26/11/2023 9comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 0 - 3 Man Utd

Evertonians brought their anger and defiance and turned it on the Premier League in front of the television cameras but the heat of their protests wasn’t matched on the pitch as an early wonder-goal by Alejandro Garnacho quickly doused the fires of righteous indignation.

Manchester United ran out winners by a comfortable three-goal margin after Marcus Rashford netted from the penalty spot following another costly error by Ashley Young, and Anthony Martial scored his customary goal in this fixture but it was a harsh result on Everton who had their chances but ultimately lacked quality where it counted.

In terms of the final outcome, this was evocative of the Blues’ early-season matches at Goodison Park, where Sean Dyche’s men were left to rue missing some gilt-edged chances and the 3-0 defeat extends what is a dreadful home record to five defeats in seven.

However, given the anticipation and passion generated by the supporters in the wake of the independent commission’s decision to dock Everton 10 points and plunge them back into the relegation zone, it was more reminiscent of the games against Fulham and Newcastle last season. On both occasions, the supporters were all charged up with nowhere to go as things went south on the field.

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With Amadou Onana battling a calf problem, Idrissa Gueye returned to the starting XI as the only change from the team that had started the dramatic win over Crystal Palace before the international break. Beto was missing having sustained a training ground injury but Seamus Coleman was back in the squad for the first time since May.

An atmosphere march boasting unprecedented numbers of Blues fans wound its way from The Brick pub before kick-off, large banners were unfurled in the stands, and tens of thousands of pink cards bearing the league’s lion insignia and the word “Corrupt” were raised around Goodison as the players came out.

But the ferocity of fans' support barely had time to register before United went ahead. The Red Devils had come into the weekend as the form side in the top flight despite the air of crisis that has enveloped their club at times this season and they very quickly settled into a pattern of calm possession play.

When the ball was worked wide to Rashford in plenty of space on the visitors’ right flank, he flighted a deep cross to the back of the penalty area where Garnacho had been left unmarked to execute a quite sublime overhead kick that flew into the top corner of Jordan Pickford’s net.

Coming in just the third minute, it was the worst possible start for Everton and they couldn’t find their way back to parity before half-time despite carving out some very good openings.

In the 10th minute, Dominic Calvert-Lewin was released down the right channel where he cut into United’s box but elected to go for goal himself and barely tested goalkeeper Andre Onana with a weak left-foot shot.

Rashford had a shot deflected behind by Vitalii Mykolenko and Luke Shaw hammered a rising shot over the crossbar from the resulting corner before Young found his way into the referee’s notebook when he needlessly hacked Garnacho down.

Back at the Park End, Mykolenko’s curling effort missed the target and Calvert-Lewin despatched a header off a corner into the keeper’s arms from close range but the Toffees’ No 9 forced a terrific save from Onana just past the half-hour mark.

Latching onto a flighted ball from James Tarkowiski, the striker prodded a shot aiming to the inside of the post but the keeper kept it out with a low, one-handed stop and the rebound from Dwight McNeil was cleared off the line.

A couple of minutes later, McNeil out-muscled Rashford and centred for Abdoulaye Doucouré but as he tried to place a shot wide of Onana, he side-footed wide of goal from a central position to spurn another great opportunity.

Still the hosts pressed for an equaliser and a teasing delivery from Young picked out Calvert-Lewin but his header flashed narrowly over before the striker’s excellent work ended with Doucouré nudging the ball on for Gueye who was well-placed near the back post but sliced horribly wide.

The second half was just a few minutes old when Everton fell two behind, with arguably the most experienced player on the park at fault. Drawn away from his right-back position where he left Garnacho completely unmarked, Young stepped into Martial’s path as he tried to collect Bruno Fernandes’s defence-splitting ball and tripped the French striker, sending him sprawling to the turf.

Referee John Brooks initially booked Martial for diving but, on the advice of VAR Chris Kavanagh, reversed his decision after reviewing the incident on the pitch-side monitor and awarded a penalty to Man Utd which Rashford scored with aplomb.

