The road just gets deeper and darker for Manchester United. For the fifth successive Premier League game, the Red Devils registered a draw, something that has happened for the first time in more than 40 years.
Jose Mourinho’s men went ahead in the first half, after an audacious lob from Zlatan Ibrahimovic found it’s way into the back of the net. However, as has been the case in recent times, United failed to build on the lead and eventually succumbed to a Leighton Baines penalty in the 90th minute.
The result sees the Old Trafford outfit 13 points off league leaders Chelsea, and 9 points short of 4th place. The match looked like two typical midtable teams slotting it out for a win, especially in the first half. In the second half, both the teams expressed themselves more, with the Toffees trying to find avoid a defeat at Goodison Park and United trying to put the game beyond doubt.
However, the problems keep piling up for the Portuguese manager and a visible lack of cutting edge is hurting the team a lot. Here are the player ratings from the game:
Maarten Stekelenberg - 4/10
It was a horror show from the Dutch goalkeeper, who made a huge mistake in coming out from his lines when Zlatan was chasing a lobbed pass from Martial. Seeing the goalie off his lines, the Swede chipped the ball over his head and it landed in the back of the net.
There was no need for him to rush out when there was already a defender toe to toe with the former Ajax man, but he did and that led to the opening goal. Moreover, his performance in the rest of the game didn’t look very assured as well, and it was United’s ineptitude up front that prevented a rout.
Leighton Baines - 7/10
The England international was one of the standout players from the game last night. His energy and drive were commendable, especially after falling behind. Antonio Valencia found it hard to get behind the left back, something which demonstrated his defensive prowess as well. It was his leadership that made Everton look much more threatening in the next 45 minutes, and he deservedly equalised from the spot in the 90th minute.
Ashley Williams - 5.5/10
The Wales international had a torrid time and was repeatedly taken to task by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He was completely overwhelmed by the size of the former AC Milan forward. Luckily for him, though, Zlatan kept dropping in to help out his midfield, or otherwise, things might have gotten worse for the former Swansea centre-back.
Ramiro Funes Mori - 6/10
The Argentine never has a colourless game, and he made sure that trend continued yesterday as he mixed up some hilarious errors with some exceptional interceptions and tackles. A few say he could have done better in trying to keep out Zlatan’s lob, and by the looks of it, maybe he could have. He did really well in shutting out the dangerous United front four though.
Seamus Coleman - 4/10
The Irish international had a poor time at the right back position until an alleged Zlatan Ibrahimovic “kick” in the second half led him to be substituted. While Martial did not have much luck while up against him, Coleman found it equally hard on his overlaps. He will probably be out for a while, and Mason Holgate will finally get his time on the pitch now.
Idrissa Gueye - 8/10
Easily the best player on the pitch, Gueye was sensational in every department, be it in neutralising the threat of Paul Pogba or going on solo runs at the United defence. Bought for only £7 million and written off immediately after his arrival, his show against a multimillion-dollar United midfield will surely have impressed his critics.
Gareth Barry - 4/10
The English international looked completely out of place, and he should be thankful to Gueye for covering his mistakes up repeatedly. Age looks to have finally caught up with him, as his passing and tackling both were questionable. At 35 years of age, Koeman should not use him in these high-intensity games anymore.
Tom Cleverly - 5/10
The Englishman was brilliant in the first half, as he kept Pogba on his toes and rarely made a mistake. However, in the second half, he looked completely out of sorts, and kept making a plethora of mistakes by giving the ball away or picking the wrong pass. In fact, he was so bad that he had to be withdrawn and this could, in effect, mean the end of his time at Everton.
Yannick Bolasie - 5.5/10
The Congolese international had a decent but inconsistent game. He caused trouble with his crosses and running, but they were few and far between. Also, his entire act of dropping down and rolling on the pitch after a small tackle didn’t exactly go down well with the Goodison faithful. He must toughen up if he wants to shine in the Premier League, that’s for certain.
