Andros Townsend, Anthony Martial and Demarai Gray impressed as Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton on Saturday.
For much of the first half, Manchester United were firmly in control of the proceedings. And in the first quarter of the game, the hosts produced a couple of enticing chances to break the deadlock, only for Anthony Martial to head wide from Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s cross while Edinson Cavani’s nodded effort was saved superbly by Jordan Pickford.
Everton threatened on the break, but apart from an effort by Demarai Gray, David de Gea was not tested much. The Red Devils finally made their dominance count just ahead of half-time, as Anthony Martial scored from the edge of the box after being set up by Bruno Fernandes.
Post the interval, it was more of the same, with Manchester United firmly in control. However, other than the odd half-chance, they just could not manage to force Jordan Pickford into a spot of bother. Their lack of sharpness would cost the Red Devils dearly, as midway through the second half, Andros Townsend scored at the end of an express counter-attack.
Thereafter, Manchester United probed for their second in the game but just could not manage to keep their shots on target. And late in the game, Everton thought they had scored a winner through a close range finish by Yerry Mina, only to be denied by VAR for offside. In the end, the two teams ended up sharing the spoils and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both the sets of players.
David de Gea: 6/10
Forced into a reactionary save by Demarai Gray, de Gea showed that despite a quiet first half, he was at hand to preserve his clean sheet. However, there was nothing that the Manchester United no. 1 could have done to deny Andros Townsend after being left wrong-footed ahead of the shot.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 7/10
Drafted into the side in place of Diogo Dalot, Wan-Bissaka showed a lot of promising signs going forward for a change, even setting up a fine chance for Anthony Martial early on. Defensively, there were a few nervy moments, but he held his own up against Anthony Gordon for the most part. Not to be blamed for the equaliser after being left stranded during the counter.
Raphael Varane: 7/10
Varane was out of position when Everton equalised, although it was through no fault of his own as the visitors countered from a corner. A big block to deny Salomon Rondon was one of a few critical defensive moments from the Frenchman, who helped keep the Everton striker quiet on the day.
Victor Lindelof: 7/10
With Harry Maguire still not fit, Lindelof got another start at the heart of the Manchester United defence. And the Swede continued to fill in well for the captain, making a couple of key blocks while playing out from the back in precise fashion, misplacing just four passes all game. Did his best to stop the Everton goal, but was outnumbered at the back.
Luke Shaw: 6/10
Passed fit to start, Shaw linked up superbly with Bruno Fernandes for the most part but did not overlap on too many occasions. His deliveries on this occasion lacked bite while at the back, there were a few hairy moments up against Townsend, who was left clear as he was pulled out of position while tracking back in the build-up to the equaliser.
Scott McTominay: 7/10
For much of the game, McTominay provided a solid presence in the middle of the park, winning the battle against Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan in his partnership with Fred. Linked up well with those out in front as well, completing 90 percent of his attempted passes. However, he should have done better when getting on the end of a half-chance late on.
Back in the starting lineup, Fred provided a solid presence in the middle of the park, which was crucial against the tricky outlet of Demarai Gray. On this occasion, his output on the ball was much improved as well, and he even set up a chance for Edinson Cavani, only for the Uruguayan striker to be denied from close range.
Mason Greenwood: 6/10
As always, Greenwood was a bundle of energy and handed a free role high up the pitch. However, as was the case last weekend against Aston Villa, the Manchester United prodigy was not quite as sharp as he would have liked to be, with his efforts lacking bite. Lost the ball a few too many times as well and needs to do better.
Bruno Fernandes: 6/10
Donning the captain’s armband for Manchester United, Bruno Fernandes was determined to set a quick tempo to the game, playing passes forward quickly and precisely. Held the ball well before setting Martial up for the opener with perfectly weighted pass. However, there were a few sloppy touches at times, with the Portuguese playmaker losing possession 27 times.
Anthony Martial: 7/10
⚽️ Anthony Martial – most PL goals, by opponent:
5⃣ v EVERTON, Southampton
4⃣ v Chelsea, Newcastle, Sheffield Utd, Watford
Martial has scored in 4 of his 5 PL apps v Everton at Old Trafford pic.twitter.com/fqCKObWqMg
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) October 2, 2021
A surprise starter ahead of Paul Pogba, Martial saw an early chance coming his way only to inexplicably head his effort wide from close range. For much of the rest of the first half, he was passive on the pitch, although a moment of brilliance saw him hand Manchester United the lead with a first-time shot. Had a spring in his step thereafter before being replaced by Jadon Sancho.
Edinson Cavani: 7/10
Leading the line for Manchester United in place of Cristiano Ronaldo, Cavani held the ball well and showed a lot of desire to chase lost causes. Had a decent opening coming his way in the form of a cross by Fred but his headed effort was well saved by Jordan Pickford. Taken off early in the second half for Cristiano Ronaldo.
