Sweet victory for Toffees as United suffer euro hangover
Everton 3-1 Manchester Utd
Jubilation was the correct word to describe the mood of everyone associated with Manchester United after their 3-2 away victory over AC Milan, but it was anything but jubilation as United slumped to defeat against Everton.
The european hangover strikes again – evident in a game where United were second best. The in-form Wayne Rooney was nullified as not even he could come with the goods for United when they most needed it. Not in front of the fans who taunt him whenever he has the ball, of course Everton being his former club.
Yet, the Red Devils started positively and took the lead thanks to Dimitar Berbatov’s strike on the 16th minute. United had most of the possession and looked particularly dangerous in the final third. Everton created pressure themselves, equalising sooner rather than later. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov’s screamer a few moments later brought the score level. The Toffees were evidently motivated by this, but wasted many chances to go ahead as did United. Going into half time, this was to close to call.
What was impressive about this victory was the fact Everton were badly effected by injuries. Both Fellaini and Cahill were on the sidelines, but Dan Gosling looked a fine replacement. When Jack Rodwell came on as a second half substitute he too looked the part, scoring a cracker late on to seal the game. Rodwell is valued at £30m, and has been linked to United for a long time. Fergie, Fergie sign him up.
The hosts emerged in the second half and put United under pressure and the visitors were on the back foot. Rooney looked anonymous, but you could excuse him for this game considering his blistering form of late. The freedom of playing by himself which brought about many goals was taken away from him as Sir Alex decided to partner him with Berbatov. That partnership effective in the first half or so, when Berbatov himself opening the scoring but it proved frustrating and not even when Fergie reverted back to the 4-3-3 did it make much difference.
“It’s a bad result for us and this is not the time of year to be dropping points,” said Sir Alex. “We were well beaten, simple as that.” It isn’t a good time to be dropping points. Both Chelsea and Arsenal prevailed in their league fixtures so United should be wary and will have to close the four-point gap as soon as possible. As we’ve seen time and time again, that can be done but if United play like they did against Everton, especially as they did in the second half, forget about it.