Barely a minute later, Everton could have been back in the game but Gueye, atoning for his woeful shot before the break, saw his superb chest-down and dipping 25-yard effort palmed over by Onana.

Mykolenko bounced a wayward shot wide and Doucouré’s goal-bound effort was charged down by Diogo Dalot for a corner before Garnacho smashed into the side-netting as the visitors had a rare chance at the other end.

But just three minutes after Dyche had replaced McNeil and Young with Arnaut Danjuma and Nathan Patterson, United sewed the game up by opening the Blues’ defence up with a simple passing move.

Fecundo Pellistri was played down their right wing by Martial, the Uruguayan found Fernandes inside and he picked out the run of Martial between two blue shirts where the striker had the simple task of clipping the ball past Pickford to make it 3-0.

Danjuma almost played a part in consolation as he used his pace to beat Aaron Wan-Bissaka and find Mykolenko with a pass inside but the Ukrainian’s shot crashed off the face of the bar and back into play.

Youssef Chermiti then stepped off the bench and saw a rasping effort from distance fly inches past the post while Jack Harrison almost plundered a goal off his knee in the final minute of stoppage time but Viktor Lindelof hacked it off the goal line.

Given how much optimism there had been among many Blues that United would walk into a bear pit and fold — not to mention Luton’s win over Crystal Palace yesterday — this was an incredibly deflating result. It leaves the Toffees mired in 19th place, five points from Luton and safety and eight points behind Bournemouth in 16th.

Erik Ten Hag’s side have been eking out narrow wins in recent weeks but they are fallible and, having failed to even score, Everton’s record at home is becoming a big concern. Since beating Brentford at Goodison in March, the only team Dyche has beaten on home soil is Bournemouth and the fixture list doesn’t get any kinder with Newcastle, Chelsea and Manchester City the next three teams to visit L4 in the Premier League before the end of the year.

The manager will, no doubt, take heart from the chances his outfit created, the fact that they had 24 shots and that, for spells in this game, they largely handled United even if they couldn’t match their clinical finishing in front of goal. That will likely continue to be an issue but perhaps the fact that the next game is away will relieve a bit of pressure; because the Blues seem more comfortable on the road at the moment.


Reader Comments (9)

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Jerome Shields
1 Posted 28/11/2023 at 08:15:27
I was looking at the player ratings for this match and most of the players were below par, common enough after an International break. The effort may have appeared to be there but in the Premier League not having put the effort into preparation will count against a team.

Dyche had improved the application to preparation on international breaks but it seems that most of the players did not apply themselves after the announcement of the points deduction. Of course we got Calvert-Lewin wheeled out in response to fans' demands for action but the character of the Everton squad has been suspect.

Dyche did not help by selecting Young who played his usual game and, due to Beto's injury, he was forced to have Calvert Lewin lead the line, something that Man Utd have always easily managed.

Fortunately the Premier League now find themselves under more outside pressure to add to Everton's appeal. Everton's appeal was always suspect given how poorly they defended themselves at the original hearings, hopefully this added right boost will be enough. Looks as if they need it.

Jerome Shields
2 Posted 28/11/2023 at 09:22:19
The other side of the arguement: Has Calvert-Lewin ever scored a goal against Manchester United?

Yes, Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin has indeed scored against Manchester United. He scored his first goal against Manchester United on 15 December 2019, during a Premier League match that ended in a 1-1 draw.

Karl Masters
3 Posted 28/11/2023 at 09:34:46
He also scored against them after 2 minutes at Goodison in the last game before the first Covid lockdown in March 2020.

He also scored the late equaliser against them in a 3-3 draw at Old Trafford in February 2021, plus had a perfectly good goal disallowed there in last season's FA Cup defeat.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a quality player who had an off day on Sunday. We move on. Still 75 points to play for.

Peter Mills
4 Posted 28/11/2023 at 14:28:48
There was a cameo at the game which neatly encapsulated the EPL/Sky disdain for us.

