Last Time We Met; Manchester United (A)

Everton v Manchester United

Tuesday 4th April, 2017.

Lineups:

Everton: Robles, Holgate, Williams, Jagielka, Baines, Barkley, Gueye, Barry, Davies, Mirallas, Lukaku.

United: De Gea, Rojo, Bailly, Blind, Young, Herrera, Carrick, Fellaini, Lingaard, Rashford, Ibrahomovic.

The last time Everton faced Manchester United at Old Trafford, we saw a solid defensive unit give everything for the Blues’ cause in an evening encounter, to battle valiantly and grind out a well-merited draw in what proved to be a tricky encounter under the floodlights.

In very rare fashion over recent years, Everton took the lead at the Theatre of Dreams from a corner, which was flighted into the box and flicked on by the tightly marked Ashley Williams, into the path of Phil Jagielka, who still had a lot to do. With his back to goal, the Everton captain managed to flick the ball goalwards, through De Gea’s legs and into the corner of the keeper’s net to give The Toffees the lead after 22 minutes.

Manchester United, as expected, piled on the pressure and twice rattled the woodwork as Everton huffed and puffed to get bodies behind the ball. Joel Robles was forced into several good saves and even collided with his own post in a bid to keep out a curling free kick from Daley Blind.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who had been a thorn in Everton’s side all evening, went close several times before eventually finding the back of the net from close range, only to have his effort dubiously ruled offside – or for a shove on Ashley Williams.

Williams and his defensive line continued to hold off the United attacks for 90 minutes and looked determined to snatch the three points away from home. However, in the 4th minute of stoppage time at the end of the game, it was Williams who became the villain, using his hand to block a goalwards shot from substitute Luke Shaw from finding the back of the net. The referee had no choice but to award a penalty and a red card for Everton’s number 5. After all of their hard work, the decision left the remaining ten on the field feeling deflated and hurt.

Ibrahimovic stepped up and calmly rolled the ball into the net, moments before the referee blew for full time. The game finished 1-1. Koeman and his men would have taken a point beforehand, but the way in which the victory was taken from them will have left a sour taste in the mouth.

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s game, the majority of Evertonian’s would snatch your hand off at the possibility of a draw against United. The out of sorts Blues need something major, at the very least a decent performance, to help to pick their heads up after a dismal fortnight of football.

– Rich (@Richie3986)