Scott McTominay and Anthony Martial were on the scoresheet as Manchester United beat Everton 2-0 in Saturday’s Premier League clash at Old Trafford. It was a comfortable win for United, who were particularly dominant in the first half, and might have scored several more.
Erik ten Hag made three changes to the side that squeezed past Brentford in midweek, all coming in the back four. Tyrell Malacia, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire were preferred to Luke Shaw, Diogo Dalot and Raphaël Varane, perhaps in anticipation of Thursday’s Europa League tie with Sevilla. In good news, Christian Eriksen was fit enough to make the bench after two months on the sidelines.
The first half brought nothing less than an avalanche of goalscoring opportunities for United, against an Everton side exposed by their high defensive line. Marcel Sabitzer saw a smart shot deflected wide on the turn inside four minutes, while Marcus Rashford fluffed an early one-on-one after squirming in behind the Toffees’ defence. Antony soon hit the post from the edge of the box, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka should’ve tucked the rebound into an empty net, but contrived to scuff wide of the far post.
United were given a warning against complacency midway through the first half, when a simple Everton one-two left Ellis Simms in acres of space, though the young striker fluffed wide of the far post from close-range. But United remained comfortably on top, and Pickford made a trio of important saves to deny Sabitzer, Antony and Rashford — albeit with the assistance of some awful United finishing.
United finally took the lead little over five minutes before halftime. Some intricate passing allowed McTominay to surge towards the near post, where he was picked out by a slide-rule Jadon Sancho pass through a sea of royal blue bodies. McTominay made no mistake, rifling a powerful shot past Pickford to finally break the deadlock.
The hosts remained in the ascendancy after the restart, albeit without creating quite as many chances. Ten Hag made his first change on the hour, removing Antony to make way for Anthony Martial, who made his third substitute appearance in as many matches.
Everton gradually began to crank up the pressure, but left space for United to exploit on the counter. A smart Sabitzer cross found Fernandes free in the Toffees box, though Pickford tipped his powerful header over the top.
United finally sealed the win with the help of a Séamus Coleman mistake 20 minutes from time. The veteran right-back bungled a speculative Lisandro Martínez ball, allowing Rashford to square for Martial’s first league goal since December. Rashford was soon replaced by Wout Weghorst, and immediately limped down the tunnel with what looked like a groin injury — let’s hope it’s nothing that will keep him out for long.