Everton 1 - 2 Manchester United

With the benefit of hindsight, this could have been a benchmark game for Everton. Granted, this iteration of Manchester United isn’t anywhere near the best that have come to Goodison Park in the Premier League era but, as they proved on what was a disappointing and somewhat sobering afternoon from the Blues’ perspective, they have plenty of talent in their ranks.

So it proved, and in the context of how it played out, had Everton won this match, it would have been something of statement for the nascent Frank Lampard revolution… and not just because a victory would have vaulted the Toffees above both United and Liverpool in the table with a quarter of the season gone.

They certainly gave themselves every chance by taking an early lead thanks to a sublime Alex Iwobi strike but then let themselves down badly with costly sloppiness in possession, a fair degree of tactical naïvété and a general inability to effectively move the ball forward or create chances until the very end by which point they hadn’t left themselves enough time to get anything from the contest.

In the grand scheme of a season that had yielded a six-match unbeaten run in the league and provided enough evidence from the games that followed their previous defeat at Aston Villa to suggest that relegation won’t be a genuine concern, today’s defeat should be a mere set-back; a reality check on any premature delusions of a tilt at Europe after successive wins and some complacency that appeared to characterise some of Everton’s play in the aftermath of Iwobi’s goal.

Some of it was just too casual at times, not least when Iwobi and Idrissa Gueye tried to exchange passes in the centre-circle with a quarter of an hour gone and the Senegal international allowed the ball to get away from him with a very poor touch in the Nigerian’s slightly overhit return ball and within seconds, United had wiped out Everton’s lead.

Iwobi himself was robbed of the ball for the visitors’ second goal but he was in a much more advanced position; in an area of the field where you want your most creative player trying to beat a man. The problem for Lampard was that it again took just seconds for the ball to be worked to United’s forward line and to end up in his side’s net.

Article continues below video content

When the boot was on the other foot in situations that were supposed to suit Everton’s counter-attacking game plan, the same outlets simply weren’t there, most likely because the likes of Anthony Gordon and Demarai Gray were sitting deep in an effort to keep Lampard’s defensive shape when the hosts didn’t have the ball.

Gray had his moments and was often among the Blues’ most dangerous players but Gordon was hugely disappointing; as ineffective as at any time in his young career, but this was not a display that played to the 21-year-old’s still limited strengths.

More alarming was Everton’s general inability to get the ball forward through the lines on a day when they insisted on playing out from the back without an out-ball and it was reflected in possession stats that favoured the visitors 70% to 30% in what was an abysmal first half and a pitiful tally of just two shots on target from the home side across the 90 minutes.

If nothing else, it will give Lampard and his staff plenty to learn from and work on with the players as they plot the next step in the team’s evolution.

Lampard had dropped last weekend’s match winner, Dwight McNeil, back to the bench to allow the scorer of the only goal in this fixture last season, Gordon, to start as the only change from the team that lined up at Southampton.

And, starting with an intense posture, Everton forced Casimero into an early mistake, with Amadou Onana dispossessing the Brazilian and giving Gray a chance to drive at the opposition defence before flicking a deflected ball to the side that Iwobi controlled and then side-footed home superbly.

The next chance for either side fell to United, though, as Iwobi and Gueye’s attempted link-up was intercepted, the ball was worked quickly to Antony who had time to sweep it past Jordan Pickford and level things up.

Ten Hag was forced into an early change when Anthony Martial had to come off for Cristiano Ronaldo because of an injury but after Casimero had planted a gilt-edged chance wide in the 41st minute, the Dutchman saw his side take the lead.

Iwobi was tackled trying to dribble past his man halfway inside United’s half and, just like the equaliser, the ball was pinged straight down the channel to a red jersey and Ronaldo did the rest, advancing into the box and then drilling it through Pickford’s legs.

Chances were few and far between for the hosts and they didn’t fashion a meaningful one until the 62nd minute when Iwobi volleyed back across the penalty area but Seamus Coleman couldn’t divert the ball goal-wards.

Eight minutes later, Onana headed not far over from a corner while Christian Eriksen lashed narrowly over at the other end before Marcus Rashford thought he had made the game safe nine minutes from time.

A deep De Gea kick was flicked on by Ronaldo while Iwobi, who had dropped into right-back after James Garner had replaced Coleman, was beaten in the air by Rashford who was able to spin onto the loose ball, win his duel with James Tarkowski and then knock the ball home after Pickford had got a foot to his initial shot.

