Anthony Gordon and Jordan Pickford stood out, but Cristiano Ronaldo endured a frustrating game as Everton beat Manchester United 1-0 on Saturday.
Manchester United dominated the proceedings in the early exchanges, fashioning two decent openings in the game’s opening quarter. But Jordan Pickford stood between the sticks resolutely to deny Marcus Rashford on both occasions, ultimately giving Everton the confidence to get a foothold in the match.
The hosts went ahead against the run of play midway through the first half, as Fred lost the ball cheaply before Everton unleashed a quick counter-attack. The ball reached Richarlison on the left flank before the Brazilian found Alex Iwobi, who ricocheted it towards Anthony Gordon.
The English under-21 international then unleashed a strike from outside the box before the ball deflected off Harry Maguire and beyond David de Gea. Everton could have doubled the lead shortly after, but David de Gea denied them with a smart save.
The second half was a drab affair, with Everton doing well to negate Manchester United’s threat. In the end, United did not possess enough cutting edge to slice open the Everton defence, meaning the Toffees held on for a crucial three points. On the other hand, Manchester United suffered another setback in their chase for a top-four finish. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both sets of players.
Jordan Pickford: 8/10
Pickford looked up for the job at hand from the get-go, making two stunning saves to deny Marcus Rashford in the opening 20 minutes. Later in the game, the Everton goalkeeper smartly kept out a fierce volley by Cristiano Ronaldo, ensuring his clean sheet in the process. Frank Lampard needs Pickford on top of his game from here on out.
Don't need to even say England's number one any more.
It's undisputed. pic.twitter.com/RMireV2XTq
— GrandOldTeam (@grandoldteam) April 9, 2022
Seamus Coleman: 7/10
Seamus Coleman returned to the starting lineup after recovering from an illness and did well to keep Marcus Rashford quiet after some initial hiccups. While the Everton captain could not keep out the barrage of crosses from Alex Telles, he stuck to his guns and was hardly dribbled past by a Manchester United player.
Ben Godfrey: 7.5/10
Godfrey came into the game on the back of a disastrous showing against Burnley earlier in the week. But the English defender did well to put that performance in the rearview mirror and concentrate on frustrating Ronaldo. Godfrey made numerous clearances (13) and an important block to ensure Everton’s clean sheet.
Michael Keane: 7.5/10
Keane returned to the starting lineup after serving his suspension and was disciplined for the most part. While the English international should have reacted better to keep Rashford at bay during the early onslaught by Manchester United, he hardly put a foot wrong in the final three-quarters of the match.
Vitaliy Mykolenko: 7/10
Mykolenko continued from where he left off against Burnley and never let Jadon Sancho get on top of him. The Ukrainian international won all his contested ground duels while making several crucial clearances (four), tackles (three), and interceptions (two). He also posed a threat in the final third.
Fabian Delph: 7.5/10
Fabian Delph's game by numbers vs Man Utd:
100% ground duels won (3/3)
79% pass accuracy (23/29)
42 total touches
7 ball recoveries
6 clearances made
2 interceptions made
2 tackles won
Repaid Lampard's decision to start him ???????? pic.twitter.com/XVFEmjUYCu
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 9, 2022
Delph replaced the underperforming Abdoulaye Doucoure and seemed to have continued from where the incumbent had left off. But the veteran midfielder grew into the game and was instrumental in keeping Paul Pogba quiet. He won all his contested duels (3/3) while making six clearances.
Allan was back in the side after serving his suspension and put up a dogged performance in the middle of the park. While he did not always successfully keep Bruno Fernandes at bay, the Brazilian midfielder put in some crunching tackles to keep the ball away from Pickford. A step in the right direction.
Alex Iwobi: 7/10
Lampard deployed Iwobi in midfield again, and the former Arsenal man stood up to the challenge superbly. While the Nigerian international lost the ball carelessly at times, he put in the hard yards off the ball, playing his part in keeping Manchester United quiet.
Anthony Gordon: 8/10
Gordon’s stock continues to rise, and he delivered the goods again on Saturday. The English under-21 international did not see much of the ball but always looked to make things happen when he was in possession. Crucially, it was his driven shot that made the difference via a deflection off Harry Maguire.
OHHH ANTHONY GORDON! ? pic.twitter.com/46tF9C3Qe1
— Everton (@Everton) April 9, 2022
Dominic Calvert-Lewin: 5/10
Calvert-Lewin was the only Everton player who did not impress against Manchester United. The English international’s struggles continued on Saturday, and he never looked like he was going to trouble the Manchester United defenders. He struggled to hold the ball well enough, but he did work hard in the defensive phases, to his credit.
