Everton fought back from two goals down to draw an extremely entertaining game with title hopeful’s Manchester United. Jelavic gave the visitors the lead before ex-Evertonian Wayne Rooney scored an equalizer from a superb Nani cross. United took the lead in the second half with a breathtaking Danny Welbeck strike before Nani gave the home side a two goal cushion. Man of the match Marouane Fellaini scored a scintillating volley following decent delivery from Tony Hibbett on the right hand side. Rooney and Welbeck linked upto restore United’s two goal lead before two late strikes, again from Jelavic, and Pienaar gave the visitors a well earned point.
Here we discuss the talking points of a quite brilliant game and, as always, we welcome comments from both sets of supporters.
An amazing game of football
Although United dropped points in the race for title, it is game’s like this that you watch football for. Everton were extremely impressive in the first half, pressing high up the pitch and putting the United backline under pressure. Fellaini was a constant threat (see next Talking Points) all first half and Everton were impressive in possession.
Nani was back to his best, tormenting Everton’s right hand side and put in a superb delivery for Rooney’s first half equalizer. He also scored a delightful goal in the second half, chipping the ball over the outrushing Tim Howard. The Portuguese also won a header against Phil Neville, which fell to Danny Welbeck – who finished superbly.
I seem to recall a superb match against Middlesborough towards the end of the 96/97 season, which finished 3-3 and sometimes you just have to enjoy the spectacle that is presented in front of you. Gary Neville scored on that occasion as well! United and Everton have had some superb matches down the years, with the 4-3 in 2004 standing out and of course, United’s fight back from 2-0 down to win 4-2 in 2007.
For the record, the last time Everton scored four goals at Old Trafford was way back in 1956, when United lost 5-2. What a game of football.
Marouane Fellaini – MOTM
David Moyes claimed the Fellaini was ‘unplayable at times’ and I have to say I agree 100%. The tall Belgian operated in between the lines, just off of Nikica Jelavic, and won around 80% of headers that fell his way. He was strong on the ball to shield from Evans and Ferdinand, whilst he also scored a superb goal to make it 3-2 and get Everton back in the game.
Former Everton striker Duncan Ferguson used to cause United trouble, even scoring the winner in a 1-0 victory back in 2005 to aid Everton’s push for a Champions League place and Fellaini was no different today with this physical strength, finishing and movement – which made him hard to pick up at times. Man of the match for me.
Wayne Rooney is now United’s 4th all time top goalscorer
Wayne Rooney’s brace today puts him ahead of George Best and Dennis Viollet in 4th place of United’s all time top goalscorers. He still has someway to catch Sir Bobby Charlton – who is on 249 goals – but will most probably catch 3rd place Jack Rowley within the next two seasons, providing he stays at Old Trafford. Seems a long time ago when he scored his first goal (a hattrick) against Turkish side Fenerbahce back in 2004. United will need Rooney’s finishing even more come next Monday.
Fine margins and Fergie’s odd (lack of a) substitution
At 4-2 with ten minutes to play, the fact that Evra hit the post should have meant very little for the game’s overall result. Yet, 1 minute and 21 seconds late, Everton had pulled a goal back and would go on to get another. Who’d have thought that Evra’s miss would be such a defining moment?
Mind you, the fact United were attacking for a fifth goal leads onto another point – did Fergie get it wrong today? At 4-2, should he not have brought on another midfielder for a striker, probably, and somewhat harshly, Welbeck. At this stage of the season, getting the points matter and maybe Fergie was a bit too naive in not trying to protect the win. That said, bringing on Jones for Scholes at 4-4 made no sense at all. Jones of course would bring power up against a strong Everton midfield but in terms of trying to get a fifth goal, it was something of a nonsensical change. Anyway, that’s some food for thought…
Disappointing results in title run in
Manchester United 1-1 Middlesborough (2007), Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United (2008), Blackburn Rovers 0-0 Manchester United (1999), Wimbledon 1-0 Manchester United (1994), Southampton 3-1 Manchester United (1996) – what do all these results have in common? They occurred in the last fews games of a title run in where United won the championship. United were obvious favourites before the game to win the match, however Everton played extremely well – even if Sir Alex Ferguson thought they were fortune due to United’s defensive lapse.
There is a still a vast amount of football to be played and United are still in control. One thing that is obvious over the years is that any Ferguson team that disappoints in the previous match will surely show a reaction in the next match. Time and time again Ferguson has picked up his side to put a good performance in the following match.
Probably one of the matches of the season. An highly entertaining game, that produced some breathtaking goals. Sir Alex Ferguson will be livid with his Manchester United team, packed full of experience, to throw away a two goal lead in the final eight minutes of the match. Fellaini was the man of the match for me, whilst Luis Nani was United’s top performer of the afternoon. David De Gea didn’t have a chance with any of the Everton goals, whilst Patrice Evra will no doubt be thinking of his effort that smashed back of the woodwork. If the Frenchman had of scored, United would have led 5-2. There are such thin margins in football.