An astonishing performance from Marouane Fellaini ensured that Everton took all three points from Goodison Park in the opening game of the season against much-fancied Manchester United.
The Belgian looked utterly inspired from first minute to last, dominating every aspect of midfield with cushioned layoffs, intricate first touches, aerial strength and pinpoint passing to leave luminaries such as Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney utterly bewildered in his wake.
Whilst Fellaini was the protagonist, his supporting cast where all superb in a performance that will last long in the memory of Everton fans everywhere.
The pre-match hype had been exclusively about Manchester United and Robin van Persie, and Everton were, as usual, playing second fiddle to media superstars, hoping to spoil the script.
So you can imagine the horror when Everton put Manchester United on the back foot from the first minute. Whilst United dominated possession – mostly in their own half – Everton had much more effective cutting edge, with Osman hitting a fierce volley on the spin, Fellaini hitting the post as he cut in on the inside and Baines stinging the hands of de Gea with a well hit free kick just three examples of multiple chances in the opening half.
The second half began as the same. With the camera continuously focussing on Robin Van Persie for all viewers of Sky, Everton simply carried on playing football. Leon Osman smashed a sweetly struck volley off the underside of the bar, and Everton could have been three or four up.
The breakthrough finally came, and it was a thoroughly deserved goal for the imperious Marouane Fellaini as he rose to smash in a header from a corner to send Goodison Park into raptures.
Introducing the Everton Mishmash!
Manchester United had chances – Welbeck dragged wide of the post, Rooney failed to hit the mark on several occasions etc. and they pushed on in the last 20 minutes as Everton tired. But it´d be a very, very biased Manchester United fan to say Everton didn´t comprehensively deserve the victory.
Van Persie stole the headlines before the show – but it will be a big Belgian with a spectacular afro that gets the attention tomorrow.
Unlucky Sky and your media darlings, better luck next time.