Richarlison was typically industrious and even got some moments to show off his skills. The Brazilian had some sloppy moments on the ball, but he had the license to try and make things happen.
Demarai Gray: 7/10
Gray came on with 20 minutes left and worked hard to keep Everton in front by producing solid moments off the ball. He made one big block to ensure the Toffees retained their slender lead.
Abdoulaye Doucoure: N/A
A late introduction, Doucoure helped see the game out.
David de Gea: 6/10
David de Gea could not have done anything to keep out Gordon’s strike after it took a heavy deflection off Harry Maguire. But the Spaniard made a smart stop to keep out another deflected effort, which kept Manchester United in the game. Alas, it ultimately came to nought.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 4/10
Wan-Bissaka was dreadful on Saturday, as even though he won a few duels and made some clearances, Richarlison and Gordon made merry by drifting past him at times. The right-back’s output on the ball was abysmal, as he completed only 58 per cent of his attempted passes and never looked like creating an opening.
AWB x Telles pic.twitter.com/4e65S0HFBm
— ' (@AniUTD) April 9, 2022
Victor Lindelof: 6/10
Lindelof was back in the side due to Raphael Varane’s injury-enforced absence. The Swede did not face any problems defending Dominic Calvert-Lewin but had his fair share of troubles when dealing with Richarlison. A bigger concern was his uncharacteristically poor output on the ball, which brought undue pressure on Manchester United.
Harry Maguire: 6.5/10
Maguire was one of the better performers for Manchester United, as he hardly lost the ball cheaply while standing his ground well in the face of Calvert-Lewin’s presence. The Manchester United captain never let the Everton striker get on top of him, winning ten duels. He was unfortunate to see the ball deflecting off him from Gordon’s strike for the match-winner.
Alex Telles: 5/10
Telles returned to the starting lineup due to Luke Shaw’s absence. The Brazilian international failed to provide the creative threat that Rangnick would have wanted from him. At the same time, the nippy Gordon bothered him throughout the afternoon.
Fred’s afternoon lasted just 36 minutes as he went off with a niggle. But he had already played his part in Manchester United conceding the opening goal. The Brazilian lost the ball carelessly before Everton unleashed a blistering counter-attack that ended with Gordon’s strike.
Nemanja Matic: 5/10
Matic was not necessarily poor, but he should have been stronger in holding off Alex Iwobi in the build-up to Gordon’s goal. He always looked to push forward and opened up play nicely with a few accurate long passes. But he needed to play the ball at a quicker tempo to catch Everton off guard.
Marcus Rashford: 5/10
Rashford came close to scoring on two occasions early on, but Pickford denied him superbly. The Englishman flitted in and out of the proceedings after that and kicked the air when Bruno Fernandes found him with a brilliant long pass. All in all, it was another underwhelming outing for the Manchester United academy product.
Marcus Rashford's first half by numbers vs Everton:
100% shot accuracy (2/2)
100% aerial duels won (1/1)
82% final third pass accuracy
32 total touches
2 ball recoveries
1 interception made
A bright first half, off the left. ???????? pic.twitter.com/eWLil5WMiw
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 9, 2022
Bruno Fernandes: 6.5/10
Bruno Fernandes had some forgettable moments in the final third as he overhit a few passes while losing possession carelessly. But he was the only Manchester United who could have and did make things happen. His through ball to Rashford in the second half was delightful, and he deserved an assist for that. The Portuguese international needs better support from his teammates.
Jadon Sancho: 5.5/10
Saturday’s fixture was a rare game in which Sancho was anonymous for large portions of the game. When he did see the ball falling his way, the English international did not have the cutting edge to trouble the Everton defenders, with Mykolenko, in particular, doing well to keep him quiet.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 5/10
Ronaldo, the Player to Watch in our preview, endured a frustrating game on Saturday, as he was rarely in the position to aim for the goal, let alone score one. When the Portuguese international unleashed a big strike, Pickford was at hand to deny him.
Paul Pogba: 5/10
Pogba replaced Fred in the first half but did not do anything to convince Rangnick to hand him a start in the next game. The Frenchman saw a fair bit of the ball but never looked to take a risk with his passes or quicken the tempo. His Manchester United spell is coming to a forgettable end.
Juan Mata: 5/10
Mata was a surprise pick to come off the bench, with the Spaniard making his first appearance of the season. And the Spaniard was unsurprisingly rusty, even though he hardly misplaced a pass.
Anthony Elanga: 5/10
Elanga was a bundle of energy off the bench but did not create any moment wherein Manchester United could come into contention to score.
Frank Lampard is the Man of the Match.