Strikes from Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial on a cold Manchester evening may have ended Everton’s three-match winning streak, but Marco Silva still has a lot to be positive about going forward.
United’s French stars netted either side of the break to hand all three points to the home side.
Despite a resilient showing from Everton, Gylfi Sigurdsson’s late penalty proved only a consolation as the Icelandic midfielder equalled his goal tally from last season in 23 fewer games.
But the outcome could have been so different from a royal blue perspective.
‘You’re not fit to referee…’
If Sunday’s battle showed anything, it was why no English referees were selected to officiate at this year’s World Cup in Russia.
Jon Moss awarded the Red Devils a penalty after 25 minutes, a spot kick Everton were rightly aggrieved about and left Silva bitter.
Idrissa Gueye was adjudged to have fouled Martial but on closer inspection, the Senegal international was shown to have cleanly won the ball, with United’s number 11 massively exaggerating contact after losing control.
Jordan Pickford, who was probably the Blues’ best player on the day, saved his second spot-kick in as many games but Pogba was quickest to the rebound.
Before the start of the 2017/18 campaign, the Football Association announced a plan that would hopefully eradicate diving from the game.
Two match bans for anyone who performs ‘successful deception of a match official’ was the claim, but to this date Everton’s very own Oumar Niasse and West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini are the only men to face retrospective action.
Will Martial face any action? Don’t make me laugh.
Jose Mourinho has come under some of the heaviest scrutiny of his career over the last few weeks, but the 55-year-old got it spot on by identifying the Toffees’ right side as a weak point.
Both of United’s goals were orchestrated from their left.
It is fair to say both Theo Walcott and Seamus Coleman won’t have enjoyed Match of the Day 2 on Sunday night after their day at Old Trafford. Luke Shaw, Pogba and Martial won’t have many easier days.
The pair were nowhere to be seen when Martial took a tumble in the box. But it was his strike in the 49th minute that got the people talking.
The winger drifted past Coleman with ease before curling the ball round a helpless Pickford whilst Walcott was ambling from the halfway line completely forgetting his defensive duties.
Ademola Lookman showed positive signs when he entered proceedings on the hour and the young Englishman would be right to be disappointed if he doesn’t replace Walcott in the starting 11 against Brighton on Saturday.
Bernard, Bernard, Bernard…
Everton were the aggressors as soon as United’s second went in and the points could’ve and maybe should’ve, been at least split if Bernard had kept his cool.
The little Brazilian has proved astute business after his free transfer from Shakhtar over the summer, but his miss against United was poor.
He rounded David De Gea but hit the side netting of a goal that was lacking its ‘keeper.
But at the end of the day it is all ifs, buts and maybes.
10 games into the new Premier League season and it is clear that this is going to a be a long transition from last term’s nightmare. A transition that requires patience, but one that is showing signs of life.
Everton came away with zero points and have to put that right when they face an in-form Brighton and Hove Albion at Goodison on Saturday.