Manchester United have failed in their quest for the third consecutive Premier League victory, after a 1-1 draw against Everton. The Toffees arrived at Old Trafford eager to prove that a 3-1 win over Chelsea was not a fluke and that under Duncan Ferguson they can win points both at home and on the road.
That is exactly what his team did. Although Everton were far from flamboyant or playing free-flowing football, they still managed to get the job done against a better side.
Yesterday, we spoke about the four things we learned from the match right away, but today we are approaching the numbers to see what are they suggesting.
The Expected Goals Story
What we usually do is consult the expected goals numbers, to see how much they make sense after watching the game. According to the numbers, United were the better side, with the ratio of 1.48 to 0.28 in their favour. This is something that makes sense, considering the chances both sides had.
Everton scored from an own goal, which counts as 0.00 xG, considering it was not the team that got the goal that were making the shot. All the other shots Everton had were from tough positions and in the end, there were not so many of them.
Man United, obviously, had to shoot more often, especially as the game was getting closer to its end. However, their best chance came right at the start, when Jesse Lingard missed from close range. That was the only really good chance the Devils had, as most of the shots came from distance, against a deep block.
Wan-Bissaka Does It All
Whilst Man United’s attacking performance was overall poor, Aaron Wan-Bissaka helped going forwards and that is important. As we noted ever since he arrived from Crystal Palace, we already knew his defensive output is going to be superb, but the question marks were there over his performances in attack.
But against Everton he showed his attacking side too. Wan-Bissaka made three successful dribbles around the centre of the pitch and he made four crosses from an area close to the box. He was present, helping offensively, whilst also succeeding in all six of his attempted tackles.
It is great to see Wan-Bissaka put in such a performance at both ends of the pitch, as that will help him grow in confidence and experience, for when the better sides arrive.
Everton Go Direct
This is something that was apparent from the setup Ferguson opted for in the match against Chelsea, but he did that again. Despite sending Mason Holgate on the pitch with another two centre-backs, he did not play with the three at the back, but he rather sent Holgate into central midfield, both surprising everyone and also keeping the rigid 4-4-2 shape.
It was old school, it was pragmatic, but it worked. Despite making two times less passes, Everton completed 50% more long balls than United did and Dominic Calvert-Lewin had a lot of aerial duels against Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelöf.