United denied top spot as they are held back by Everton at Old Trafford

  1. An understrength but organised Everton side came from behind to earn a point at Old Trafford in a 1-1 draw. Antony Martial finished off a sublime United move just before half time to put the home team ahead.  Ole had started the match without Ronaldo, Sancho and Pogba to give them a breather after the exploits of Wednesday night and decided to bring in the first two before the hour mark in order to take advantage of the spaces that were appearing in an Everton team searching for the equaliser.  It was the visitors though that made the most of a counter-attack from a United corner kick, with Andy Townsend placing the ball behind De Gea in the United goal.  That was not written in the script and as Everton put more men behind the ball to preserve a precious point at Old Trafford, they frustrated United time and again.  Pogba joined the fray with 20 minutes to go and had a curving shot which missed the target and Sancho had the other best chance in a frantic end to the game.  The latter looked very lively it has to be said in the 35 minutes he had on the pitch, in a clear indication that he is finding his feet at United.  At the end, it was a disappointing result for United, as they missed the opportunity to go to the top of the Premiership ahead of the Chelsea match on Saturday and City visiting Liverpool on Sunday.  Not to mention another two points lost at home in this case, rather than one won.
  2. Townsend’s goal for Everton marked a negative record for United. Indeed, this was the ninth consecutive match at Old Trafford where United failed to keep a clean sheet, an unwanted statistic which goes back 50 years.  It’s easy to point fingers at the back four and rightly so but goals have to be avoided by defending as a team and not just the back four and the keeper.  Let’s take for example the Everton goal today, which deprived United of the three points.  It followed a United corner and our central defenders were naturally attacking that corner in the Everton box, hence they had no fault in conceding.  Sir Alex once said “Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles”.  Certainly, our defence this year has improved over last year in terms of personnel.  De Gea is like a new signing for United as he seems to be getting back to being one of the best keepers in the world.  Varane has already showed that he is world class and Maguire, Shaw and Wan Bissaka are excellent defenders.  There is only one reason why United don’t manage to keep clean sheets at Old Trafford and that is an over exuberance to attack the opponents without maintaining a balance.  This is an area where United need to work on painstakingly in training because most of the times, it’s a question of fine margins whether to concede or not.  Today, Fred could have pulled Demaray Gray down in midfield and the counter-attack by Everton would have stopped there.  He would have got a yellow card, true but avoided a goal.  It’s all about decision
  3. My favourite player on the pitch today was again Mason Greenwood. Special mention however goes to Jadon Sancho.  I really enjoyed his cameo appearance today.  It was all attacking intent, deft footwork, head was up to spot the runs of his team mates, ready to take on his marker at every opportunity and could have got us the winner also.  I like this edge of the seat stuff.  As a United supporter, it’s what I eat and drink.  Well, maybe a bit more than that.


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Article contributed by Contributor RoderickComments are appreciated on our Facebook page.