Some goals just don’t the words to describe. In the third minute, Garnacho was able to produce one. It silenced an Everton crowd that had been relied up by the 10 points deduction handed out by the independent commission and this was their first game back. The first half was a very uncomfortable affair where a combination of Onana and Mainoo stopped the Toffees from equalising. Everton were well on top for the last 30 mins of the first half. The second began the same until Young felled Martial, which was rightly overturned by VAR. Rashford was able to score from the spot to give us breathing space. After that, it was basically United and Martial managed to put the exclamation point against his favourite opponent to score against. A first Premier League win of the season by more than 1 goal and just our second of the season. A great start to a difficult period of fixtures.

Floaty Kobbie

For as long as I could remember, United’s efficacy at playing through the thirds has been utterly putrid, when compared to their top 6 counterparts. In equal measure, that ability is matched in our efforts to control the game by taking the sting out of it. Retention under pressure is seemingly lost on large part of the playing personnel throughout these years as well.

With all the money spent, the basics of midfield play being lost on our team is quite a wonder. But just as we have had multiple times, it has been our academy that have managed to find a gem to ease the worries of an area, in the shape of Kobbie Mainoo. He has long been earmarked as one of the players to come through but the impact of his ascension was the real caveat. When he was constantly playing in pre season, it became clear that this was someone that Ten Hag clearly favoured. Any sense of what could be for the season was stooped when he picked an ankle injury serious enough to keep him out for 3 months.

This is an 18 year old kid who seemingly overstepped several senior players to become one of the starters. So much so that there was a consensus at how much his absence has hindered how well the team is able to play. In a cauldron of an atmosphere, he was entrusted with having his full debut at Goodison Park.

It doesn’t get much better than that when you think of the role he had to play. His touches were assured. He knew when inject pace into his touch so he could get away from his marker. When he wanted to keep it close to his body, his touches were soft enough that there were close enough to entice those to want a nibble and he was able to take it away. Under varying amounts of pressure too. His passing is not particularly as expansive but he has shown improvements in his ground line breaking passes. A lofted pass on the line to Bruno to set up a potential flash cross was the highlight of those passes. Positionally, there are times where he was able to recognise when we needed the numerical superiority by dropping back between the CBs to play against the duo of Everton in Doucoure and Calvert-Lewin to suppress their ability to press.

What was most striking was his temperament. In comparison to his midfield counterparts, it was almost night and day. McTominay and Bruno looked incredibly uncomfortable in the first half when they had to receive the ball with their backs to goal in the first phase. One passage of play that involved McTominay had him having to be cajoled into that position by Mainoo himself, one he refuses to take up usually. Then you see why when he had to play it back to Onana with immediacy. He was afraid to turn on it because of his lack of prowess in doing so. So you see why Mainoo today is as refreshing as he is. He is the antithesis of everything a deep lying United midfielder has been in the past 7 or so years.

Revving But Not Quite Purring

A lot has been made of the fact that in the Premier League, only Rashford out of our attackers has managed to notch a mark on the goal sheet. He only managed one as well, in our loss against Arsenal. Today all of the front three managed to get on the scoresheet. One spectacular, one from the spot and one off a smooth move.

Outside of that, the attackers were not great at all, particularly the aforementioned Rashford. He seems to find it so much more difficult on the right and some of his decision making today was kind of mind boggling. Especially one where he ignored a simple pass to an overlap from Maguire to dribble into three Everton bodies. Martial is shadow of himself physically and he has adapted himself to be somewhat of a mobile wall where he is just effective to play bounce passes. However, both of the goals in the second half came from this type of movement. Garnacho had an unspectacular game, where it was more huff and puff. But when you score a goal that good, that will be forgotten.