High-octane Everton smash Manchester United

By Paul Traill 22/04/2019 7comments  |  Jump to last
For those who don’t know me, which is 99% of you, you don’t know that I’m an impatient chap. I don’t like things messing with my schedule, and so having made the decision to drive, and pick up some friends and my sister visiting from London (all Manchester United supporters), I was somewhat dismayed to arrive, promptly, at my parents house to find my dearest sister collapsed on the couch and “too hungover to move”.

“Come on” I said, trying to disguise my dismay, “we have to go or we won’t get a parking space”. “Okay” said Marie with a sigh. “I’ll just go and pack”. I exploded inside.

To be fair to Marie she packed rapidly (she was heading to Lime Street station after the game) and we were on the road soon enough, parked up easily enough and in the pub for around midday. The resourceful Dan and Gaz had managed to find a nice bench in the sun outside the pub and we had time to relax with a beer or two in the warm weather. Marie hurdled her hangover and we could all look forward to the game, the general consensus being that Everton had a decent chance of winning.

The team news saw Michael Keane unsurprisingly come back in to replace Phil Jagielka. I was a bit disappointed that Tom Davies didn’t get the opportunity in Andre Gomes’ absence, but fair play to Morgan Schneiderlin who came in and more than justified his selection. Romalu Lukaku “spearheaded” the Manchester United attack with Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford also featuring. Truth be told though, you looked at that Manchester United team and it just doesn’t strike fear into you any more like it used to do in years gone by.

Goodison Park was packed to the rafters and well done to Everton and the fan group in the Gwladys Street who have worked hard to instil more atmosphere into the stadium pre-kick off. The sirens that precede the Z-Cars have really been a hit, as too are the flags in the Gwladys Street end. It’s really helped get Goodison Park rocking before kick off and long may it to continue. I think this gives our players that edge going into the game and we were certainly right at it from the get-go in this one, swarming Manchester United, not letting them settle and getting on the front foot early on. This roused the crowd further and Everton really had Manchester United pressed back with a series of corners early on, the visitors only chance coming from a ball over the top which Rashford chased down and scooped harmlessly over the crossbar when an effort with his weaker left foot would surely have been more threatening.

Our concerted pressure told on 13 minutes when a long throw by Lucas Digne was flicked on at the near post by the ever-committed Dominic Calvert-Lewin. There was still plenty of work to do for Richarlison but my, did he do it with aplomb, acrobatically overhead-volleying past David De Gea and into the net to give Everton an early lead. The crowd went wild. Manchester United supporters, who pride themselves on outsinging the opposition away from home were suddenly silenced.

Manchester United retorted with a spell of pressure albeit with no end product as Everton defended their lead well. We doubled our money when we countered from a Manchester United corner. Idrissa Gueye was outstanding in expertly carrying the ball before releasing Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Icelander still had a great deal to do, but with the Manchester United defence retreating he was able to cut inside and unleash a ferocious drive from 25 yards which rocketed into the corner of the net. Goodison Park got noisier as the crowd went wild.

Come the break Everton were well, well on top and at the break I was saying to my mate Rob, a Manchester United fan, than I had to expect a reaction from the visitors as they simple couldn’t play any worse than they had in the first half… or could they?

Well they played about as badly, but I don’t want that to detract from how awesome Everton were. We were magnificent against Arsenal though the 1-0 scoreline didn’t reflect that. This time the full-time score reflected the performance. 5-0 or 6-0 really wouldn’t have been hard on the visitors either.

The third, and essentially the sealer, came when a corner kick was half-cleared to the edge of the penalty area where Lucas Digne lurked. He had a couple of opportunities in the first half to thrash back at goal from a similar position but neglected to do so. This time he didn’t hesitate and he did remarkably well to get over the ball and generate as much power as he did to smash it back into the corner of the net. It was a phenomenal strike and Goodison Park went into ecstasy. The atmosphere was fabulous from there on in. There’s nothing quite like it when Goodison Park is like that. We’re all quite excited about moving to a new stadium but days like this make you realise how much we will miss our home.

Manchester United were long since beaten when substitute Theo Walcott calmly slotted home past the advancing David De Gea to make it 4-0, and with about 30 minutes still to play you felt that if Everton kept on going for it they would have scored more. Instead we sat back and held on to what we had. It was nice to see James McCarthy get back out on the pitch for the first time in over a year. Thankfully the referee waved away Anthony Martial’s dive as he tried to again deceive the referee against us to win a penalty. Romalu Lukaku took the wrong option and thrashed wide, and Scott McTominay hit wide with a golden opportunity. The only time Manchester United really got something on target they found Jordan Pickford equal to it, getting down to his right to hold on to Martial’s goalbound effort. That was all Manchester United offered though. The day belonged to Everton.

Following the game we drove into the city centre for a quick drink. Desperate to avoid anywhere showing Liverpool vs Cardiff, we stumbled upon a beautiful little Italian bistro called Carlisi on Dale Street and were able to sit outside in the baking sun. My three Manchester United fans though dejected with their team, were full of praise for how Everton performed. Desperate to hear of some good news from Cardiff, we thought they’d equalised when a big cheer erupted from outside The Excelsior across the road only to find someone had missed an open goal from two yards. Later, on the way home, we heard that Mohammed Salah had taken yet another tumble to win them a penalty. These things get swept under the carpet of course. When Dominic Calvert-Lewin gets pushed in the back or Oumar Niasse takes a tumble all hell breaks loose. Manchester City better keep on winning games as them lot are getting all the luck in the world and all the help they need from the FA.

