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Manchester United 2-0 Everton: Match Summary & Instant Reaction | Pickford’s heroics not enough

Blues outclassed as Dyche’s formation change doesn’t pay off.

Manchester United v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Team News

Ellis Simms was given the opportunity to build on his solid recent substitute appearances as he replaced the suspended Abdoule Doucoure. Still no DCL on the bench. It was also great to see Nathan Patterson back on the bench.

There were three changes for Manchester United with Harry Maguire, Tyrell Malacia and Aaron Wan-Bissaka came into a revamped back line in place of the injured Luke Shaw along with Diogo Dalot and Raphael Varane who were on the bench. Christian Eriksen was back on the bench after recovering from a serious ankle injury that has sidelined him since the end of January.

Match Recap

The first half saw United start well and should have been up when Antony’s shot came back off the post into the path of Wan-Bissaka who had a wide open net but could not finish it. It was then Ellis Simms who had a chance but he pulled the shot wide. United was able to get in behind the Everton back line too many times with Ben Godfrey being caught out frequently. The United pressure was finally rewarded when Jadon Sancho slid a pass into Scott McTominay who had broken in behind and slotted home past Pickford. It was one way traffic and United should have been well ahead but Everton were still in the game thanks to their keeper.

The second half started with Mykolenko replacing Godfrey from the beginning and at 60 minutes, Garner and Davies replaced Onana and Gueye. The pace of the game had slowed which suited Everton. After the substitutions, Everton started to get more of the ball and the chances started to happen. Unfortunately, it was a Seamus Coleman error that led to the Antony Martial goal. The game was then played out at a crawl with neither side really making much effort to change the scoreline.

Everton Man of the Match: Jordan Pickford

Instant Reaction

The only change to the team today was the inclusion of Ellis Simms in place of Abdoulaye Doucouré. In his seven matches since his recall from loan, Simms has averaged only 18 minutes per game and his only other start was against Liverpool at Anfield where he lasted 61 minutes. Today he was thrown into the deep end again at Old Trafford where Everton have only won once in the last 29 visits. His chances in the match were few and far between but his physical presence and his willingness to press the ball when United had the ball showed that he can fit into Dyche’s system. The first half chance needed to be put away and it was his need to stay composed that let him down. The question is whether he will be given a chance moving forward.


Although he did not record a clean sheet, Jordan Pickford continued to show why he is England’s number one. He kept Everton in the game with fine saves including a one on one with Antony that was exceptional. Later in the first half it was Rashford on two occasions who was in on goal and Pickford made himself big to stop his England teammate twice. Everton’s xG against for the opening 45 minutes (2.62) was highest total recorded in a first half this season in the Premier League.

Discipline continues to be critical for a team coached by Sean Dyche. Keeping the shape and staying compact keeps them in the game. Today, the big issue was how Everton dealt with the long ball. Too often, the back line did not drop back together which left space in behind which allowed United to repeatedly create chances. The team is so narrow and United were exploiting the wide area. The withdrawl of Ben Godfrey and the arrival of Vitalii Mykolenko showed that Dyche was happy to make a move when the plan was not being followed. As is always true, taking the chances that are available is critical.

Manchester United v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

This was a bridge too far for Everton. The quality of United’s substitutes made the difference. We bring on Maupay and Davies, United bring on Martial and Eriksen. Also, with only 9 points gained from a possible 45 away from home, Everton’s chances of survival continue to rest on their home form and the chances of getting anything from this game was almost nil. Bring on Fulham and Crystal Palace. Two games that are going to play a huge part in the outcome of the season.