My seat is in the Main Stand on the Park End goal line, close to the glass box where the pundits sit. The people who sit around me are decent, we’ve got to know quite a few over the years.

When the pink “Corrupt” cards were being held aloft before the start, Roy Keane and Karen Carney stood at the window to take in the spectacle. A few cards were turned towards them and, I must admit, a few fingers raised as well.

Carney, wisely, retreated to her seat. Keane, however, stayed at the window, pointing to his chest, “Me?”, then arms outspread in innocent indignation, then pointing towards the pitch, presumably suggesting that was where the problem of the 10 point deduction needs to be solved.

I suggest that the cards and fingers were being raised to him because he has his nose in the EPL/Sky trough, and he is representative of one of the 6 clubs who tried to destroy the league.

I believe Keane has gone all Norman Stanley Fletcher to our Lenny Godber, suggesting that we quietly do our porridge and set about winning an extra 10 points. His arrogance and lack of awareness are contemptible.

A realistic points return for this season, one that most of us would have settled for, is 40. Our current return of 14 (pre-deduction) from 13 games is roughly in line with that. Instead, we will have to effectively reach 50. The 10 point deduction will probably be the equivalent of us only receiving 2.25 points for a win, 0.75 points for a draw over the course of the season. It is savage, and grossly unfair, and we don’t need the likes of Keane trying to make light of it.

Danny O’Neill
5 Posted 28/11/2023 at 14:46:31
The man who once complained about his own supporters and labelled a few as the prawn sandwich brigade, Peter.
Brent Stephens
6 Posted 28/11/2023 at 16:40:52
A fair, balanced report, as per.

As Lyndon says, the chances are being created. That gives me some hope. The low note is that the hurdle gets that bit higher, as Peter #4 spells out.

We just to have to have those penalty points reduced; the focus of the appeal, and who represents the club at appeal, assume enormous significance.

Another unbearable wait. And in the meantime the focus on the games of those around us at the bottom of the league.

Peter Hodgson
7 Posted 28/11/2023 at 17:14:31
What nobody seems to have thought to mention on any thread I have read so far is that, whilst we have X number of games left in the season to try and pick up the necessary number of points to avoid relegation is fine but it also assumes that the other teams currently around and above us are not going to win games at the same time.

Therein lies our problem. Nothing is straightforward and we are not going to know our fate until much nearer the end of the season even if our efforts go well. This this Everton though.

Derek Knox
8 Posted 28/11/2023 at 19:20:20
Peter @ 7, that is true of course, but hope and optimism are two feelings that Evertonians are all too used to. In fact is about all we have at the moment to cling on to.

One thing that is mystifying to me, and I suspect, many others too, is our seeming inability to score goals at home. I have watched every game either in person or by virtue of TV, and we have never been outplayed at Goodison. Yet the opposition have one or two attempts at goal and score.

Not finger-pointing at Pickford either, but why is that?

David West
9 Posted 28/11/2023 at 19:35:42
What Derek and Peter have said rings true. I don't think we can keep missing opportunities like we have this season.

The first few games of the season we played well without taking our chances and dropped points. Taking 1 or 2 of the chances first half against Man Utd and it would've been a whole different game.

I can't knock the attitude, desire or commitment of the players or even the manager. Dyche can't put the ball in the net himself!! Doucouré & Calvert-Lewin were guilty of missing golden chances against Man Utd.

I still believe we will get out of this, I mean even Gana has got a goal this season!

I don't know if we have money for reinforcements in January, Beto has contributed zero to our league position yet, Chermiti looks lively but we need an option, a game changer.

If other teams around us have the opportunity to bring in players, knowing our position, will the second half of the season be tougher to pull ourselves out?? The sqaud is so thin, lose 2- 3 and we are not the same threat or as solid at the back.

Our season won't hinge on results against teams like Man Utd but I thought they were there for the taking on Sunday; with a bit more clinical finishing we would've taken the points.

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