The goal was ruled out by Video Assistant Referee Andre Marriner, however, after a handball by the United striker had been spotted on the replay.

That gave Everton a lifeline heading into the last few minutes and Onana had a good chance to equalise in the 90th minute but could only glance his header wide and a minute later, De Gea came up big to finger-tip Garner’s curling shot behind and away from the arriving Onana at the back post.

From the resulting corner, Calvert-Lewin could only drop a header wide at the far post while Pickford came up for the last two set-pieces as Everton desperately tried to force the ball home in time added on but it wasn’t to be.

Things don’t get any easier over the next 10 days with tricky trips to Tottenham and Newcastle next up, fixtures that will test Lampard and company’s ability to shore up a midfield and defence that was worryingly open at times today despite coming into the weekend with the best defensive record in the division.

In many ways, both fixtures demand a return to the kind of no-fills, low block, counter-attacking posture that was so successful at times during the run-in to last season but they will also test the players’ ability to bounce back mentally and maintain their focus in possession in a manner that has been lacking on occasion the last two games.

There is a strong possibility, of course, that the next two matches might not yield any points but collective Evertonian eyes should remain on the “prize” of a solid season of moderate progress that builds all the while the experience and confidence of a squad that has at its core a good deal of youth.

Follow @EFCLyndon

Reader Comments (31)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer ()

Jim Bennings
1 Posted 10/10/2022 at 06:16:03
I can't get my head around how jaded that performance was, even in some ways it was more disappointing than the result itself.

We should have been bouncing after 7 games unbeaten and even more so after Iwobi scoring that great early goal but ,after that, we just didn't even try to expose United's fragile confidence.

Too often at Everton, we crap ourselves, it's like a hiker climbing three-quarters of the way up a mountain and then deciding to turn back out of fear.

The lack of goal threat is probably going to be crucial even if Calvert-Lewin can stay on the pitch more often while the jury remains out.

The wingers Gordon and Gray continue to frustrate the life out of me, it's too often glaringly obvious what they are going to do every time they receive the ball; never enough end product from either of them, and why they persist with high crosses to a small guy in Maupay (you can cross the ball along the deck, you know, lads).

The middle of the park still passes up possession far too cheaply and it may be worth thinking about giving James Garner some game time now as he does look like a composed footballer based on what I saw last season.

We lost Nathan Patterson just as he was starting to hit form and that curtailed us from pushing those full-backs forward also.

All-in-all, it was one of those nights when we'd have lost that game if we'd have still been playing until Tuesday night, a bad game for everyone – and after watching the goals back I include Jordan Pickford in that.

Paul Kernot
2 Posted 10/10/2022 at 06:59:05
Lampard and Thelwell are doing great things with our club & squad and yes, it's very early days. We knew there'd be days like this.

Rome wasn't built in a day but after we scored, because we've seen it so many times before, I just couldn't relax and enjoy the moment.

Let's just hope we learn and recover before we go to North London next week. I have to agree with Jim, Patterson is a big miss.

Danny O’Neill
3 Posted 10/10/2022 at 07:28:46
I got the result prediction right. Just the wrong way around.

I get what you're saying, Jim. Stage fright. We've had it for decades. Just when we get close, we gulp and shrink into ourselves.

I think the current management team are slowly changing that mentality but there are going to be setbacks. The good thing is that the results are closer even when we don't play well and unfortunately lose. That was a close match even though we gave them way too much space. The mentality is different.

We played poorly and lost. But we didn't give in or collapse. That's a positive.

No way we're losing 5-0 to at White Hart Lane and leaving me in shock as we did earlier this year. We'll surprise people and get a point.

Keep doing what you're are doing, Blues. There will be speed-bumps but the results will come.

As will Wembley and Europe.

Ernie Baywood
4 Posted 10/10/2022 at 07:42:53
Tough to blame the wingers when the ball is moved so slowly. Gueye and Onana were officially guilty of that last night.

When the midfield shits themselves, it is always the wingers that suffer. Instead of getting our wingers running at full-backs, we get our full-backs… well, not doing much.

Gordon and Gray are okay.

Steve Little
5 Posted 10/10/2022 at 08:06:23
I actually thought we played quite well against what was a very efficient and able Man Utd team.

