Back in Old Trafford, some outstanding matches are popping up these days. There had been an exhibition of compactness, free-flowing goal-scoring displays and then last night it was an absolute thriller. In the Theatre of Dreams, such thrillers are nothing new, but as a matter of fact, they never get old.

It was Manchester United who took the lead in the 24th minute courtesy of Edinson Cavani, who headed home Marcus Rashford’s delicious cross at the back post.

And, having taken the lead, Manchester United seemed to step up a gear and doubled their advantage on the stroke of half time through Bruno Fernandes, who curled an exquisite right-footed shot over the keeper into the top corner from outside the box.

Everton hit back almost instantly in the second half, getting back on level terms within seven minutes of the restart with quick-fire goals from Abdoulaye Doucoure and James Rodriguez as the Manchester United defence failed to hold on.

The Red Devils pulled ahead once again in the 70th minute through Scott McTominay and looked to have secured the three points but Dominic Calvert-Lewin popped up with a goal in the 95th minute as Everton came from behind to secure a dramatic 3-3 draw.

With that dramatic finish, the Toffees of Carlo Ancelotti move up to sixth in the table, three points off fourth-placed Liverpool with a game in hand over their Merseyside rivals, while a frustrated Manchester United stay second in the table.

Both the teams had the intent to attack and make their presence felt at Old Trafford.

Manchester United’s Luke Shaw and Everton’s Lucas Digne have both made significant contributions for their teams this season in terms of creating chances and assists.

And, with Digne linking up with Richarlison on Everton’s left flank and Shaw doing likewise with Rashford, a lot of the attacking play from both sides came down the left flank and it contributed in keeping the game alive and kicking all the time.

Then there was that master from Uruguay, whose free transfer to Old Trafford raised many eyebrows, but in each match he is proving that why is he regarded as one most dangerous attackers in modern day football.

Cavani has proven to be an extremely shrewd acquisition for the Red Devils. He has arguably played himself into the role of the first-choice striker at the club.

Everton is the club that would be particularly sick of the sight of the Uruguayan, with Cavani having scored against the Toffees on each of the three occasions he has faced them this season.

With six goals (and counting) in the league at this stage, not only has Cavani put to bed questions regarding his own fitness and ability, but he has also brought a wealth of experience with him to United.

It has also elevated the game of his fellow attackers at the club.

But what would one say about the shakiness in Manchester United defence?

They were well composed in the first half and it resulted in giving the players up front more freedom to attack. After the break the compactness faded and fragility took place.

The first goal conceded result of a weak parry into the danger area from David de Gea which led to conceding the second – lack of concentration was clearly evident. And in the stoppage-time, again, the disorganized backline triggered the comeback of the Toffees.

Harry Maguire was caught sleeping when Tom Davies played in Calvert-Lewin to set up Doucoure for Everton’s first and it was a lack of concentration at the back again to allow James Rodriguez to score their second.

A clumsy foul by late substitute Axel Tuanzebe, replacing the injured Eric Bailly, gave away a free-kick and the spot-kick was never dealt with enough purpose by the Manchester United defenders.

Maguire was protesting in vain for a handball for Everton’s last-gasp equalizer but the United captain cannot be expected to be given a helping hand from the officials when their defending just wasn’t good enough and yet again they were undone at a set-piece. Maguire was the one who dropped deep to play Everton’s players onside in the lead-up to the equalizer.

The Red Devils have shown their intent to attack, but it would not bear fruits until and unless they organize their defence.

Then the absence of Paul Pogba could be talked about. The creative and impactful midfielder has been the key factor that helped Manchester United to fare well this season. He contributed in key passes, important goals, and even tackles by dropping deep and after he limped off in the first half, somehow, the midfield of Manchester United lost its dynamism, even though his replacement Fred kept the solidity alive.

From Everton’s point of view, their inconsistency made them suffer a lot this season.

Injuries to key personnel throughout the season have not helped their cause, with the Toffees being habituated to script frustrating results after a positive one.

Everton’s inconsistencies were reflected in their last five league fixtures, in which they racked up two wins, two defeats, and a draw, leaving them seventh in the league going into this encounter with their form impossible to pin down.

At Old Trafford, it could have been another of those dodgy and frustrating nights, but thankfully, the players pulled their socks up and exploited the loopholes of the hosts.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin got back his goal-scoring abilities, James Rodriguez proving impactful along with Gylfy Sigurdsson and Doucoure putting up a great show that should inspire the whole team. Again, Tom Davies enjoyed a great night at the center of the park and Michael Keane dictated the game well from the backline.


A night to remember for the Toffees and football fans – and on Sunday they would be expecting another thrilling affair at Anfield.

Facebook Comments