Game in a sentence

For just the fourth time in 21 matches Everton defeats Manchester United at Goodison Park to produce the first real shocker of the new season.

Observations

  • Truly an electric atmosphere at Goodison Park. Robin van Persie was on the substitutes bench beside fellow striker Dimitar Berbatov – two men in very different positions, wonder what they chatted about. The much ballyhooed Shinji Kagawa made his debut.
  • Much was made of Nani’s stellar performance at Euro 2012 – worthy praise, he was fantastic. Unfortunately the dreaded ‘Old Nani’ was on full display in the opening stages. A strong challenge by Sylvain Distin went unpunished by referee Andre Mariner – a good call – Nani reacted by complaining bitterly. He was rewarded with a yellow card after a dicey challenge of his own, most likely given because of his mouth.
  • Marouane Fellaini was incredible throughout. United – without the services of Rio Ferdinand – struggled to contain the Belgian jack of all trades. Come for the hair, stay for the superb football.
  • If Fellaini was the star of the first half, David de Gea came a close second. A trio of remarkable saves including two huge stops on Leon Osman kept the game level. Hard to believe this was the same man who struggled so mightily upon his arrival in England. Today he’s arguably the best keeper in the country.
  • Your obligatory Paul Scholes is old stat of the day via Opta Sports. The midfielder tallied his 91st yellow card placing him third all time behind Kevin Davies and Lee Boyer in the annals of the premier league’s hall of risky challenges.
  •   Ferdinand’s absence would be a large factor in the game – his replacement, Michael Carrick, was repeatedly out muscled by Fellaini. The mismatch led to the games first goal in the 57th minute. Once again Fellaini skied over Carrick and headed the ball past de Gea. A well deserved lead for an Everton side that played attacking, inventive football throughout the match.
  •  United nearly equalized ten minutes later. Phil Jagielka – who was pretty damn great – cleared Tom Cleverley’s shot off the line.
  • The man of the hour made his United debut with twenty minutes remaining. Hard to remember the last time Robin van Persie came off the bench – probably sooner than i realize – but it was a strange sight nonetheless when he replaced Danny Welbeck. Stranger to see him in a red shirt without white sleeves.
  • They didn’t get their famed five added minutes, but United came close to equalizing in the opening moments of injury time courtesy of an Anderson strike. United’s prized additions weren’t a factor in this game. Kagawa had a few moments but nothing truly special and van Persie never asserted himself – Ferguson would’ve been better off introducing him at the half.
  • Week one ends with the first true upset of the 2012/13 campaign. Everton were full value for the win and the trio of Fellaini, Osman and Jagielka was superb.

Three Stars

1. Marouane Fellaini
2. Phil Jagielka
3. David de Gea

Comments (17)

  1. Got home in time to see the goal – great game. Kagawa looks like a very smart midfielder, can’t wait to see more of him in the EPL.

  2. Not entirely sure I’d call this a “shocker”, ManUtd had real injury problems at the back, and you always favour Everton to steal a point at home. Win might be a bit surprising, mind. I think ManUtd looked pretty unorganized going forward and it hurt them.

    Also think KJ was right on Jelavic. Perfect player for Everton who will do damage in that system. Everton could be superb at home. Hope them and one Newcastle United can really push those “top 6″ clubs once again this year.

  3. Have to disagree that De Gea is ‘arguably the best keeper in the country’. Sure, he’s a good shot stopper but he couldn’t catch a cross if his life depended on it, and he doesn’t command his area at all. Hart is miles better. Reina, Cech, Friedel and Krul are also better, Vorm arguably too. Otherwise some good points, how Scholes wasn’t sent off is beyond me, he made so many late/dangerous challenges.

    • I’ll give you Hart and Krul, not sure about Reina and Friedel.

    • Friedel’s past it; Reina and Cech are getting there if not already there. I like De Gea.

    • Completely agree pal with all of your comments. De Gea solely a shot stopper – not close to a complete keeper, Scholes is a disgrace without the ball…

  4. Danny Welbeck should not be starting games for Manchester United. It’s that simple.

  5. Nani was disastrous. But for some reason, United kept passing wide to attempt a cross in. Come on, we bought Kagawa! Play more centrally to fully utilize him!

  6. Kagawa got wasted. He played very well, gave some excellent through balls yet Man U kept wanting to go wide with Nani and Evra, who couldn’t complete a cross if their lives depended on it.
    The 4-3-3 formation does not work for United, especially since the midfield is composed of attacking minded players and not 1 ball winner.
    Man u fans need to pray that one of their CB’s get back soon because they could really use Carrick back in that midfield.

