Was this the weekend when Manchester United were found out? The club were never expected to challenge for the Premier League title this season and it’s incredible to think of how well United have done when just 3 months ago manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s job was genuinely under threat.
But this was a game for the Red Devils in which they were expected to win. Edinson Cavani was expected to score because the super Uruguyan had done so on two occasions against Everton this season, once in the Carabao Cup to knock Carlo Ancelotti’s team out of the competition and once in the league where United, playing at Goodison Park won the game 3-1. Cavani scored on the break which killed that encounter off.
Cavani as it turned out did not let anyone down as he opened the scoring. At that point it felt fairy predictable that United who have shown moments of great form this season would go on and win the game.
But this match would end up being a game of two halves. And it was all red in the first. United scoring early sensed that Everton were there for the taking. Although one should remember that the Toffeemen have played much better away from home and picked up more points on the road this season. Still it was only United creating all of the chances and they had several moments to double their lead. Everton did not have a shot on target in the first half and when Aaron Wan-Bissaka set up Bruno Fernandes to make it 2-0, surely there was no coming back from this point?
Everton previously and infamously did come back against United when Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge of the club, from 4-2 down they drew 4-4. But coming back at Old Trafford was in Ferguson’s era as rare as hen’s teeth. At half time Everton looked doomed. And then suddenly just 4 minutes into the 2nd half it was 2-1. Abdoulaye Doucoure was the goal scorer and it has come moments after Dominic Calvert-Lewin had almost pulled a goal back for the visitors, but he would have his moment later in the game.
For Doucoure the new signing this season it was a special moment, not in the goal itself which was from a rebound in the box but Doucoure doesn’t score many goals and he knew right away that his side were back in this game.
The game seemed to have swung in Everton’s favour and the underdogs for this duel came out fighting and within less than 10 minutes of Doucoure’s goal it was 2-2. And it was Doucoure again who used his magic setting up James Rodriguez who slotted nicely past the keeper. In just 13 minutes of the re start Everton were back on level terms.
The game was end to end now and it was certainly up for grabs, but it would be United taking the lead once more. A Luke Shaw freekick found the head of Scott McTominay who directed the ball home from about 6 yards out. McTominay has been in brilliant form lately and the script looked all set up for him to be the winning goal hero.
As time was running out Lucas Digne hit the post for Everton and the game looked like a huge 3 points for United. But football usually surprises with a few twists and there would be another one for United. Calvert-Lewin prodded home in the area as the ball ran through and United could not quite believe that they had conceded so late, literally the last kick of the game. As expected Everton were ecstatic. The game had ended in a draw but for Everton it had felt like victory.
In league terms it was a blow for United who fell 5 points behind league leaders Manchester City but are still in 2nd place. The problem for United is that City also have a game in hand. Everton are in 7th place but the club have 2 games in hand over most of the teams above them and in theory could go 4th with victories in those games.
Manchester United: man of the match: Bruno Fernandes
What an incredible player Bruno Fernandes has been this season. He scored a world class goal to make it 2-0 to United and that was his 13th goal of the season. In the fantasy rankings he already has 80 points and out of the major leagues in Europe he would be ranked 2nd.
Everton: man of match: Abdoulaye Doucoure
Doucoure ran the show for Everton in the early stages of the 2nd half to bring his club back into a match they thought they had lost. Not only did he score a goal but he also assisted in another. Doucoure has been involved in 5 goals this season in the league and has earned 17 points so far.
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