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