Everton, that. Another visit to Old Trafford, another defeat. A tale as old as time (or 2013).
It shows how much things have changed in recent months that we’re disappointed with losing 2-1 with a half-decent team performance and a diabolical refereeing one, compare that to last year when we got stonked 4-0. That being said, Manchester United are also a different team this year and showed against worse teams that they can be there for the taking. Never mind, we wouldn’t love the Blues half as much if they didn’t make us fume, would we?
Everton went unchanged from the squad that started against Crystal Palace, something the Sky Sports interviewer made sure to point out to the manager following the heroics of the subs. I’m not too sure I understood Marco’s response, but it could be because I’m a massive racist because I spelled Wan-Bissaka’s name wrong last week. Man United dropped Romelu “bad fucking juice head” Lukaku (thank you Chico) who is probably counting down the days he gets to go on international duty so he can gab about how he’s always dreamed of playing for a big club like Guangzhou Evergrande.
Everton fared well for 2/3rds of the first half. The front four were playing off each other well and created a great early chance on goal, ultimately squandered by Bernard. Unfortunately, creating good chances and wasting them became the theme of the afternoon, much like my life. Andre Gomes got himself a haircut and made grown men melt like your mum reading Fifty Shades, but it didn’t do him any good when he put his free header straight into the arms of De Gea. About 20 minutes in, I put down a note that Jon Moss was doing a half decent job officiating the game, that got fucking scribbled out 5 minutes later with a shithouse penalty decision.
This country’s most knowledgeable football pundit Gary Neville (think about that) admitted after 4 minutes of replays that Gueye *just might* have got the ball in the tackle – by that time Paul Pogba was halfway through his penalty run up. It was a ridiculous penalty – booed even by the home fans – but Pickford still had to save it without giving up which way he would go. It was sod’s law that the ball had to bounce that perfectly in front of the human meme for him to tap into the other side of the net. Peak Everton.
It’s easy enough to say you want to play without fear at a big stadium, but when things go for you like it did in those few minutes, it’s difficult to keep your head up. I get nihilistic when there’s nothing to eat in the fridge. Everton pushed for the equaliser before half time, but again a free header in the United box went harmlessly into the arms of their goalkeeper, this time from the head of Sigurdsson. Half time came, along with the fume.
Second half started off and we thought that we could get back into this game easily, we had a good few chances that weren’t put away and shouldn’t have been 1-0 down. So naturally we had to give up a second goal 3 minutes in, fucking Everton. Anthony Martial had a field day down the left, encountering little to no resistance from Seamus, who’s lost a bit of pace, or Theo, who couldn’t be arsed getting back. It was a good finish, but when completely unchallenged any quality player can punish you from there. Apparently he scores frequently against us, but I’m usually 6 beers in by that time as I try to dull the pain.
We did get a chance to get back into the game shortly after, Bernard was through on goal and had the chance to either pass it to Walcott to pass into the empty net, or get around the lunging keeper and shoot. The latter didn’t work. I do like the wee Brazilian (without needing to see his voting history in the recent election), but FFS. It was that kind of game for the Blues. They created chances, but someone made a good point that if the same front 4 couldn’t get one against Crystal Palace, what chance did they have against Man United?
Eventually United got into the game more, and frigged some chances up themselves. At least we can take solace in that we haven’t spent £90m+ on players who can hardly score (yet). Romelu had spurned his own free header opportunity near the end – as much as I don’t like him, at least we managed to get some decent money for the big lummox, instead of the bad Wavertree meff I won’t talk about until we play Chelsea next.
But, hark! A sight as rare as loyalty in football, or Mancunians in the Stretford End. A penalty for Everton at Old Trafford, awarded by the Great Mass of Moss himself! Of course, Chris Smalling would have got a second yellow for that actual foul anywhere else on the pitch, but small victories and all that. Richarlison tried taking the ball off Sigurdsson, probably because he might have actually had a shot on goal as the striker, but he got told to jog on and Gylfi buried the pen. 2-1, and our first scored penalty there since the 1960s.
Unfortunately we never put them on the back foot for the final 15 minutes, even when we brought on a striker 30 minutes after going 2-0 down. The best chance for either side landed to Martial in the 93rd, but couldn’t beat Pickford in a 1-on-1 on account of Jordan’s massive testicles. Love the crazy bastard. If you want a quick summary of how the game went, skip to our final kick of the game on 96 minutes when we had everyone including the goalie in the box, only for Digne to fail to beat the first man from the corner. Everton, that.
Slowly but surely – For all my moaning, it wasn’t that awful of a performance. Gomes is increasingly looking like the perfect partner to Gueye, and Digne looks like he replaced Baines about 3 years ago. And like I said, we lost 4-0 there last year. But the next three away games are all more difficult, against better opposition. This was a good chance to set a precedent of not shitting the bed in these type of games.
Subs to start – Lookman looked good when he came on and should start ahead of a disappointing Walcott against Brighton. Also, Cenk should be up front now – Richarlison isn’t working there.
VAR what it’s worth – Premier League referees are shite. We need three of them in a room in London to make judgements around a TV.