Solid defensively again (the mistakes were made in midfield) and we showed more attacking threat in the second half than we have done all season. It was also nice to see different formations and tactics attempted when we were chasing the game.

So yes, we were occasionally sloppy in midfield and it cost us dearly, but I am not going to berate these fellas, or even name them, as they have barely put a foot wrong all season.

We are definitely moving in the right direction.

Sam Hoare
6 Posted 10/10/2022 at 08:10:05
Sadly I think a result like this may have been due. The expected goals models suggest we may have been slightly fortunate before this match with other teams missing scoreable chances and hitting the post whilst Pickford has been performing at a possibly unsustainable high level. Even last night, I thought we were somewhat lucky not to be 3 or 4 down by half-time.

We look a bit more solid than last season (especially at set pieces) but there is a way to go and we are still very insecure in possession, mainly because Gray and Gordon struggle to keep hold of the ball (possibly because they are forced deep).

Work to be done by Lampard. But the aim this season was mid-table, and mid-table teams by definition blow hot and cold.

Jacques Sandtonian
7 Posted 10/10/2022 at 10:53:54
It's a huge oversimplification, of course, but both sides looked like the managers just picked 11 players, put them in a formation and sent them out to do their thing.

Without a proper game plan to beat Manchester United, their players are always going to be man-for-man better than ours. This was illustrated perfectly by how Luke Shaw played Anthony Gordon (literally) off the park.

Peter Mills
8 Posted 10/10/2022 at 11:05:40
Mama said there’ll be days like this.

Next Saturday will be another very testing one.

Jim Bennings
9 Posted 10/10/2022 at 11:17:41
The game was a letdown because United were there for us to sink, especially at 1-0, we could have put them on the back foot and cranked it up.

There will be days like yesterday, yes; however, it just frustrates that we start playing when we see 4 minutes of injury time go up, why not earlier?

We need to move on and improve, fair enough. I still think we lose far too many games at Goodison nowadays though.

Peter Mills
10 Posted 10/10/2022 at 11:41:26
Jim #9, despite my attempts at being philosophical, I do share your frustration.

United responded well to conceding an early goal and stuck to their game plan. I thought Casemiro settled into the game very well, it would do no harm for Gueye, for all his experience, to watch how United's defensive midfielder played.

And yes, if Calvert-Lewin was fit to be on the bench then he was fit to play for 20 minutes. Maupay was completely ineffective, we looked much better with 2 big guys at the end, huff and puff though it was.

However, United had better players than us in nearly every position so setbacks like last night are going to happen against such teams. We've made progress this season so need to try and not despair when they occur.

Brian Murray
11 Posted 10/10/2022 at 11:48:20
How did Gana get away with limited passing ability at PSG? I was hoping that part of his game would've improved.

Time for James Garner to start next week at the expense of… take your pick. No one is undroppable.

Joe McMahon
12 Posted 10/10/2022 at 11:57:37
Peter@10, fully agree but it's a shame it always has to come down to "lump it up front for a big guy" (Duncan Ferguson model). Maupay had zilch in service. Sergio Aguero would struggle to score in any Everton team since a one-off Martinez season.

My main concern is money potentially wasted on bringing Gana back and not taking huge money for Gordon. James Garner may well be a positive.

Robert Tressell
13 Posted 10/10/2022 at 13:14:04
A fit Patterson obviously brings a lot to the table. Gueye is not finished, but I think we forgot how mediocre he is at certain aspects of the game.

Allan was a better passer, Gueye a better presser. Neither are great players.

Rick Tarleton
14 Posted 10/10/2022 at 13:26:35
United were the better of two mediocre, midtable teams. Not a dreadful display, but one lacking creativity and penetration. We didn't fold as we have done so often in recent seasons, but we rarely threatened to break through United's defence.

A point made earlier is that Lampard seems reluctant to make early substitutions and I agree that he throws on his attacking options far too late.

Spurs with their pace in attack will be a real challenge, especially as pace is not the forte of our backline. We must avoid a tanking as our frail confidence could be easily shattered by such a result.

Gordon looks tired which is ridiculous. I'm not sure how Everton ought to be using him. Gray, McNeil and Townsend are wingers purely and simply. I'd prefer to see him in the Number 10 role supporting Calvert-Lewin, but that may be unfair on Iwobi.

Neil Cremin
15 Posted 10/10/2022 at 13:52:27
I see Gana is gone from hero to zero in two weeks. Oh how I love reading TW. Similarly with Gordon but that has taken a little longer.

