Manchester United returned to the winning path in the Premier League, beating Everton at Old Trafford 4-0 on a Sunday afternoon. Goals came from Antonio Valencia, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial, sending Manchester United to a joint top spot with Manchester City.
Jose Mourinho opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation with Marouane Fellaini and Nemanja Matic sitting in front of the defence, while Marcus Rashford got another start at the expense of Martial. First, it was Valencia’s stunning long-range strike that gave United an early lead.
Everton managed to recuperate in later stages of the first half, with Wayne Rooney being the biggest threat for Manchester United goal. The Tofees managed to stay in the game for 83 minutes, when Mkhitaryan doubled the lead for the Reds. Lukaku and Martial (from the spot) finished Everton off with goals in the following ten minutes.
Late Goals Becoming A Trademark
Manchester United have now scored nine of their 16 Premier League goals after the 80th minute. Over half of the goals are now coming in final minutes of the games, showing resilience and sort of stubbornness in this squad. It is true the teams conceding late goals to Manchester United have been the weaker ones.
However, Man United simply keep pushing when other teams are getting tired. There are no gambles with the final result, United do not want losing points late. Scoring late goals can only be a good thing, though Mourinho’s players could have scored more goals in the early stages. Lukaku wasted a first half chance, yet the players managed to keep their heads calm.
Matic Shows Class
Another amazing performance from the defensive midfielder. He was spraying passes all around the pitch, giving great stability to the team. Matic’s technical skills were as great as they usually are. Everton players were often bouncing off him, trying to take the ball from him.
He is very calm on the ball and his lovely mid-range pass to Valencia proved to be an assist for the Ecuadorian’s screamer. Matic gained possession from Everton players 12 times, breaking their attacks with ease. He had far more touches than anybody else on the field (99). Matic not only had the best ratio of completed passes (90.4 percent), but he also ran the most of all players – 11.7 kilometers. It is so much easier for everyone around him when he is at a level this high.
Left Flank Troubles For Manchester United
Still, Manchester United were not perfect. The high score-line should not mask the problems this team has. In this particular instance, it was an imbalance on the left side. Ashley Young started at left-back and Rashford as a left winger. That meant both players on the left flank were right footed players.
It created certain problems when attacking through the left. Having Rashford cut inside is not a problem in itself. Not having a left footed left back overlapping behind him, is.
Manchester United need either Daley Blind or Luke Shaw to start at the left back. Young was good and his performance should be praised, yet he was slowing down several attacks. He needed time to get the ball onto his right foot and better teams will not let him have that time.
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