Superb second half strikes from Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard put an end to Manchester United's four-game winless run on New Year's Day. Everton proved stubborn opponents for José Mourinho’s men, though two moments of individual quality proved the difference in a 2-0 win.
The game got off to an extremely cagey start, with hardly a goalscoring chance carved out in a quiet first half. Everton saw plenty of early possession, though gradually relinquished control to the visitors. United’s best opportunity came when a smart one-two between Martial and Luke Shaw culminated in a dangerous drilled cross, though Toffees’ keeper Jordan Pickford palmed the ball to safety.
United were otherwise impotent in front of Everton’s massed ranks. Paul Pogba’s long range effort was deflected wide by Tom Davies, before Lingard selfishly fired wide with Martial in acres of space. At the other end, the pace of Yannick Bolasie caused difficulties for Victor Lindelöf, though David de Gea was nevertheless entirely untested.
United were much more proactive early in the second half, with Juan Mata denied a spectacular swerving long range strike by the woodwork within six minutes of the restart. It took until just before the hour, but eventually the breakthrough arrived, Martial casually curling a smart shot into the top corner of Pickford’s goal from the edge of the box.
The momentum was well and truly with the visitors, though their failure to find a second goal meant Everton remained a lurking threat. Mason Holgate’s cross with 20 minutes remaining was met in the area by Oumar Niasse, though the Toffees striker headed wide of de Gea’s near post.
The final quarter threatened to be anything but comfortable for United, but Lingard had other ideas. A spectacular dipping effort from the on-form attacker sailed beyond Pickford and into the top corner, securing a valuable three points for Mourinho’s men.