After last year’s affair, it surely couldn’t be any worse and it so told as United put up a much better fight. Alas, it only bore a fruit more as a terrible De Gea mistake leading to a Calvert-Lewin goal was cancelled out by a Bruno strike that Pickford should have saved
Diamond in the rough
A return of the diamond that became synonymous with Solskjaer’s golden run as interim manager made a return for the first time in a while. The main characteristic of employing a 10 that played a false nine was less so today as Bruno Fernandes played more like a conventional 10 but Martial and Greenwood still pulled wide into false winger positions that seemed to trouble the Everton back line in the first half. The CBs had no one to mark and were having to mark space or cover for the full backs. Something that the formation seemed to help were the options in possession, as it was the best we looked in that respect. Fred and McTominay were themselves pulling wider than conventional CMs would, for both defensive and offensive factors. This gave CBs and FBs in build up gave better options into feet rather than the usual stodgy options that the 4-2-3-1 provides. Defensively, these players coming into wider positions meant that when the ball turned over, the counter attack was easier for Everton and the second half gave them plenty of opportunities to do so. Work is needed to sure ourselves up in transition and to allow us to break down deeper blocks with greater precision but all in all, between the boxes when it came time for us to progress play, there were positives
Everton had scored 9 goals from corners, a league best, and United have conceded the most from corners in the league so it seemed destined that one of their goals would come from there, if you were a betting man. But the intervention of Maguire, it would have surely been the case. Towards the end of the game, as the pressure ramped up, Everton managed to keep getting corners and with the set piece expertise of Sigurdsson, it was an uneasy seat to be in as a Man Utd fan. The corners were whipped into dangerous areas and each time, it seemed as if the ball was attracted to the captain’s head. He took charge of the situation, ensuring that he would go to attack the hall rather than being more concerned with marking his man or protecting a zone. It is a responsibility he has shirked too often this season but if there was any day for him to do it, then it would be today.
7 errors leading to goals in 18 months should be enough for De Gea to have to fight for his position in the first XI. His shot stopping has always been stellar but this has even dropped so it only exacerbates the different types of gaffs he has thrown up within this period has made the shadow of Dean Henderson only loom larger as his performances for Sheffield Utd are as consistent and he is particularly sharper in terms of his distribution. The Spaniard needs to step up his game or what is currently happening to his compatriot at Stamford Bridge surely lays in wait for him
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