Fulltime Thoughts - Somehow, even with all the odds against them, Rafa Benitez’s Everton don’t quite know when they are beaten and keep putting in strong performances and picking up points.
Man Utd (0.92) 1-1 (1.28) Everton— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) October 2, 2021
90+5’ - Oliver has added another minute as the ball is lofted into the Everton half, and there’ss the final whistle! A heroic performance for the Blues to come from behind to get a point at Old Trafford!!
90+4’ - Mina clatters Sancho in the middle for a freekick. Fernandes takes it quickly and Pogba is offside. The Blues will try to see out the remaining seconds now.
90+2’ - Gray is coming off, and youngster Lewis Dobbins is coming on. He’ll be in the Man of the Match conversation for sure.
90’ - United have a chance for Sancho, but his shot is tame. Everton are defending with passion. Four or more minutes to be added on.
86’ - Everton have a corner on the left, it’s cleared to Godfrey, who now finds Davies in space! Instead of shooting he passes it to Mina to tuck in and GOAL! NO!! Just a foot offside. Why did Davies not shoot??!!
82’ - Godfrey tries to steal the ball off Sancho and the winger is away, his cutback to Pogba is controlled and the Frenchman tries to curl one into the far post, it was not far away.
United corner and Pogba rises highest, doesn’t make good contact. Everton look very, very tired.
75’ - Ronaldo cuts in on the Everton right and his outswinging shot from a narrow angle beats Pickford and the far post too.
Doucoure in the book now, late on a challenge on Fernandes.
73’ - Rafa does make a change now, taking off youngster Gordon who has put in a shift today, and Tom Davies is on now. More of a 4-5-1 with Gray in the left wide midfield slot.
69’ - Another corner for the Red Devils, Fernandes overhits it and Townsend plays it safe putting it out for another corner.
This one is also cleared by the Blues.
Now Gordon can get a cross into the box, Gray gets a touch but not enough on it, nice work. Now Townsend spins and shoots from the right with his left boot, but it’s well wide.
Pogba is now on for Fred, with Benitez yet to make a change.
65’ - United corner on the Everton left. Low and cleared, and Gray can break. He fights and fights and still has the ball into the United half, finds Doucoure who keeps running, AND HE FINDS TOWNSEND IN SPACE IN THE BOX AND HE SLOTS HOME AT THE FAR POST!!!!
Everton makes it 1-1 in front of the SCREAMING away fans!
Andros Townsend does the Siiuuuuuu at Old Trafford!— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 2, 2021
He enjoys a goal in Manchester! A wonderful flowing move! pic.twitter.com/8DYwq0GdY1
60’ - A couple of chances now for United with Sancho and Ronaldo getting right into the action. The Blues are getting stretched and looking just a little tired.
58’ - Heating up here. Keane with two big tackles sandwiches a chance where Gray runs into the box and is held off by Lindelof. The Everton player goes down but that’s not a penalty, no way.
57’ - Ugh. United are not going to be content to sit on their lead, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho coming on for Cavani and Martial respectively.
56’ - Everton break through Gordon, Gray and Digne, with the cross eventually headed tamely over by Townsend.
48’ - Gordon has a chance to run at United, but is tackled by Fred, and that turns into a corner for the hosts. Shaw takes it long, comes to Greenwood for a shot from outside the box, Pickford collects.
46’ - Second half underway, no changes for either side.
Halftime Thoughts - Everton will consider themselves very unlucky to be behind after holding Manchester United at arm’s length for most of the half, and have created some chances of their own too.
45+2’ - Pickford gathers the ball from a cross and there’s the halftime whistle, United lead 1-0 at the break.
45+1’ - Martial has a crack from distance, but this one is easy for Pickford.
43’ - Godfrey moves into the middle to cover Fernandes and that leaves Martial free on the right, he hits it goalwards and it takes a touch off the sliding Godfrey and eludes Pickford, 1-0 to the home side. The worst player on the pitch in the first half gets the goal, that’s football for you.
A beautiful Manchester United move!— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 2, 2021
Finished with aplomb by Anthony Martial!
The Frenchman enjoyed that one! pic.twitter.com/nDayZaHgcM
39’ - Gray fouled by Fred on the right. Freekick into the box is good, Varane does enough to dissuade Mina from getting a good header off.
36’ - Another good break and Townsend’s cross into the box is brilliant, Doucoure’s half-volley was looking like it was going in the far post but AWB blocks it. Oooh!!
34’ - Allan’s brilliant tackle relieves Wan-Bissaka of the ball and Digne finds Gordon steaking away down the left. Greenwood pulls him down and is booked.
Digne’s ball is cleared, and Greenwood is looking to streak away but Gray obstructs him, foul.
