Frank Lampard named an Everton lineup virtually unchanged apart from Anthony Gordon coming back into the XI with Dwight McNeil dropping to the bench. Dominic Calvert-Lewin also among the substitutes is great news for the Blues after so much speculation around his fitness.
Jordan Pickford started between the posts, with Conor Coady and James Tarkowski in front of him and captain Seamus Coleman with Vitalii Mykolenko as fullbacks. In the middle was trio Alex Iwobi, Idrissa Gueye and Amadou Onana, and then Demarai Gray and Gordon behind Neal Maupay.
The Blues started with their regular vigour which they often do when they’re at home, and got an early reward as well as Alex Iwobi took advantage of the opening to curl the ball home past David De Gea within five minutes.
However, United soon showed their dominance on the ball and summer signing Antony pulled the Blues level before Everton bunkered down and let the visitors control possession. The Toffees showed little else in the attacking half after that, though they might have thought they had caught a break when Anthony Martial left the game with an injury.
Instead, it was another summer signing for United Casemiro who turned defence into attack with a brilliant through-ball, finding Martial’s replacement Cristiano Ronaldo to put the visitors ahead just before the break, 2-1.
The second half started with more of the same, though the Blues did do more with possession, but once again were left to counterattacks and setpieces for the bulk of their chances.
As we got deeper into the game though, Lampard finally made his first big tactical change of the season, taking off Seamus Coleman and Idrissa Gueye and throwing on Dominic Calvert-Lewin for his first appearance of the season, and James Garner for his Everton debut against his former side. That moved Iwobi into the rightback position while Garner took over as defensive midfielder.
Minutes later it looked like Marcus Rashford ended the game with a great run for the third, though VAR ruled that he had handled the ball in the build-up to give the Blues another chance.
Late on the Blues threw the kitchen-sink at the visitors but despite four successive corners to close out the game, they were unable to find the equalizer to slip to their first defeat in eight games in all competitions.
The first two United goals both came from mistakes that Everton inflicted upon themselves. Gueye’s turnover in his own half and then Iwobi’s poor pass led to the Red Devils’ goals.
The Blues continue to be first to a number of attacking setpieces, but are not making them count.
Gordon picked up his fifth booking of the season and will now miss next Saturday’s game away at Tottenham. His tackle on Bruno Fernandes for the booking was excellent, but his follow-up boot into the opponent’s leg was unnecessary and deserving the yellow card.
How many more games are we going to have to go through before Amadou Onana breaks the hex and finally gets his first goal? He has so many gilt-edged chances and is yet to get his first Everton goal.