny, always enjoy your thoughts. Good to hear you had a positive experience of the away support as well. We tend to tar all the Mancs with the same brush but my late father-in-law was a Man Utd fan and a gentler and kinder man you couldn't meet.

All the family was back from Melbourne for Easter and with us now being only 9 hours ahead, the early kick-off is at the relatively civilised time of 9:30 pm. I watched most of it from behind the sofa and sadly it was just a case of ‘when' rather than ‘if' they would score.
It has been well documented but I am still bemused as to how we could spend £500 million, only to witness such a gulf in class.

I like the idea of Seamus as wingback with Patterson behind him and I would go one further. Reinstate Coady at the back and play Keane up front. Madness? If, as we are told, he is one of the best finishers at the club, it just might make sense?

Interesting to hear your thoughts on Onana. I obviously watch from afar and wonder if I am missing something which match goers see but I keep expecting him to give us something more. Maybe that is unreasonable and the last thing I want to do is rubbish a young player but I have this nagging feeling that Garner could bring more to the midfield. Dyche sees them every day in training and I bow to his superior knowledge but, after all we heard about Garner at Forest last season, surely he has to get his chance as Doucouré's replacement?

Andy Crooks
4 Posted 12/04/2023 at 15:37:00
Good stuff, Danny, enjoyed that as usual. Three points this Saturday!!

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