Manchester United missed the chance to win their third straight Premier League match on Sunday, as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton. In a competitive, close-fought encounter, the Toffees took the lead through a Victor Lindelöf own goal late in the first half, before supersub Mason Greenwood levelled things late in the second.
United made an energetic start to the match, and nearly opened the scoring within the first minute, when Jesse Lingard screwed a loose ball wide from inside the penalty area. Minutes later Scott McTominay sent the ball wide to Daniel James, who sped clear of Lucas Digne before cutting into the box and too missing the target.
As the half wore on, however, Everton appeared to grow in confidence, and the game became a sequence of thrusts and counter-thrusts. The Toffees were hardly on top, but they did well at nullifying United’s attacking threat.
When the Everton goal came, 10 minutes before the break, it was more the result of good fortune than good football. A corner swung into the penalty area by Leighton Baines was flapped at by David de Gea, under pressure from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and he missed the ball completely. It hit the shins of a blindsided Lindelöf, lurking at the back post, before trickling over the line for 0-1.
By halftime, United looked devoid of ideas, and Everton relatively comfortable. But whatever Ole Gunnar Solskjær said at the break had some effect, as a revitalised United came out with a little more enthusiasm. They mustered a string of half-chances in the minutes after the restart, including a low shot by Luke Shaw which Jordan Pickford parried into the path of James, though his rising rebound was inadvertently blocked by Lingard.
The game was gradually becoming more stretched, and Solskjær rolled the dice. Lingard was hooked for Greenwood, and the change quickly paid dividends. With just over 10 minutes left, the young forward exchanged a one-two with James before squeezing a low shot from the edge of the penalty area inside the near post. It was Greenwood’s eighth goal of the season in all competitions, and he’s looking ever more like a serious talent.
United had the momentum, but Everton weren’t giving up on a winner. Instead of retreating towards their own area, they too surged forward in search of a goal. The result was a frantic final 15, in which there was plenty of space but not enough quality. The final whistle sounded with the scores level, though neither side could have any complaints.