Our Premier League opener vs. Everton was always going to be extremely tough, and that’s exactly how it proved. All credit to Everton last night, they thoroughly deserved their 1-0 win. Fellaini bossed the midfield single-handedly, he was a threat up top, too. Michael Carrick at centre half proved to be our downfall.
De Gea; Valencia, Carrick, Vidic, Evra; Cleverley, Scholes, Kagawa; Nani, Rooney, Welbeck
Lindegaard, Rafael, Anderson, Berbatov, Van Persie, Wootton
Everton flew out of the blocks in this one, stringing together some nice passes from the first minute in. Their attacking intent was clear, hoof it towards the big Belgian Marouane Fellaini. They did this all game, and Fellaini vs. Michael Carrick in the air you know there was only going to be one winner. The first clear cut chance fell to Everton, Fellaini was played in one on one at a tight angle and he opted for glory and smashed the ball against De Gea’s near post.
When United had the ball, we passed it nicely and got into some good positions. Shinji Kagawa particularly impressed, finding space, passing and moving, penetrating runs, he looked sharp. The big chances kept falling the way of Everton though, De Gea was called upon again when Steven Pienaar looped a header goal wards forcing De Gea to tip over. Their next chance came from a Leighton Baines free kick, once again the Spanish keeper made a top save to keep the scores level going into the break.
The second half was more of the same, and then the inevitable happened. Baines swung in a corner towards Fellaini, who powered a header home from 5 yards out. The problem for me though was the marking, the biggest player on the pitch was being marked by Michael Carrick throughout, surely our captain, the best header of the ball at the football club should be marking him?
After the goal, Everton got everyone behind the ball and began to frustrate the United attack. Then came the moment United fans had been waiting for, the introduction of a certain Robin van Persie was greeted by rapturous applause from the away fans. Albeit the Dutchman had a quiet game, he was involved in perhaps United’s best chance of the game. He slipped a ball through the legs of Distin and the ball found Kagawa in the box, who tried to poke home but was quickly thwarted by ex-red Tim Howard.
For me, the reason we lost this game was that we had to many players playing out of position. Yes Michael Carrick playing at centre half couldn’t have been helped, but Valencia playing right back and Danny Welbeck playing out on the wing simply didn’t work. Nani was as frustrating as ever and Rooney looked completely unfit. Kagawa was our standout player by a country mile, given time, the Japanese international could be our key player this season.
Man of the Match
He bossed the game, he won every header and linked the play up beautifully. He always seems to have a great game against United and he did the same last night. You have to wonder though, if Ferdinand was fit the outcome would’ve probably been different.