A great day then and my only bugbear is how the game has been reported in the press. In our recent victories over Chelsea, Arsenal, West Ham United and Manchester United, in which we’ve scored nine and conceded none, all we’ve heard afterwards is how bad the opposition have been, and not how well we have played. Maybe it suits us better people not taking us seriously but I’m a little tired of this “little old Everton” tag. It’s up to Marcel, Marco and our players to flip that around next season.

We’re on the crest of a wave. Don’t let this slip Everton. Keep this up and I firmly believe that next season could be a special one.

Player ratings

Pickford: Did what he had to, which really wasn’t much. 7
Digne: Excellent. Classy goal also. Limped off late on but presumably it’s nothing too serious. 9
Keane: Fabulous. Read the game well and kept them out throughout. 8
Zouma: Dominated Lukaku throughout who barely won a header. A great game from Kurt. 8
Coleman: Fabulous from Seamus. Now pretty much back to the standards he set before his injury. 8
Gueye: My Manchester United guests were full of praise for Idrissa. I think we will do well to keep hold of him this summer and he will be difficult to replace. He was immense again in this one. 9
Schneiderlin: I wanted Tom Davies to be given the opportunity but I have to give Morgan credit. He was all over his former club and made things difficult for them throughout. 8
Bernard: He really has settled to become a key player for us and I expect to see a lot more from him next season. A quality player who again performed superbly. 8
Richarlison: Scored an exceptional goal and had an exceptional 51 minutes before falling to injury. 9
Sigurdsson: Gylfi was sublime. His best performance yet for us. Scored a screamer and was central to everything we did that was good. He almost even scored directly from a corner. That performance level is why we paid big for Gylfi. The key for him of course is consistency. My man of the match. 10
Calvert-Lewin: If he can add more goals to his game then he would be the complete player. That said, if he doesn’t score and the team keeps winning frankly who cares. An outstanding courageous effort from Dominic and he was instrumental in our fine victory. Well done Dominic. I, for one, had written him off. I’m delighted he’s showing what he is capable of. 8

Walcott (for Richarlison): Took his goal ever so well and was both threatening and disciplined in his 30 minutes. Well done Theo. Patience and dedication does pay off. 8
McCarthy (for Gueye): He replaced the carded Idrissa and kept things steady in there. Great to see him back on the pitch. 6
Jagielka (for Digne): I assume Leighton Baines had some sort of knock which meant a bit of a late reshuffle to get Phil Jagielka out there with Zouma going to right back and Coleman at left back. Phil did very well in his short time on the pitch. He lead, organised, communicated and seemed determined that we were not going to concede. I sense our next game against Burnley will be Phil’s final Goodison farewell, possibly Leighton’s too. Let’s give him (possibly them) the send-off they deserve. They’ve been fabulous quality players for us who have deserved more than winning nothing for us over the years. 7

Reader Comments (7)

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Christopher Timmins
1 Posted 23/04/2019 at 15:31:26
Paul, great to get your take on what was a great day for us all. We have got keep building on days like Sunday.

Dave Abrahams
2 Posted 23/04/2019 at 15:43:36
Paul,very good report of the game and how the performance lifted everyone connected to the club.

You can sense a lot more of these days are coming to our fans,but let’s celebrate them one at a time, great to be a Blue on Sunday.

Mike Gaynes
3 Posted 23/04/2019 at 15:53:48
Paul, you were across the street from The Excelsior and didn't stick your head in to greet the TW mob?

Great report on a glorious day, and spot on with your ratings.

And I'm the same as you with the impatience thing, except my wife the Buddhist has done some very good work with me on the issue over the years. Maybe you should try some light chanting. Worked for me. Sorta.

Paul Birmingham
4 Posted 23/04/2019 at 17:42:07
Great report Paul, let’s hope for the same against a Palace.

Now for consistency and an unbeaten run to the end of this season. And then to build and kick on preseason, keep the momentum and no stopping.

I’m getting on but this year so far has flown, preseason will soon be here, hopefully players, now have a sense of an emerging force. It can happen, if they want it to happen.

Andy McNabb
5 Posted 23/04/2019 at 20:24:37
Thanks Paul. Really enjoy ur reports and feel u have taken on the mantle of Ken by giving a good balanced report without going to extremes. It really makes me feel like I am there.
Currently in JFK airport preparing to fly to the UK. We have tickets for the Burnley game. I so hope 'good' Everton turn up on May 3rd for prob our last visit to the Old Lady. Watched Burnley v Chelsea yest and they will be a tough nut.
Jerome Shields
6 Posted 23/04/2019 at 21:13:47
Great report on the match, and thank you for the comprehensive player ratings. I too am really fed up with the media, who seems to ignored the fact that Everton are playing so well. I particularly annoyed with the media preamble to the Manchester Derby and am totally switched off the whole title race. I still think that Klopp will not win the Premiership. Everton should have beat them twice and this team playing like this would hammer them.
Lev Vellene
7 Posted 24/04/2019 at 19:19:22
Thanks, Paul, I was lately despairing about getting one of your match reports again!

Are we actually displaced leprechauns, as the media all seem to know it's only down to luck that we got clean sheets vs LFC, Chelsea, West Ham, Arsenal and Man U, when each of them happened to have had a bad day? :D

Or could it be that the lazy journos are unable to actually keep up to date with what happens outside of the usual Top 6, as that will not pay their salaries? Hmm...

Personally, I hope both EFC and the players slip under the radar until the summer shopping is done!

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