Manchester United eased the pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as a Bruno Fernandes inspired display saw United come from behind to beat Everton at Goodison Park.
Solskjaer was under huge scrutiny following back-to-back defeats against Arsenal and Istanbul Basaksehir and would have been fearing the worst as his side fell behind early on, with Toffees striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin flicking a header to the feet of Bernard who slotted home through the legs of Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Despite falling behind the visitors had looked lively in the opening exchanges and were awarded for their play as Bruno Fernandes ghosted into the box to head home after a dinked cross from full-back Luke Shaw. The comeback was complete just seven minutes later, with Fernandes once again on the scoresheet, the Portugal international’s cross just missing the head of Marcus Rashford before curling in off the post.
The second-half was a much more scrappy affair as Everton pushed for an equaliser and United attempted to hang on. The away side thought they should have had a penalty midway through the second period, with Jordan Pickford appearing to foul Harry Maguire in the box, before VAR was soon checking a potential foul down the other end with Maguire bringing down Lucas Digne in the box.
Neither penalty was awarded and thus the game looked to be petering out for a 2-1 scoreline, until Fernandes broke away in stoppage time, before teeing up Edinson Cavani for his first United goal and ensuring it would be three successive defeats in the Premier League for Carlo Ancelotti.
There’s a brief summary for you, but let’s take a deeper look at how the player’s rated:
Offered excellent distribution as always and did play his part in his side’s opener, but will once again be facing questions after dropping the ball at the feet of international colleague Maguire and then seemingly catching him as he tried to recover the ball. Perhaps lucky again to avoid a penalty.
On a frustrating afternoon for the Toffees their captain was a bright spark, putting in his usual combative display both in defence and in attack. Was at times left isolated, however, with Rodriguez failing to track back.
Not the best return to action for the centre-back, with United’s attackers allowed far too much space in the box in both of their first-half goals.
Like his defensive partner, Keane allowed Fernandes a free header in the box for United’s first. Was also not his usual threatening self at set-pieces.
Had a terrific opportunity early on which would have put Everton two ahead, but chose to shoot instead of teeing up men in the middle. That being said, did link well with Bernard down the left and caused Wan-Bissaka problems in the first-half.
Has been an excellent addition to the side but wasn’t at his best against United, allowing Fernandes to ghost into the box for his first goal.
Again another who was below-par, the former Watford man was dominated by a rampant United duo of Fred and McTominay. Wasted a late chance by blazing over the bar.
A very poor afternoon for the former Swansea man. Struggled to get any space in a congested midfield and drew collective groans from the Everton bench with a tame free-kick, just moments before he was withdrawn.
The Colombian international showed some nice touches early on, including a delightful no-look header, but couldn’t quite get himself into the game, dropping deeper and deeper as the match wore on. Was substituted late on in favour of Tosun.
The in-form forward was forced to feed off scraps all afternoon, yet did outjump Victor Lindelof on a number of occasions, including for his side’s opener.
On a rare start the Brazilian took his chance, slotting home calmly through the legs of the defender to give his side the lead. Like the rest of his teammates, faded away as the match went on.
Had lots of the ball after coming on but was driven further and further back with United defending resiliently.
Had little time to really make an impact, other than gaining a yellow card for a late foul in midfield.
De Gea 7
In truth had very little to do all afternoon as United withstood the Everton pressure. Was perhaps slightly wrong footed by Bernard’s effort, but the defence in front of him should have done far better.
Was tested early on by the pace of Everton’s left side and could have potentially shut down the Everton goalscorer more aggressively, but did recover well in a second-half in which he was very rarely beaten.
The major negative on a day of positives, the Swede struggled against the leap of Calvert-Lewin and should have done better for the home side’s goal. Also played a blind pass to De Gea early on that put the birthday boy under pressure.
The United captain has endured a tough start to the season, but looked back to his best with a commanding performance at the back. Will be slightly aggrieved not to have won a penalty after being fouled in the box.
After assisting in United’s goal in midweek, Shaw was once again the provider on Saturday, teeing up Fernandes with a delightful dinked cross that picked the midfielder out beautifully. Solskjaer will no doubt be concerned to see the Englishman trudge off with injury in the second-half.
Arguably his best performance in a United shirt. The diminutive Brazilian was popping up all over the pitch, pushing the Everton midfield back while also delivering a number of sumptuous and incisive passes for his teammates.
Like his midfield partner, McTominay was a rock in midfield and showcased his passing ability with a few delightful Hollywood passes. Once again demonstrated his importance in protecting that United defence.
Wasn’t the most popular inclusion before kick-off, yet once again displayed his quality on the ball and ability to link up with Fernandes. The Spaniard did see much less of the ball in the second-half and should have perhaps been replaced sooner.
Fernandes 9 (MOTM)
On a day when Solskjaer needed his star man, the Portugal international stepped up, running the show in the first-half as United dominated proceedings. Claimed a brace courtesy of a well-taken header and a somewhat fortunate cross that evaded everyone, before wrapping up the win with a perfectly timed assist for Cavani. Only slight negative would be his erratic passing in the second-half.
The wideman got in well down the left but was wasteful at times, over-hitting a few passes for teammate Martial that were comfortably claimed by Pickford.
Perhaps the kindest word to use would be ‘rusty’ for the Frenchman’s performance. Brought down the ball superbly before snatching at a chance early on – a rare opportunity in an otherwise quiet display. Was lucky to last as long on the pitch as he did.
Looked comfortable when coming on for the injured Shaw despite a poor display in midweek.
Had little chance to make an impact, but did hold the ball up well on the left flank. Looks to be struggling to fit into Solskjaer’s preferred starting XI.
Has been afforded little game time thus far but continues to look sharper with each match, coming off the bench to demonstrate his famed goalscoring prowess with a cooly taken finish in stoppage time.