….Richarlison’s acrobatic effort plus strikes from Gylfi Sigurdsson, Theo Walcott, Lucas Digne and handed the Toffees a thoroughly deserved victory
Manchester United hoped to bounce back from their Barcelona defeat in midweek, but instead were thoroughly destroyed by Everton at Goodison Park.
Marco Silva’s men ran out 4-0 winners to move up to seventh in the Premier League table and boost their hopes of finishing ‘best of the rest’.
From first to last the Toffees were the better side, producing as comprehensive a win as you’re likely to see, against a United side who offered little – and only managed a shot on target in the 86th minute.
By then, David de Gea had been beaten four times, as the Merseysiders easily outmaneuvered a miserable United.
Richarlison acrobatically opened the scoring inside the opening 15 minutes, firing past De Gea after a long throw from Lucas Digne, before Gylfi Sigurdsson doubled their advantage.
Digne drilled home himself just after the break, before substitute Theo Walcott coolly rolled home a fourth.
United arrived on a run of five defeats in seven games, and with their manager looking for more from his players.
Solskjaer was demanding improvement.
What he got, instead, was absolutely dismal.
Defensively they struggled, a defence overrun as those in front failed to do the basics; Diogo Dalot is an outstanding prospect and a fine right-back, but out of position on the left, he had a miserable game.
In midfield, they gave away possession cheaply, stood off opponents – witness Nemanja Matic for Sigurdsson’s goal – and lacked fight.
In attack, there was no incision, no creativity and they only managed a shot on target in the 86th minute.
The wheels have come off.
The Brazilian international arrived in the Premier League with Watford as an unknown quantity in 2017, before earning his £35million-switch to Everton last summer.
Still only 21, he notched his 14th goal of the season for the Toffees with an acrobatic early effort to turn home Lucas Digne’s long throw – just moments after forcing De get into a fine save from a similar situation.
Interestingly, it was only his second goal in 23 games against the league’s so-called ‘Big Six’.
That is something that, Everton hope and you would have to expect, will greatly improve moving forwards; they’ll also hope his hip problem isn’t serious too.
De Gea’s weakness
De Gea is widely regarded as one of the finest goalkeepers on the planet.
But in a week where the Spain stopper came in for criticism for his error against Barcelona, he followed it up by being beaten twice from long range at Goodison.
OK, he was unsighted for the Digne effort, but he didn’t move his feet adequately for Sigurdsson’s second.
According to Opta, he’s conceded eight times from outside his penalty area in the league this term; it appears efforts from distance something of a problem.
Gary Neville lambasted Manchester United in the build up to this match.
Speaking of their loss in midweek, Neville let rip: “I went to Barcelona on Wednesday night and watched the game and I saw players pretending to run back.
“Making it look like they were running back but jogging.”
If Solskjaer agrees, then he could do with getting a tape of Idrissa Gueye’s display and showing it to his own midfield men.
The ex-Aston Villa midfielder – who was close to joining Paris Saint-Germain in January – was everywhere for Everton, winning tackles, protecting his defence and not giving United’s star names an inch.
He picked up a booking and was subbed late on for a rest, after another all-action, robust display in which he dominated midfield and put Everton on the front foot.
Another position for Pogba
Solskjaer changed shape to take on the Toffees, and it revolved around bringing back Romelu Lukaku as a No.9, and playing Pogba as a No.10 in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Bar one outstanding pass to send Marcus Rashford racing down the left in the first period, the World Cup winner’s display was utterly lamentable.
He’s the one player United boast who, on his day, is truly a world-class performer. He showed that at the World Cup.
This was Pogba at his worst however, given too much scope and freedom – and duly giving little in return.
By Dominic C. Odoh
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