Manchester United came out 2-1 winners in their Premier League match against Everton on Sunday, as goals by Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial ensured that Gylfi Sigurdsson's penalty was just a consolation.
The game had an open feel to it from the get-go, as both teams pushed forward in search of the first goal. The first chance of the game fell Everton's way in the 15th minute as Andre Gomes found himself with a free header from a corner, but he could only direct it straight at David De Gea.
In the 25th minute, United were awarded a penalty as Anthony Martial was brought down by Idrissa Gueye. Pogba's spot-kick was initially saved by Jordan Pickford, but the Frenchman was fortunate to poke in the rebound, putting the Red Devils 1-0 up.
Despite a multitude of chances at both ends of the pitch, the score remained 1-0 as the teams went into half-time .
Manchester United started the second-half strongly and were rewarded in the 48th minute as Martial's exquisite curling effort found its way into the bottom corner to put José Mourinho's side 2-0 to the good.
Everton almost found an immediate response three minutes later, but Bernard, having rounded De Gea, inexplicably missed the target with the goal gaping.
In the 76th minute, Everton were provided a lifeline in the match as Chris Smalling's rash challenge brought down Richarlison in the penalty area. Sigurdsson stepped up and smashed the penalty into the top-corner, halving the deficit.
In the 94th minute, Martial had a golden chance to seal the victory for his side but, having been played one-on-one with Jordan Pickford, could not beat the English shot-stopper. United held on for the points though, in what felt like a significant win.
Key Talking Point
With Romelu Lukaku relegated to the bench for United's game against Everton, all eyes were on how the Red Devils' front three would perform without the Belgian striker.
Free flowing footy.— kenna (@kennagq) October 28, 2018
Unimpeded by lukaku's Timberlands
From the very start, the front three, consisting of Martial, Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata, played with a fluidity that has rarely been seen at United this season.
Whilst Rashford, who had taken Lukaku's place, did not get on the scoresheet himself, he stretched Everton's defence throughout.
Starting XI: De Gea (7), Young (7), Smalling (7), Lindelöf (7), Shaw (6), Fred (7), Matic (6), Pogba (9), Mata (8), Rashford (7), Martial (9*)
Substitutes: Sánchez, Lukaku (6), Lingard (N/A), Rojo, Herrera (6), Romero, Darmian
Martial can't go home today without signing that contract, don't care how long it takes— José (@MourinhoMindset) October 28, 2018
The French forward won the penalty for Pogba's first-half goal and produced a moment of sheer quality when he curled the ball beyond the despairing Jordan Pickford. Whilst Martial's contract negotiations seem to be stalling, nothing is stopping the winger on the pitch at the moment.
WORST PLAYER - Despite Manchester United's impressive performance, Nemanja Matic seemed to struggle in their midfield. The rapid pace of the game seemed to inhibit the Serbian's natural game and he was often bypassed by the likes of Sigurdsson and Richarlison.
What is Matic doing? He looks off form, slow, not aware of his position and looks like he’s on a mission to get 164849262 yellow cards.— Haiqal Lestat (@HaiqalLestat) October 28, 2018
Matic had the look of a tired player and there is an argument to suggest that he is in need of a rest. On Sunday afternoon's showing, there could be some validity to this.
Key Talking Point
Having beaten Crystal Palace with two late goals from Marco Silva's substitutes last week, the question was whether Everton would start with Cenk Tosun up front or play Richarlison as a makeshift striker.
Richarlson takes the pen we win our bet. Silva got it wrong tosun and Richarlson up top why put Richarlson on the wing everytime he has it he looks a massive danger uptop, just no creativity there.— John Bobbel (@JohnBobbel) October 28, 2018
Silva's decision was to stick with the latter and it did not pay off.
In fact, it was only after he brought on Tosun that Everton sparked into life in the attacking third and scored their consolation goal. Everton's manager may well consider starting Tosun against Brighton next week.
Starting XI: Pickford (7), Coleman (6), Keane (6), Zouma (6), Digne (5), Gomes (6), Gueye (5), Walcott (6), Sigurdsson (7), Bernard (4), Richarlison (7)
Substitutes: Baines, Mina, Tosun (6), Stekelenburg, Davies, Calvert-Lewin (6), Lookman (6)
STAR MAN - Despite being on the losing side, Gylfi Sigurdsson should be proud of his performance at Old Trafford. The Icelandic midfielder provided a constant and direct threat.
The midfielder's passing was at times exquisite, and he looked to get on the end of balls into the box throughout. Of all the Everton players, Sigurdsson can count himself the most unlucky to have been on the losing side. However, his performance did not go totally unrewarded as he scored a penalty for his side.
WORST PLAYER - Everton's summer signing, Bernard, was catastrophically poor. The Brazilian winger often seemed to be trying too hard and was guilty of losing possession all too often.
That Bernard bloke at Everton is hopeless isn't he. Just pace and nothing else, might as well have Lookman in there— Sam ✌️ (@SamiUKOfficial) October 28, 2018
Bernard's poor afternoon was capped off when, having gone past De Gea, the Brazilian subsequently put the ball into the side-netting when an open goal beckoned. This was the final straw for Marco Silva as he decided to hook the winger in favour of Ademola Lookman.
Next up for Manchester United is a trip to high-flying Bournemouth, who dispatched Fulham 3-0 on Saturday. Having won two and drawn one of their last three league games, United seem to have regained some form after a poor start to the campaign.
Everton, meanwhile, play against Brighton at Goodison Park. Marco Silva's side have impressed in spurts this season and need to be more consistent with their performance levels. However, Brighton at home represents an easier fixture than Manchester United at Old Trafford.