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Manchester United 2-0 Everton: What Were The Main Talking Points As United Widen Their Buffer In The Top-Four Chase?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, English Premier League 8 Apr 2023

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In what was a routine performance on Saturday lunchtime, Manchester United cruised their way to a 2-0 victory against Everton at Old Trafford.

Smelling a golden chance to widen their buffer in the top-four chase, Erik ten Hag’s side largely didn’t have to get out of third gear on home soil and certainly didn’t look back after Scott McTominay opened the scoring nine minutes before the half-time break.

Causing Everton’s leaky defence a string of problems here, United wrapped up all three points on the 71st minute as second-half substitute Anthony Martial finished past a helpless Jordan Pickford.

Now finding themselves sat in pole position to claim a crucial Champions League return this season, Saturday’s hosts also piled more pressure onto a Toffees squad who remain at the heart of a major relegation scrap.

Failing to find much of a clinical edge in the final third and knowing that they realistically didn’t deserve to leave Manchester with anything to show for their troubles, Everton also watched their four-match unbeaten run come to an abrupt end.

Two sides who find themselves battling it out at opposite ends of the Premier League table, we have taken a look at the main talking points from Saturday’s showdown at Old Trafford.

United’s Old Trafford success will drag them to a top-four return

After marking their return from the international break with a deserved 2-0 loss away at Newcastle on April 2nd, Manchester United were firmly looking over their shoulder at a looming top-four scrap over the coming weeks.

However, ending their six-year wait to lift a piece of silverware back in February as they were crowned EFL Cup champions at Wembley, ten Hag’s side have come roaring back over the past few days.

Making an immediate return to winning ways earlier in the week as they claimed a 1-0 victory against Brentford, the ex-Ajax boss has only seen his side continue to shine on home soil this season.

More than deserving of maximum points here, United will now know that it would take a real collapse to stop them from claiming a crucial Champions League return in 2023.

Despite showing some extended issues on the road this season, ten Hag’s side have certainly turned Old Trafford into a fortress.

In fact, on what has become a remarkable run of form at Old Trafford, Saturday’s hosts are unbeaten in each of their last 25 straight appearances in Manchester across all competitions – a run that stems all the way back to September 8th.

Huge concern over Rashford’s fitness

While Manchester United might have continued on their Old Trafford flurry here, there is no doubt that ten Hag will be hugely concerned by the site of Marcus Rashford limping off during the second-half.

Clearly frustrated as the England international headed straight down the tunnel, ten Hag alluded during his post-match press conference that United’s attacking talisman could face a stint on the sidelines.

With the former Ajax boss stating that Rashford’s injury “it didn’t look good”, it appears that the 25-year-old will face a real race against time if he is to play a part in United’s Europa League quarter-final in midweek.

Only continuing to shine this season and breaking a string of individual records, Rashford’s absence would be a crucial miss when Sevilla arrive at Old Trafford for their first-leg meeting on Thursday night.

With United still dreaming of the chance to complete a genuine title sweep in 2023, fans around the red half of Manchester will all be praying that Rashford’s second-half injury was not as severe as first feared.

Nothing more than a minor blip for Everton?

Snatching what was a stunning last-gasp equaliser against Tottenham on their return from the international break, Everton would have been desperate to spring a heavyweight upset on Saturday lunchtime.

However, while Sean Dyche’s side might have traveled to Old Trafford in the midst of a four-match Premier League unbeaten run, the former Burnley boss would have been more than aware that his squad faced a major uphill struggle here.

Largely outplayed away from Goodison and showing many of the same attacking issues that have haunted them this season, Everton will know that there are certainly easier tests down the road.

With Dyche stating that Saturday’s trip to Old Trafford was essentially a free-hit, the Blues will now be looking to prove that their 2-0 loss was nothing more than a minor blip in their charge for Premier League safety.

Dealing with a string of financial issues behind the scenes at Goodison, Dyche’s side finished Saturday’s fixtures with just their goal difference keeping them outside the drop zone.

With just a single Premier League victory to their name since back on February 18th, Everton will be next seen when they welcome a struggling Fulham to Merseyside next weekend.

Match Report

Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Martinez, Malacia, McTominay, Fernandes, Antony, Sabitzer, Sancho, Rashford

Subs: Eriksen, Fred, Martial, Weghorst

Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Tarkowski, Godfrey, Gueye, McNeil, Onana, Iwobi, Gray, Simms

Subs: Davies, Garner, Maupay, Mykolenko, Patterson

Goals: McTominay (36’), Martial (71’)

Yellow Cards: N/A

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Micheal Oliver

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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