Jadon Sancho: 6/10
Urged by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to be more direct in the lead-up to the game, Sancho did play with a different style and even set up a couple of chances. However, he could not get his feet sorted when Ronaldo found him in space late on.
Jadon Sancho only played 33 minutes vs. Everton. Despite this, no player created more chances than him in the game .
A bright cameo. ? pic.twitter.com/l7SPK7eB0d
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) October 2, 2021
Cristiano Ronaldo: 6/10
Oddly enough, Ronaldo hardly ever got on the end of a chance, with Everton shutting him off well. Completed all but one pass that he attempted, but just could not manage to make a lasting impact.
Paul Pogba: 6/10
On for Fred, Pogba saw a lot of the ball in the final quarter of the game and looked to circulate play to his will. However, his touches were not decisive enough at times and he only completed 74 percent of his attempted passes.
Jordan Pickford: 6/10
A solid effort in goal by Pickford, who made five saves to keep Manchester United at bay. Among them, the big save to deny Edinson Cavani stood out, as he ensured the hosts did not go ahead before they broke the deadlock. Speaking of, there was not much he could have done to deny Anthony Martial.
Ben Godfrey: 6/10
Deputising for Seamus Coleman once again, Godfrey was a solid customer at the back for the most part. However, he was reluctant in executing a high risk pass when the chance presented itself, with one of the biggest missed opportunities being when he chose not to set Demarai Gray off on a quick counter. Was also nowhere to be seen when Martial scored for United.
Ben Godfrey's stats against Manchester United:
Touches – 49
Successful passes – 18
Successful forward passes – 11
Chances created – 1
Pass accuracy – 69%
Clearances – 6
Recoveries – 4
Successful tackles – 4
Aerial duels won – 3
Fouls won – 1
Absolute BrickWall. ? pic.twitter.com/fA37qvLPbM
— Everton Extra (@Everton_Extra) October 2, 2021
Yerry Mina: 6/10
A decent enough display by Mina, even though he faced some hairy moments against Cavani and Ronaldo. However, he held his own for the most part and did well to win five duels. Thought he had won the game for Everton late on only to be denied by an offside call from VAR.
Michael Keane: 6/10
An odd outing for Keane, who ought to have done better to deny Cavani for his chance but did well at the back otherwise. However, the former Manchester United defender was wasteful with the ball at his feet at times, completing just 63 percent of his attempted passes.
Lucas Digne: 5/10
A difficult evening for Digne, who had his fair share of troubles up against Mason Greenwood while also being given a hard time by Aaron Wan-Bissaka. To make matters worse, his output on the ball was dreadful, as he lost possession 21 times without really posing a threat down the left flank.
Andros Townsend: 8/10
The clear standout in the game. Right from the get-go, Townsend was a player who showed a lot of purpose and desire to make things happen. The Englishman was indeed a bright spark and looked the likeliest to make a difference for Everton, which is exactly what he did, producing a fine finish with his weaker foot to earn a point for his side. Even got into a bit of a celebration, Ronaldo style.
Andros Townsend at Everton:
▪️ 9 games
▪️ 5 goals
▪️ 1 Cristiano celebration
— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 2, 2021
Abdoulaye Doucoure: 6/10
Not the best of performances by Doucoure, who came up short in the middle of the park on quite a few occasions. However, the tenacious midfielder never shied away from putting in the hard yards and did well to hold the ball well enough before setting Townsend for the equaliser.
Along with Doucoure, Allan came up second best in the midfield battle. Just could not managed to get the better of Fred and McTominay while rarely ever managing to link up well with those in front of him to spark the moves. A rare miss from the Brazilian.
Anthony Gordon: 6/10
Handed a berth on the left wing in the absence of Alex Iwobi, Gordon was tireless in his display even if he did not always possess the right pass. Still managed to stretch the game at times and played a couple of key passes as well, although he could not muster up a shot on the Manchester United goal.
Demarai Gray: 7/10
As ever, Gray was a bundle of energy high up the pitch and worked his socks off to get something out of nothing when Manchester United were in control. Sparked the move for the equaliser, waiting for the perfect moment to find Doucoure who then set Townsend up for his goal.
Salomon Rondon: 5/10
Given another start in the absence of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Rondon was wasteful in possession and lost the ball cheaply a bit too many times. Came at the end of a couple of half-chances but took too long to execute his shot.
Tom Davies: 6/10
On for Gordon, Davies did not see much of the ball but helped Everton see the game out.
Lewis Dobbin: N/A
A late introduction, Dobbin was barely on the pitch ahead of full-time.