Sunday, November 22, 2009

United Hit Toffees For Three

Sunday, November 22, 2009
Man Utd 3-0 Everton

Manchester United brushed Everton aside at Old Trafford as they closed the gap on league leaders Chelsea.

The first forty-five minutes were dominated by United and Darren Fletcher's superb strike was the least the Champions deserved at half-time.

A much improved second-half from Everton failed to produce any rewards as Michael Carrick extended the lead with a place finish from the edge of the area.

Antonio Valencia's deflected strike rounded off the match and despite a resilient display, Everton have a lot of improving to do.

A defensive looking Everton side turned out at Old Trafford as a makeshift centre midfield pairing of John Heitinga and Jack Rodwell showed that the Toffees intended to sit back and soak up pressure.

In the fifteenth minute United took a foothold of the game and started to create consistent chances on goal. Only a perfectly timed last gasp tackle from Leighton Baines stopped Valencia from getting a clear attempt from eight yards out.

Then French left-back Patrice Evra pounced on a loose ball before cutting inside Lucas Neill and sending a low cross to the edge of the penalty area for the waiting Wayne Rooney, however the former Everton man sliced his shot wide of the goal.

Moments later United worked another effort on goal as Michael Owen’s smart footwork helped set up captain Ryan Giggs for an effort on target. However Toffee’s ‘keeper Tim Howard was down quickly to his right to make a comfortable save.

In the 35th minute Darren Fletcher broke the deadlock in style with a fantastic drilled shot into the top corner. Valencia headed Evra’s cross back to the edge of the area where Fletcher met the ball on the half-volley and emphatically struck home.

Michael Owen had a half chance to extend the lead for United shortly before half time when he timed his run perfectly to stay onside and latch on to Wayne Rooney’s skilful flick. However he would have done well to score from the tight angle as Howard quickly rushed out to block his shot.

Great Hit| Fletcher opened the scoring with a wonder goal

David Moyes showed his intention to get something out of the fixture as he changed to 4-4-2 formation for the second half an introduced Nigerian striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni to the game.

Everton eventually worked a notable chance from an unlikely attacking source as centre-back Sylvain Distin showed exceptional pace to beat United full-back Rafael da Silva to a long ball forward.

The Frenchman turned inside before passing square to Louis Saha who control with his right-foot before snatching a shot with his left but the ball trickled wide without threatening Edwin Van der Sar’s goal.

Next to attack the United goal was another defender in John Heitinga, who lined-up in midfield today. The Dutchman worked a yard of space on the edge of the box before firing a shot at goal that Van der Sar gathered without fuss.

Michael Owen, making only his third Premier League start for United almost doubled the lead as he reacted quickest to a deflected clearance and rounded Howard. However the angle proved too tight and the former Liverpool striker could only scoop the ball onto the top of the net.

Moments later Marouanne Fellaini thought he had equalised when he slotted the ball under Van der Sar but the linesman’s flag was raised for offside and the goal chalked off.

On the hour mark Everton threatened again as Yakubu split the defence with a scything through ball, but Tim Cahill could only get the merest of touches as he stretched to flick the ball over the onrushing van der Sar, who made a good block.

The game opened up and Wayne Rooney came within millimetres of increasing the score as he casually picked up Michael Owen’s pass twenty-five yards from goal, took-one touch and chipped the ball towards goal. Tim Howard could only watch as the ball flicked the top of the woodwork before going out of play.

Owen had his third and best chance of the game in the 67th minute when he again timed his run well but lacked a clinical finish in front of goal.

The No. 7 controlled the ball before trying to guide the ball into the far corner but he could only win a corner as a sliding Everton defender made the block.

The resulting corner fell to Rooney whose shot come pass found Giggs at the corner flag and allowed the Welshman to find the arriving Michael Carrick on the edge of the box. The former Tottenham man effortlessly placed the ball into the bottom corner with his left foot to seemingly put the game beyond Everton.

Paul Scholes made an instant impact after his arrival off the bench, the veteran Manchester United midfielder had been on the pitch for a matter of minutes before picking up the ball 35 yards from goal and striding forward purposefully.

The former England international eventually released the ball to Antonio Valencia who saw his shot deflect into the bottom corner of the goal to claim United’s third of the game.

The game remained open as first Yakubu’s long range effort and then Tim Cahill’s close range chance proved Everton were still attempting to get back in the game but United looked comfortable and also continued to create chances.