Everton overpowered as Dyche and company drop their first match in five games in the Premier League at Old Trafford.
Everton were on the road again in the Premier League in match week 30, facing Erik Ten Haag and Manchester United at Old Trafford. Sean Dyche was forced to change the side following Amadou Onana’s straight red card in the 1-1 draw at Goodison Park against Tottenham Hotspur. The blues changed from the typical 4-5-1 to more of a 4-4-2, with Ellis Simms being inserted for Onana, partnering with Demari Gray up top.
Early and often throughout the match it felt as if perhaps Everton had gotten it wrong in the set up, as United poured forward time and time again. The first of the early United chances came in the 8th minute, as Rashford got through on goal following a misjudgment from Keane, he looked sure to score but Pickford made the first of 9 saves in the match in one of the few standout performances from the toffees. Everton fired back with a chance of their own in the 10th minute, as Onana got his head on the end of a great free kick from Demari Gray that he could not keep on target. Frantically and only two minutes later, Antony hit the post for the hosts and Wan Bissau was there on the rebound but somehow put his effort wide with the goal gaping from close range.
Perhaps Everton’s best chance of the match came in the 19th minute, as Simms found himself through on goal following a great passage of play. The young striker took his time and fired but scuffed his effort seeing it go painfully wide of De Gea’s far post. It would be all United in the next 15 as two fantastic saves from Pickford bookended a world class and goal saving tackle from Ben Godfrey on Antony. Unfortunately, the pressure would tell in the 36th minute, Sancho played a ball across the box which was met and finished at the near post by Scott Mctominay, scoring his first goal in the league in over two years to put the hosts ahead 1-0. One more chance from Antony right on the stroke of halftime would be saved brilliantly by Pickford in goal, and the blues would go into the half down only a goal, and likely gratefully so.
Everton made one change at half bringing on Mykolenko for a struggling Godfrey, and would grow into the match a bit in the first twenty minutes, with Tom Davies and James Garner coming on to spell Gueye and Onana with 30 minutes remaining. Unfortunately, right after the introduction of Neal Maupay for Simms, Man United’s own sub Anthony Martial would put the game to rest. A familiar goalscorer against Everton, he would pounce on a ball from Rashford following a poor moment of miscontrol from Seamus Coleman to put the hosts firmly in control up 2-0.
The rest of the match was largely uneventful on both ends, with both sides likely happy to end the match with a 2-0 scoreline. It wasn’t Everton’s day, as the press and high line instituted by Dyche for the match was beaten time and time again via long balls targeting Ben Godfrey to Antony. Old Trafford is not often a place Everton have found joy, and Pickford did all he could to keep the score reasonable on the day. Dyche and company, crucially, stay out of the relegation zone following the conclusion of match week 30. Next up for the toffees is yet another telling twist in the fight against the drop as Everton host Marco Silva and Fulham at Goodison Park.