Everton failed to keep the pressure on for a Champions League spot today at Old Trafford, as Manchester United saw off the Toffees in a 2-0 win.
Sylvain Distin pulled out just before the whistle to an injury sustained in the warm-up which gave Dutchman John Heitinga a chance to redeem himself after his poor display against Aston Villa last week. Phil Neville returned in at right back, allowing Jagielka to slot back into the centre alongside Heitinga in the hope of dealing with the threat of United’s front men, Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
United started off brightly and was determined in not letting Everton settle early in the game with a couple of chances from Rooney & Van Persie.
With Pienaar starting on the right from the whistle , Moyes was hoping to use Mirallas‘ pace on the left in an attempt to cause Rafael problems and force him into early mistakes, but instead the Brazilian stood his ground well in containing both Pienaar and Mirallas when they swapped back to their normal positions.
It wasn’t long into the game when Van Persie skipped passed Heitinga to set up Ryan Giggs, to see his right footed effort deflect off the post and cross the line.
Everton‘s only real first half chances came when Leon Osman‘s 18 yard half foot volley forced De Gea into turning it around the post resulting in a corner which then both Gibson and Mirallas further attempts at goal was blocked by Vidic and Cleverley. With 10 minutes to go before half time, De Gea was forced into another save with a close range header from Fellaini and from then on it looked like one of them days for Everton in attempt to come away with any points.
Everton tried to get back into the game but our hopes were crushed yet again, when Rafael played a defence splitting pass into Van Persie allowing Phil Neville to play the Dutchman onside to round Howard and put united 2-0 before the interval.
No early changes were made at half time by Moyes but that was soon to change after Anichebe limped off, forcing Moyes to bring on the Croatian Jelavic in attempt to pick up were he left off, in the two goals he previously scored against United in last season 4-4 thriller. Everton never really capitalised on any second half chances either and could have well gone 3-0 down if it wasn’t for Tim Howard‘s reflex save from the head of Evans and his second chance stab at goal, only to be cleared off the line from Jelavic.
Everton now remain 6 points off 4th spot and hope to regain form with next league away match against Norwich. (“lets be having them”)
The Everton Forum’s Man Of The Match: Phil Jagielka– Solid at the back again, also great covering for a couple of Everton players that were caught out of position during periods of the game.