Matchday Live: Everton v. Manchester United

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After the heart-wrenching way last season ended for all associated with Manchester United, the new season couldn’t get here fast enough.

It hasn’t been easy to relive the end of last season countless times through adverts, montages, and other unwelcome but unavoidable reminders, and reliving them many more times throughout this season won’t be easy either.

However, optimism that last season’s bad memories can be put in the back of the mind should be high. Sure, United haven’t signed that midfielder that many feel is required, and big-money targets Eden Hazard and Lucas Moura opted for other options, but the signings of two top talents in Japanese star Shinji Kagawa and one Robin van Persie have signaled some serious intent and generated a great deal of excitement and anticipation ahead of tonight’s season-opening visit to Everton.

That the outcome of last meeting against Everton was one of the defining reasons last season turned out as it did is another reason why anticipation is at a high level as well. A win tonight won’t make up for last season’s costly 4-4 draw at Old Trafford, but it is required for multiple reasons, and it’s fair to say that if United take a two-goal lead at any point tonight, there will be no letup or loss of concentration.

A win won’t come easy though, as Everton have no fear about going toe-to-toe with United from start to finish, as we’ve seen time and again.

And while there’s plenty of optimism for United, there’s no doubt plenty on Everton’s end, as they finished last season on a nine-match unbeaten run and come into the new season with a strong core. Jack Rodwell departed earlier this month, somewhat surprisingly moving to City in an eight-figure deal, and while he’ll certainly be missed, Everton will more than cope, as he never started more than 17 Premier League matches in any of his four seasons as a first-team regular. The sale of Tim Cahill to Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls is a bigger blow, but it’s not a catastrophic one either, as his production had taken a dip last season and he’s well on the wrong side of 30.

David Moyes has had a little money to spend this summer, not that he needs it, given how much he’s accomplished with few expensive signings. Another signing or two could yet arrive at Goodison Park before the window closes, but Moys will have to be pleased with the business that has been done to this point. Steven Pienaar was snapped up permanently, while Rangers striker Steven Naismith fell into their lap for free, and part of the Rodwell funds have been used to fund a swoop for Belgian striker Kevin Mirallas, who fired in a league-leading 20 goals to help Olympiakos win yet another Greek title.

With minimal key losses and the aforementioned quality additions, the pieces are in place for the Toffees to be a very dangerous side this season. With one of the Premier League’s top keepers in Tim Howard, an experienced back line, a strong midfield, and Mirallas and star January signing Nikica Jelavic leading an attack that now has more bite than in some time, a top-six finish is well within reach.

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16 Comments

  1. Interesting choice of formation from Ferguson. Good to see Kagawa playing in his preferred position behind the striker.

    As both Van Persie and Welbeck can play wide we may be seeing this set up quite often this season.

  2. Impressed with Kagawa he seems very comfortable in possession and that through ball to release Welbeck was quality

    Anyone else think Fellaini is the missing piece in the puzzle? He is a beast in Everton’s midfield and doing great to break up our play and wins every header in midfield.

  3. Oh I wish we would sign Fellaini he would be our answer to Yaya Toure. Great goal and the best player on the pitch.

  4. lol you really needed rvp with no center halfs cant stop laughing,watching fellani man handle your players.yes you should buy fellani and yaya and and and lol.

    • @oz: he did good today against a mf with 2 yellows after 13 min and a makeshift defense. Great player we would be lucky to get him. But I somehow don’t think everton fans would be as classy as arsenal fans are about their best player taking his trade to another prem club. 😉

  5. Uh we are still no more advanced in our tactics. Same old rubbish of shunting it out wide and putting hopeful balls into the box.

  6. Won’t be surprised if RVP asks for transfer after seeing this United side.It is still 10 days left till the window gets close. 🙁

  7. Rooney and Evra almost always manages to fuck up every build up and move. Incredible. And Nani was the worst player on the pitch today.

    Rooney had the lowest pass completion rate (Source: Opta Sports)

  8. Andy I don’t think the tactics helped at all. We set up as some sort of 4-3-3 but all it achieved is that we didn’t get enough people in the box , ran into traffic through the middle and resorted to desperate crosses into the box.

  9. as usual our lack of midfeild bites us in the ass…i have no idea why we persisted with carrick in central defense, as good as even our inform defenders struggled with Fellani last year. Why did Fergie believe it would be any different. And also why was Scholes still on? We were so lacking energy in the last 10 minutes which is usually when we crank up the pressure…we have good solid kids in defence and we should have goe with them…and finally ashley young..dreadful

  10. Nothing new learnt today we didnt already know really.
    That being we lack any real steel in the midfield so are easily bullied by physical teams like everton, and that our tactics are still piss poor and we set out our team far far too one dimensionally. Same old story really.
    Only positive was kagawa who looked dangerous all night. If we can get the ball to him, and play him in his preferred role, weve got a real player on our hands there.
    But doesnt help when you’ve got players like scholes looking to pass back to the keeper at every given opportunity rather than look to make a forward pass.

  11. Couple of pointers lads,

    1. What a player Marouane Fellaini is! he seemed like the best target man in the world today, he won 90% of his headers and linked up play very well. He defineatly would give Yaya Toure a run for his money. I’m not interested Kaka- Sign either him or his compatriot Alex Witsel up. This was a defensive/central midfielder being played upfront. Even Rio would have had a hard time. Well done Carrick- you did your best

    2. I am a firm beleiver of kagawa. I can go as far as to say i was thoroughly impressed. What impressed me the most was his ability to play people in through the middle. It has been severely lacking in Manchester United. he did well against a physical Everton side. Special praise reserved for our Man of the Match- DAVID DE GEA ( he single handedly kept us in the game)

    3. Wayne Rooney- Well the less i say about him the better. He was slow, lethargic and UNFIT…. First game of the season though.. On that note, all our wingers were dismal as well. No exception! Poor crossing, poor passes, they never beat a man, never gelled with the full backs… All in all POOR PERFORMANCE UNITED

    4. Our Midfield- Well put it this way, how is cleverly an upgrade? Why do we all believe his our saving grace. I see nothing but a safe midfield player that can and will be bullied. His passing is average, he’s not willing to have a shot, in fairness to him- he is good at keeping the ball ticking BUT when the going gets tough, we need a bit more than that. lets all come down to earth and realize that for now TOM CLEVERLY IS AVERAGE and as good as Scholes is – he is OLD. Fergie no excuses we need re enforcements. I would love a belgian contingent of Marouane Fellaini, Alex Witsel and Moussa Dembele at the expense of Giggs, Scholes and Fletcher BUT who am i kidding, not one of the three would be bought moreover buying all three right now would destabilize the squad as its too many signings too late. I wish we could look at them though. Big, young, strong, energetic and experienced with bags of potential yet to be tapped. Yaya would brick himself. I would keep Anderson, Carrick and Cleverly.

    But lets put things into perspective- Its the first game of the season, there are 37 games left and we will only get better, MUCH BETTER.

  12. Quick points:
    0) Better players, same old tactics. Did we expect anything else? Why were we overloaded on our right side, when we could man-handle Hibbert!!! He was left alone…
    1) Kagawa was great. Through balls, one-touch passing. Our shining light in outfield!
    2) De Gea is mint! Impressive game today!
    3) Rooney, Welbeck, Nani, Young, Evra, Valencia were poor… Nani and Welbeck were most disappointing.
    4) RvP’s corners are the best we have had in last 5 years…

    I think we can step it up big time, once we hit our stride, which MUST happen next weekend…

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