Last night while watching the match between Man United and Everton that saw United go 4-2 up at one point, one must have surely heard the commentator bring up United fluffing a similar lead last season against Everton as they finished 3-3.
Taking cue from last season’s result, Jelavic and Piennar struck late into the match to cut down United’s two goal advantage, and consequently blow the title race wide open. This was after a brace from Rooney, a goal each from Welbeck and Nani saw United come back from being a goal down to go 4-2 up. What followed was 10 minutes of lazy defending which saw Everton capitalize and eke out a point from one of the toughest away fixtures of the season.
Kudos to Everton for not losing heart but it was more or less United’s fault that they are blew their eight points lead at the top, and are under serious threat of losing the title to local rivals city. Even a last minute shot from Rio Ferdinand was denied by Tim Howard as he pulled off a blinder to deny United.
This was after a great defensive display by Everton in the first half where occasional counterattacks kept United on their toes. Another period of effective play, late into the second half brought Evert0n level.
This match brought back memories of Tim Cahill scoring one and setting up the other for Arteta in injury time as Everton surprisingly drew 3-3 at Goodison Park last season. But yesterday one could always sense that there was something bound to happen…even after Rooney had put away his second of the match as he moved close to Arsenal‘s Van Persie in the goal charts.
Maybe the biggest difference in both those matches was Vidic, who scored a goal and put on a strong defensive display at Goodison Park. The defending from the Evans-Ferdinand partneship could have done much more and had they been slightly more alert, they could have seen United through.
Fellaini ‘s presence in both the fixtures provided Everton with the physical edge and he was especially crucial in the more recent fixture where he scored a brilliant volley, and provided a delightful assist to help Everton draw the match.
One more similarity that could be pointed out in the fixtures were United’s substitutions. A few debatable substitutions were made in both the fixtures where Park Ji-Sung came on for Evra that caused O’Shea to play as left back which diminished United’s centre midfield presence in first and Hernandez for Valencia killed off the winger threat in the second. But one should know better than to question Sir Alex Ferguson’s tactics.
For why United faltered last night, I suggest you go read this article written by Air13wind.
While United have given themselves the daunting task of beating city next week at the Etihad to effectively win the title, Everton will be very pleased that they go two points clear of Merseyside rivals Liverpool who crashed to a 1-0 defeat to West Brom.