  7. Lack of creativity from the mid field yet again. Kagawa was misused (if he is to be the much heralded answer to the midfield problems) and United looked like a team without any penetration that didn’t involve kicking the ball among themselves until they got frustrated and put it wide for a woeful attempt to connect with well covered strikers. Very frustrating to watch. Van Persie (spoiled by Song and others) must be struggling to hold his tongue after that shite display of final 3rd passing.

    Carrick as CB is weak and Fragile Ferdinand needs a better replacement for his ever increasing rehab time.

  8. If Everton can turn this one match into a trend breaker for their usually slow start of the year, they could be on track for an excellent season. Fellaini has given United headaches for a while now, reminiscent of how Duncan Ferguson used to batter us and cause problems.

    SB

  9. Meh, a pretty crap performance with Kagawa and De Gea being two of the few positives. Nani was woeful, but I’m sure he will bounce back.

    Not mentioned in the article (unless I missed it) but Rooney was terrible and he really needs to get rid of that “needs a few games to be anywhere near useful after a long break” problem he seems to have.

    As for Carrick at CB, I wonder if playing a youngster would have been any worse (it still probably wouldn’t have prevented the goal). Against teams without a physical presence up front, Carrick is fine; but surprise, surprise Everton matched up Fellaini against the two midfielders in defence and he dominated.

    Also, I can’t recall Scholes being at his most effective without a holding player beside him, so Carrick’s presence in midfield was desperately missed.

    Hopefully Evans is back against Fulham (I think he is the closet injured defender to returning) and Carrick can slot into midfield to give some more protection and solidity. Once again however, it seems a holding midfielder to at least cover for Carrick is needed when he is out or has to drop into defence.

  10. de gea was beyond phenomenal, the lack of a genuine centerback beside vidic was beyond frustrating, as was the erratic performance of evra. kagawa looked really really good, welbeck too, van persie looked hungry and was frustrated that united couldn’t create the type of chances he needs and was getting at arsenal, obviously it was only 20 minutes but still united’s high crossing tendency was really annoying seeing as 90% of the crosses were overhit. rooney wasn’t great, and neither was cleverly. if we want to keep the 4-2-3-1 i think carrick needs to be in the 2, obviously we need a one of our three sidelines cb’s to come back for that to happen. at least one of the 2 needs to be a holding mid for the formation to work optimally. i also think kagawa and rooney should retain their positions and switch throughout the match, rooney has enough versatility to adapt to the left wing while kagawa was at his best in the hole. he looks like he’ll only get better and could be exactly what chicharito was in his first year, steal of the summer transfer market. and a right back needs to be bought or rafael needs to be trusted. valencia is wasted back there he’s so much more productive creating chaos on the advanced right, it looked like there were too many people in his way, especially teammates, for him to bring the ball all the way from right back position. all in all it looked like the traditional united slow start of the good old days, title number 20 doesn’t look unreasonable and a deep champion’s league run with the 4 striker (possibly 5 if berbatov stays) rotation showing its worth is doable.

  11. This goes to prove that this season holds no underdog. Liverpool also suffered a massive upset to West Brom, Arsenal could only secure a point against sunderland and Chelsea had to work extra hard to hold Wigan from a 2-0 comeback. Man city were able to secure three points with a 3-2 win against southampton. Let look forward to a very competitive season.

  12. Once the CBs come back, Utd will be more than fine. RvP looked sharp (damn him!) he just didn’t get the service. Fergie will figure out the proper formation and bench the players who aren’t pulling their weight.

    The problem is that Utd can’t afford to drop “easy points”. Or…beat City and Chelsea head to head. It’ll be a fascinating season.

  13. This game was all Everton. United looked stale. Everton were vibrant and exciting. Fellaini was excellent! Holding up play, linking play, being pysical, and most importantly scoring the only goal! United didn’t know how to deal with him.

    I thought Ferguson got it wrong. 4-3-3 doesn’t suit United, as he’s tried to play this way in the pass. This team is a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1, that’s it. When they set up in different ways, they look very average. Rooney and Welbeck weren’t able to link up. The middle was too crowded, with no width. Poor deliveries into the penalty area giving no threat to Everton’s defence.

    DeGea was brilliant, and if not for him, it could’ve been embarassing for United. Very underated keeper.

    With RVP and Kagawa, Fergie must find a system to work for hid new personel. Or it’ll be a long season…

  14. Superb performance from Fellaini, but it could have surely been prevented. United didn’t seem to prepare for the same man that caused them so many problems last season. Everything should have been done to stop Fellaini even if it meant sticking Valencia in the 3 man midfield to match his strength.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *