Manchester United kept their dreams of Champions League football alive with a win over Everton this past Sunday afternoon, with Anthony Martial’s goal proving the difference over the course of 90 minutes.
It wasn’t the best game in truth, with neither side looking particularly motivated to push up in search of goals. Everton in particular were really lacking inspiration and creativity, content to just hoof it up to Romelu Lukaku whenever they got the ball.
United were slightly more adventurous, but still weren’t really creating much of note. There were barely any shots in the opening 45 minutes, and the fans were starting to get a little antsy.
We finally saw a goal in the second half though, with Everton carved open after a string of defensive errors. The ball was whipped in by Timothy Fosu-Mensah, blasted right into the gap between the defence and the keeper. Seamus Coleman arguably should have cleared it, but his poor connection meant it only fell to Martial, who was able to knock it past Joel Robles.
Everton really only had one or two chances throughout the game, both coming from set-pieces, and both falling to Phil Jagielka. The centre-back was first denied by the woodwork, powering a header towards goal only to see it fire straight into the cross-bar. He was then kept out by David de Gea, who reacted well to keep out Jagielka’s scuffed close range shot.
Everton really have nothing to play for at this point, as while they are far closer to relegation than the top of the table, they should finish comfortably middle table. Manchester United still have Champions League to fight for, but you really wouldn’t have guessed it based on Sunday’s performance.
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Louis van Gaal’s side are now just a point behind fourth placed Manchester City, and will be desperate to get the better of their noisy neighbours.