Man Utd vs Everton Match Report (Twelve point lead for Utd after tackling the Toffees)By: Ian | February 11th, 2013
What more can we say about Ryan? If there’s too much change in the world for you, take a calming look at Man Utd. It isn’t a Premier League season without Sir Alex at Utd’s helm and Giggs running around on deck somewhere. When young Giggs signed his professional papers, I wasn’t even around. Same goes for when he was credited for his first goal. And here I am, nearly 22 years later, watching the same guy scoring more. Simply incredible. Anyway, I think there was something about a match I was going to write….oh yes, here we are:
With City slipping up catastrophically on Southampton’s perfectly laid out banana skin, Utd had an opportunity to go TWELVE points clear with victory over Everton. Sir Alex sent out a slightly stronger squad than may have been expected (what with the little matter of R.Madrid in the week), but acknowledged that the City defeat prompted him to make less changes and capitalise on the situation. Nevertheless, the ever-present Carrick was rested, as was Ferdinand, but a line up of De Gea, Rafael, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Jones, Cleverley, Giggs, Rooney and Van Persie looked more than enough to get the job done. The last two games against Everton, THE 4-4 draw and the loss in the first game of this season, haven’t exactly showed Utd in best light, so now was a chance to change that.
Utd started well and looked every bit the home side. The play looked confident and assured. And when Van Persie gave the defence the slip after a Rooney through-ball, it looked like one-nil. RVP got the ball to feet, rounded the keeper, and…hit the post with his right. Admittedly, not his stronger foot, but with his form the Utd fans were expecting a goal and immediately started discussing whether the Dutchman has bought Gareth Bale’s new ‘How to Train your Weaker Foot DVD’. A relief for Everton there.
Even though he looked a bit off his game, the Robin was involved in the next move and it turned out to be clinical. De Gea hoofed it forward for Rafael, who did well to lay it off. The ball came out to Valencia, who didn’t have a great afternoon but on this occasion did provide a solid header infield. Sir Robin of Van Persie let it fall beyond his defender then poked it across for Giggs. A controlling touch with the left and a sweet finish with right that clipped the post and ran across the goal and in. An excellent move and that makes Giggs the only man to score in every Premier League season, all 21 of them (and the two league seasons before that was around!). 1-0 to the Reds on 13 mins and deservedly so.
This setback seemed to give Everton some zip and they improved thereafter. They started looked more dominant in possession, keeping the ball away from Utd, but not really threatening. Osman struck in a dipping volley on the half hour but De Gea palmed it away for a corner. This set piece saw Vidic deny Mirallas any glory and RVP blocked Gibson’s subsequent attempt. Jones was marking danger-man Fellaini, and was doing a decent job of it, and the big-haired Belgian was for the most part kept quiet.
Just into first half injury time, the ball was with Rafael in the middle of the park with Everton playing a high defensive line. The Brazilian saw the opportunity and threaded it through for Van Persie. Clearly onside, despite the odd raised arm, he ran through, went around the keeper to the right again and struck the ball back across. Heitinga slid across but he helped it in and Utd’s lead was doubled. It wasn’t your typical Van Persie goal but he looked happy enough to score it and Utd’s 2-0 lead at the break made for good reading.
This lead said something about Everton’s lack of cutting edge in spells of greater possession in this game, but they kept at it strongly. It wasn’t the easy game Utd will have wanted before a Champions League game, and the worst happened when an injury was picked up by Phil Jones. Off he went, and Carrick came on for the last half hour.
In the 66th minute, we had a great goal-line scramble with Evans trying three times to get the ball over the line to ultimately no avail thanks to the efforts of Howard and Baines. Utd had tried the untidy, so next up was the spectacular; Cleverley’s sweetly hit volley looked like it might crash in off the bar but Howard flew across and forced it over. Substitute Jelavic, out of form at the moment but still dangerous, made De Gea put down his paper as he hit in a low effort shortly after.
The second half was much more a defensive display from Utd and earlier in the season, not many would have wanted a game to go that way. But the much sturdier defence held out for the 2-0 win, meaning a twelve point lead with twelve games remaining. Not a certainty, but in terms of the title it’s looking very good indeed with City so indifferent. Our run of fixtures coming up is arguably much easier than theirs too.
But next up is the big one. Real Madrid. Mourinho and Ronaldo. Jones and Evans picked up slight injuries; the current news is wait and see on them with Evans the less serious of the pair (only cramp apparently). I will be on a train while the match is on, but I’ll be listening in. What result would you take for the away leg? A win would be deliriously good, a draw would be alright too. With Madrid so far behind Barca, their best change of silverware lies with the cups. Will this affect their priorities and team selection? They do play Barca in between the Utd fixtures, and even if the league is pretty much given up, they’ll still field a strong side there if only for pride. There will be hundreds of previews and predictions written for this one, but I’m not going to join them, because I just don’t know. Some say Utd are definitely underdogs. Well, maybe they are, but let’s wait and see all the same. Here’s to a good one!