Kevin Mirallas – 7/10
The Belgian footballer is the definition of a cult hero. He feeds off the atmosphere, and last night again showed why he is adored in the blue half of Merseyside. He delivered brilliant set pieces in the first half, and in the second half he headed almost every attack Everton launched. Not only this, he was impeccable defensively as well, as he kept the United wide men on a tight leash.
Romelu Lukaku - 6/10
The “Big Belgian”, as he is popularly known, did well up front all alone despite getting almost no service. He kept Jones and Rojo on their toes and held up the ball well when required, but he needs to drop deep to get involved in the game when it isn’t happening for him.
Gerard Deulofeu – 4.5/10
He came on in the 60th minute, but could barely make an impression. The former Barcelona academy graduate needs to make a lot more effort if he wants to continue his career at the top level.
Mason Holgate - 7/10
He was impeccable with both his passing and running after his introduction. He also won every single duel and looked much more assured than Coleman.
Enner Valencia - 6/10
He looked to threaten every time he got on the ball, and provided quality service to Lukaku in the end as well. Must start more games from now.
David De Gea - 7/10
The Spaniard may have made a silly mistake against West Ham in the last match day, but he more than made up for it with a string of good saves. The pick of the lot, however, was the way he kept out a Mirallas volley from point blank range. He also went the right way during Baines’s penalty, but the shot was just too accurate and powerful.
Antonio Valencia - 7/10
The Ecuadorian seems to be the most improved player in the squad these days, and is a certain starter at the right back position. Although he couldn’t get the better of Baines while on his overlaps, he was immaculate in his defensive duties.
Phil Jones - 8/10
The Englishman has been a reliant force at the back for United ever since his return from the knee injury, and yesterday’s performance was another reminder of why Sir Alex rated him so highly back in the day. One hopes he can finally put together a consistent, uninterrupted run from now on.
Marcus Rojo - 5/10
The Argentine was lucky to stay on the pitch after a horrendous two-footed challenge on Gueye in the opening half was let go by referee Michael Oliver. He did a decent job in neutralising Lukaku but was average otherwise.
Matteo Darmian - 5/10
The Italian looked completely lost on the left side, and in fact, Martial did more defending than him. His overlaps were poor and he couldn’t even deliver one proper cross in the box. Mourinho would be well advised to start Blind or Shaw in that position.
Michael Carrick - 7/10
Manchester United are yet to lose a game this season in which the Englishman has featured, and it is obvious why. With his experience and game reading skills, he takes up the perfect position in defensive midfield and also manages to recycle the ball very effectively whenever it is lost. He is quite simply the fulcrum of the United midfield right now and that was on show yesterday as well.
Ander Herrera - 6/10
The Spaniard drifted in and out of the game, and failed to make a noteworthy impression. However, his hard work on the pitch was commendable, but he has to offer more on the offensive front. He did take a shot that ricocheted off the crossbar , which was very unfortunate.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan - 7.5/10
This is the third game on the run that the Armenian has looked like United’s best option up front. His off-the-ball movements are exquisite, and he gave a horrid time to the Everton defence. He had to be hacked down on several occasions by those who were marking him.
Paul Pogba - 6/10
The Frenchman featured as a box-to-box midfielder, but he rarely governed the play as a result of which he failed to create enough chances. A few wayward shots here and there were the only attacking contributions that he had, and he needs to be spoken to one-on-one by Mourinho to make him understand his role better.
Anthony Martial - 6/10
The Frenchman was guilty of trying too hard while attacking, and lost possession several times. He did provide the ball forward for Zlatan’s goal. Defensively, he was spectacular, though.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic - 6/10
The Swede scored the goal thanks to his individual brilliance, but that was about it. He repeatedly dropped deep to get involved with the midfield, but that left a vacancy up front due to which the United wingers failed to deliver good crosses into the box. He needs to stay in his position and test the keeper more.
Marouane Fellaini - 3/10
Came on for Mkhitaryan in the 86th minute and gave away the penalty in the 90th minute. Most players would have gone in for the challenge, though, and it was ultimately the theatrics that helped the referee make his mind up. The Belgian shouldn’t be made a scapegoat since there are bigger problems in the team.
Marcus Rashford - N/APublished 05 Dec 2016, 23:45 IST