Lessons Learned: Manchester United 2-1 Everton

Manchester United had a big test ahead of them today when they went against Everton. Everton had been improved quite a bit under Roberto Martinez who has been in control since the start of last season, but still has some work to do. Everton was coming off a huge draw in the Merseyside Derby against Liverpool last week while United were coming off a decent win against West Ham United. United were going for their second win in a row, something they haven’t been able to do in quite some time, and they were going into this match without their captain, Wayne Rooney, who was shown a red card last week against West Ham.

Despite the loss of their captain, who was replaced by Robin Van Persie, United were able to pull off a 2-1 win in a strong show of play that is starting to resemble the Manchester United we know and love. United showed strong attacking presence with the defenders actually playing a big role in some of the plays with strong passes and crosses. One play in the 26th minute was a perfect example of strong offensive play from United after Juan Mata passes to Angel Di Maria and Di Maria just puts the ball perfectly into the net.

United’s defensive capabilities on the day were quite good for the first time this season. Rafael mainly was going in for strong tackles, and playing very aggressive, as well as the other three defenders, who also were playing a lot more aggressive, and were also in good communication with each other. Luke Shaw is definitely earning his spot in the starting XI with his strong hybrid play between defense and offense, showing he is an all around brilliant player to have on the pitch. Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind both also show the same eagerness to be all over the pitch and to get possession of the ball and all four defenders are showing huge promise for the upcoming weeks to come.

Everton were able to equalise in the 55th minute after Leighton Baines crossed the ball perfectly for Steven Naismith, who was able to finish very easily to make it 1-1. United’s defense was not able to do much with that attack, but they will need to work a lot harder to prevent crosses like that from connecting with a striker’s foot. That attack was one of the few that Everton were able to get through and United’s defense will still be happy even with the one goal.

However United weren’t done and who else but Radamel Falcao to get the go ahead goal as well as his first goal as a Manchester United player. The goal consisted of a brilliant pass from Angel Di Maria that Falcao connected with brilliantly for a goal that looked so easy. The 64th minute goal also turned out to be the match winner as Everton were unable to beat the United defense a second time for a 2-1 United victory.

Saturday’s match was the second consecutive win for United and it was much needed as United have been looking for a perfect opportunity to take the Premiership by storm, and this might just be that chance. All aspects of the squad seem to be coming together and Van Gaal seems to have molded the squad into the winning team he wants. United are off for two weeks and then they are away against West Bromwich Albion, and then a real test the next week when they take on a strong Chelsea squad at Old Trafford.