Rather than be a smart on-the-fence commentator, my own view is that Gana was always capable of sloppy passing when he was with us previously, the only question was: Did he improve at PSG? One game doesn't answer that so wait and see.

For me, Gordon is still a work in progress. He is impulsive (5 yellows) and a bit selfish and not a great crosser of the ball.
Hopefully he can be improved by Frank et al.

Barry Rathbone
16 Posted 10/10/2022 at 14:34:44
I think the "mentality" thing comes from players knowing their limitations. They all talk a good game but, once on the pitch watching the opposition running rings round them, reality kicks in and the retreat into the shell is inevitable.

The possibility of fluking a result if the opposition are half-arsed is always there but, should they turn up with their better players well-motivated, we are fodder. Liverpool hold such dominance over us because they have better players and are always, always motivated.

We live in the also-ran section of the Premier League. Results against a reasonably motivated Man Utd et al are entirely predictable and until some miracle happens that's how it will remain.

Tony Everan
17 Posted 10/10/2022 at 14:50:29
United had more intensity, pressed better, looked hungrier and more motivated for this game. They bullied us with their press always leaving a bit in the player rather than just closing down. We were consistently bullied off the ball, all just within the law.

Referees will allow this, especially from the big teams. We have to be much stronger in possession; if you lose it in a danger area, do anything to get it back – tackle, foul, yellow card whatever. Hopefully lessons will have been learned. But don't lose it in the first place!

With Garner and Calvert-Lewin on, we redressed the balance a little bit. I hope they start the next two matches, which will be just as tough and physically demanding.

Wins against top-half teams have to be earned with blood, sweat and tears. Yesterday we didn't do enough to deserve anything.

Brian Murray
18 Posted 10/10/2022 at 15:02:03
Barry @16.

The mentality we have has served us well lately and the team probably thought "Same again will do" but Man Utd have individuals obviously a step up from the likes of West Ham and Southampton.

Another window or two we won't have to rely on Gray and Gordon to create or even turn up.

Dave Carruthers
19 Posted 10/10/2022 at 15:53:40
Totally agree, Neil (15).

The euphoria of his cameo when he came off the bench against Liverpool and then an excellent performance vs West Ham suddenly disappears in a week... 🤷🏻‍♂️

There were rumours circulating at the back end of last week that he had a serious knee injury. Obviously not serious but you do wonder if he wasn't 100% as I have never seen him play so badly, his influence on the others non-existent and there was that first mistake.

Just hope he shakes it off because a fully fit and in form Gueye is a certain starter.

Derek Knox
20 Posted 10/10/2022 at 18:02:58
Having attended the game last night, courtesy of my mate's Season Ticket, as he was on holiday, I was full of expectation, hope and even predicted a 2-1 score-line, in our favour of course.

Like Danny too, I was almost shocked that, after scoring an early well-worked goal, we more or less sat back and played into United's hands. The referee didn't help either by ignoring some of the overly-physical charges of United to see our players clattered into the advertising boards.

Stephen Vincent, who I had a pint with before, with Bill Griffiths in the Dark House, had an ill-feeling about our ability or inability to secure all 3 points. Unfortunately, he was right.

We have two really difficult away games to follow, and a win would have cemented not only points but confidence too. The result, and the manner of it, will leave the coaching staff with an uphill task to motivate them to get even a scrap.

David West
21 Posted 10/10/2022 at 18:16:12
I thought when we pressed them from the start it was good. It's how we got the goal. Soon as we had 1-0, we sat back. We have a good defence but any team will struggle for 85 minutes trying to do that, even against an average Man Utd team.

Some will say it's back to form, here we go again, same old Everton. But we have to expect some games like this, 5 of this team weren't even our players 4 months ago – that's half the team settling.

We can give criticism for bad performances, but let's not crucify them; let's keep supporting what Frank's doing.

In the last couple of months, we've taken many large steps forward; this was a step back. It's still a better team and position than last season's.

I'm hoping they have 1 or 2 lined up in January, impact winger or attacking mid, as the creativity is lacking. Nothing between lines, very little interplay between the front 3 and midfield, and rarely see any of the midfielders running beyond the striker.

As someone once said: "You learn 10 times more from a defeat than you do from a victory."

John Raftery
22 Posted 10/10/2022 at 18:58:19
It was a disappointing performance after a positive first 5 minutes.

