Manchester United notched up their second clean sheet away from home in the Premier League with a 1-0 victory over Everton. Javier Hernandez scored the only goal of the game, as he did in the victory over Everton last April, following a superb cross from Evra on the left hand side. Sir Alex Ferguson made a number of changes following the 6-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester City last weekend.
Here we discuss the talking points of Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Everton.
Rio Omission – Is he still first choice?
Rio Ferdinand is one of the finest centre halves of his generation and has been a superb signing for Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United since his move from Leeds United in the summer of 2002. However, the manager opted to go with Johny Evans and Nemanja Vidic at the back, following the horror display against Manchester City. Ferdinand has played in six of the ten Premier League fixures this season and United have kept two clean sheets (away at Bolton and at home to Norwich) in those games.
Ferdinand has been strongly linked with a move away from Old Trafford over the past twelve months following a number of injuries since the 2008/09 season where he injured his back in the warm up against Stoke City. The purchase of Chris Smalling and then Phil Jones by Sir Alex Ferguson were a clear signal of the need for defensive cover. Yes, both players are class acts and will no doubt play a major part in United’s backline for years to come, however their progression to the first team happened quicker than expected – which, could well be down to the injuries Rio has picked up over the last few seasons. United once went into a fixture away at Fulham (09/10) with Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and Richie De Laet in a back three – something Sir Alex Ferguson will no doubt no want to see again.
So, is Rio your first choice centre half alongside Nemanja Vidic or was Ferguson punishing him for a poor performance in the derby?
Danny Welbeck’s versatility
Danny Welbeck was one of the few players who could hold his head up following the defeat to City. His loan to Sunderland was a superb move for both club and player who are both now reaping the benefits. Welbeck has filled out and was looking so dangerous in the early season games before he picked up a hamstring injury against Arsenal in the 8-2 victory. Against Everton on Saturday, Welbeck was deployed on the left hand side, with Wayne Rooney dropping off goal scorer Javier Hernandez. Welbeck linked up really well with Cleverley and Evra for the goal in the 18th minute and the Guardian Chalkboard diagram below highlights how neat and tidy Welbeck was on the ball from a left hand berth:
One of the key points though is that Welbeck’s approach is to cut inside from left, on his right foot, rather than get to the byline and supply crosses, his low cross to Park (who should have scored) aside. This movement allows Evra space to run into, which was one of the key features in the goal – with the Frenchman providing a superb assist for Hernandez to hit home.
Should Welbeck be deployed as a striker ahead of Rooney or are you happy for him to operate from the left cutting inside?
Everton’s shot count vs. United’s
MOTD went a little mad the other night discussing the amount of shots United have had at their goal in the season so far – that number increased by 19 on Saturday. Baines hit the bar with a superbly struck freekick, which had David De Gea rooted to the floor and Coleman had a very early chance in the game that was scooped up by the Spanish keeper. The Guardian chalkboard below highlights the shot count for both sides:
Despite the high amount of shots at the United goal, Sir Alex Ferguson was over the moon at winning the game 1-0:
“The most pleasing aspect for me was winning 1-0. We defended well in the second half and David De Gea didn’t really have much to do. Everton put in a lot of crosses, but we managed to create the game’s best chances. Maybe we rode our luck a little bit when Everton hit the crossbar; we were fortune because it was a fantastic freekick.”
David Moyes also praised United’s ‘resilience and spoke of Everton’s lack of quality in the final third:
“United were resilient, we couldn’t break them down. I don’t think we would have been flattered by a draw. United created very few chances, but we just lacked that bit of quality in the final third of the pitch.”
Both Moyes and Ferguson have commented on the fact that United were comfortable with Everton’s onslaught, however are you concerned by the amount of chances opposing sides are getting against United? Are the defence and De Gea getting enough protection?
United went back to basics and Ferguson dropped Rio Ferdinand, Anderson and Nani following the 6-1 defeat in the Manchester derby, whilst welcoming back Tom Cleverley, who hadn’t played in the Premier League since picking up an ankle injury in the 5-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers. Hernandez notched up his fourth goal of the season and his second goal of his career against Everton. Everton came close to equalising following a superb struck free kick from Leighton Baines, who switched off to let the Mexican score. There was no repeat of the epic 3-3 draw from last season at Goodison, however as Ferguson mentioned – winning 1-0 was extremely pleasing, considering United’s past results at Goodison and the hammering from last weekend.
Manchester United host Otelul Galati in the Champions League on Wednesday and then host Sunderland on Saturday 5th November.