33’ - Gray turns on the afterburners and skims through the heart of the United middle, and takes a crack from just outside the box, it’s too close to De Gea who parries it away. Well played!
31’ - Gordon cross from the left, Rondon lets it go through his legs and Townsend behind him can’t get a good shot on goal and Shaw blocks it. That was a chance!
29’ - Handbags in the middle! Everton don’t like McTominay’s heavy tackle on Gordon and then getting on with Digne. That sparked off a number of spats and minor scuffles with just about all twenty two players involved. Ref Oliver decides nothing untoward has happened.
25’ - Doucoure steals the ball and starts a break, and is free on the right to cross into the box. He finds Rondon who takes a touch too many and his shot is blocked. Better from the Blues who have found their way into the game after the first fifteen or so minutes.
24’ - Fernandes corner cleared by the Blues.
21’ - Fred whips a cross into the box, Cavani free behind Keane and heads goalwards, and a brilliant save by Pickford!! The ensuing corner is cleared by Mina.
Fred tugs down Gray on the break and a foul is given, but the noisy Everton contingent are livid there’s no card shown by Michael Oliver.
18’ - Another corner for United, Everton can clear and counter! Godfrey chooses to keep running instead of releasing Gray on the left, and ball comes to Gordon on the left. His cross is blocked and the chance has passed.
16’ - Now Townsend wins a freekick in line with the box. He whips it into the box, Keane gets a touch and it flashes wide of the far post!
14’ - Rondon wins a freekick at the edge of the final third off Wan-Bissaka. Digne will cross it in, cleared.
The ensuing throw-in comes to Gray but his cutback into the box can’t find a blue shirt.
11’ - Digne finds Rondon in space and he can shoot, but takes way too long and Varane can tackle. Was offside anyway.
9’ - Shaw wins a corner off Godfrey. Takes it himself, headed on by Allan and cleared by Doucoure, Greenwood crosses it dangerously through the six-yard box with no one in Red to capitalize, luckily.
6’ - Wan-Bissaka easily beats Digne and puts in a delightful cross, Martial jumps ahead of Townsend and heads wide. Yikes, too easy and Everton are already under siege.
3’ - Neat passing movement between Shaw, Martial and Fernandes almost plays someone into the box, last ditch tackle takes the ball to Pickford. That Everton right is going to be a focal point here.
2’ - Everton are in a 4-4-1-1 as expected with Gordon and Townsend as wide midfielders, Gray free behind Rondon.
1’ - Underway at a noisy Old Trafford!
Starting lineups are out - one change for the Blues with Anthony Gordon getting the start.
For United, Luke Shaw is fit, Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani get the nod ahead od Paul Pogba and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The second international break of the young season cannot come soon enough for Everton, but before that, there’s the small matter of a short trip to Old Trafford to take on a puzzling Manchester United side.
Everton arrested the slide of two consecutive defeats by comfortably beating bottom side Norwich City last weekend, but shorn of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Seamus Coleman, Andre Gomes and possibly Alex Iwobi, it’s difficult to see how the Toffees can come out with a positive result against a home side that boasts almost two starting XIs that could beat the Blues.
However, Rafa Benitez is quickly showing himself to Evertonians as a manager who appears to be quite capable of drawing out some outstanding performances from a very ordinary cast of characters at Finch Farm.
For the hosts it’s more a matter of managing their riches, with Ole Gunnar Solksjaer sometimes showing very puzzling tendencies with lineups and tactics, which might ensure the Toffees are never really far from a surprise result at Old Trafford.
Competition: Premier League Matchday 7
Date and start time: Saturday, October 2nd at 4:30 a.m. PT / 7:30 a.m ET / 12:30 p.m. BST
Stadium: Old Trafford, Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Weather: 53°F/12°C, rain, 86% chance of precipitation, 15 mph winds
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Pickford, Godfrey, Mina, Keane, Digne, Allan, Doucoure, Gray, Gordon, Townsend, Rondon
Subs: Begovic, Lonergan, Kenny, Holgate, Branthwaite, Gbamin, Davies, Whitaker, Dobbin
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Varane, Shaw, Fred, McTominay, Greenwood, Fernandes, Martial, Cavani
Subs: Henderson, Telles, Bailly, Lingard, Matic, Pogba, van de Beek, Ronaldo, Sancho
The last time the Blues came to Old Trafford they got off to an awful start and found themselves 2-0 down at the break, a scoreline that could easily have been twice as bad. However an error from the home side allowed Abdoulaye Doucoure to pull one back before James Rodriguez leveled matters with a sweet strike.
However, the hosts took the lead again with about twenty to play and were looking comfortable with their lead, before Dominic Calvert-Lewin got to a floated freekick in time added on to score with the last kick of the game to make it 3-3 in a thriller. Managing that with 70-plus thousand in the stands will be quite a different feat altogether.