Ten Hag had done his homework making sure the long diagonal balls out to the flanks from Coady and Tarkowski were prevented or dealt with. That put the onus on our midfielders to play through the lines but we could hardly string three forward passes together until the closing stages.

The challenge now is to prevent one defeat becoming three. Changes will be required while Frank needs to use his bench earlier, especially when it is blindingly obvious things aren't working.

Tony Hill
23 Posted 10/10/2022 at 19:16:43
Barry @16, we've done it when we have had very good sides, or at least competitive ones.

The 1986 final, the 2012 and 2016 semi-finals, the 2-3 against Palace in Martinez's first season, the semi-final collapse against Man City from 3-1 up and so on.

It's buried deep, this disorder, and our mediocrity will persist unless it is dug out at the roots. It was Martinez who came closest, as we know.

Mark Andersson
24 Posted 11/10/2022 at 02:09:57
Good to see many on here looking for the positives.

Did the crowd respond in a positive manner after Man Utd equalized??

I see a lot of fans concerned that Frank put on his subs too late... It's hindsight; put your subs on early and lose – people would argue that the players taken off too early needed more time to gel.

Frank is honest and is learning on the job... he will figure things out about these players and knows that you sometimes have a bad game.

Can't see us getting anything at Spurs realistically.

Jerome Shields
25 Posted 11/10/2022 at 03:29:35
The biggest improvement this season that was needed was a reduction in errors. Once a player makes an error, all the tactics in the world are out through the window.

Whilst Frank has got the team to play as a unit, sloppy errors will always undo any good work. They have a knock-on effect on team confidence and damage any play momentum.

Gordon seems still to be recovering from the shock of transfer speculation. If Gana had made an error like that for PSG he would have been pilloried.

Iwobi played well amongst the dross. Onano looks like he knows how to get into a forward position, better than our forwards. And expecting Coleman to cover injuries as well as errors is a bit much.

Danny O’Neill
26 Posted 11/10/2022 at 06:07:20
Glad you had a catch-up, Derek. This is Everton. We'll go and grab 4 points from the next 2 games. Why do it the easy way?
Tony Hill
27 Posted 11/10/2022 at 06:56:40
Mark @24,

The crowd did not react well to the equaliser and the atmosphere was as flat as it's been for a long while. Disappointment at how bad we were, I guess, but it does sometimes worry me that we fail to rally when things go against us.

Bernie Quinn
28 Posted 11/10/2022 at 07:08:11
I did not enjoy the game and my Tizer felt very flat. But then I consoled myself by realising we had just completed 7 unbeaten games, so the law of averages says we were due for a loss – and whilst admitting we definitely need strikers, only two teams so far have managed to put two goals into our net.

So I am not fazed too much; on our day, we are a match for all teams in the Premier League and I think we have an excellent chance with either or both Cups we are in for. (That's not including The Liverpool Senior Cup!)

Everyone stay happy — In Frank I Trust!

Ian Bennett
29 Posted 11/10/2022 at 07:08:30
The passing and movement was dreadful. Gana and Coleman were poor on the ball, although Gordon and Maupay gave them practically nothing in front of them. Maupay should've at least been running around a bit more.

Our mistakes from Gana, Iwobi and Pickford gift-wrapped a Man Utd win. We should have been fresh, but looked more lethargic than them. How does that work? Too many roasties?

That little Argy was left to stroll around in his slippers. Someone should have flattened him in the opening minutes and wound him up. Who from Man Utd was going to back him up?

Commentators bigging up Ronaldo. He was just as poor. He scores when it goes straight through our England keeper.

Everton definitely a work in progress. Better defence, little attacking idea, and still too soft up top.

Danny O’Neill
30 Posted 11/10/2022 at 08:25:18
That's it, Bernie. We're going to finally win that League Cup.

We're in a much better place. We've been in worse ones. December 1983 when I literally looked to the skies and prayed to God springs to mind.

We're not being rolled over by anyone. Stick with this and it will come good.

Mal van Schaick
31 Posted 13/10/2022 at 10:09:10
We hardly saw the ball and passing errors cost us the game. This is where Lampard should show his tactical knowledge of the game and either made personnel changes or got players to up their game.

We have enough in the squad for competition for places now and the manager should make it clear to those who don’t perform or continually make errors will lose their place in the team.

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.

How to get rid of these ads and support TW

© ToffeeWeb