Manchester United maintain momentum in top four with win over Everton

A combination of poor finishing, questionable decision-making and a series of saves by Jordan Pickford prevented Sean Dyche’s visitors from hiding at Old Trafford at the end of the first half.

United had a staggering 21 shots in a one-sided first period, but Scott McTominay was the only player to find the net, and that was after Everton’s Ellis Simms squandered a glorious chance at the other end.

The Toffees improved after the break, but Erik ten Hag’s men remained in control, with substitute Martial completing a 2-0 win as Rashford capitalized on a Seamus Coleman mistake.

Scott McTominay celebrates his first goal
Scott McTominay celebrates his first goal (Mike Egerton/PA)

The French international’s first Premier League goal since December came in his third substitute appearance after spending two months this season out with a hip injury.

Martial’s return may have come at just the right time given the worrying image of Rashford braking by taking his groin late, before limping heavily around the pitch and through the tunnel.

Everton were a pale imitation of the team that fought to a 1-1 draw against Tottenham on Monday and were on the defensive from the start at lunchtime on Saturday.

Marcel Sabitzer saw an early shot deflected wide before Rashford moved on target, only to fire straight at Pickford under pressure from James Tarkowski.

Rashford was then thwarted by an excellent recovery tackle from Alex Iwobi, and the resulting corner kick nearly led to a first goal on 12 minutes.

Antony sent a crisp shot off the post and Aaron Wan-Bissaka grabbed the rebound, inexplicably dragging the face of the empty goal.

That was a glorious chance, so was Everton’s on 19 minutes.

Simms picked up a return ball from Coleman, dropped a shoulder and then missed a shot that went wide from close range.

That was for the best for the Toffees as United continued to unleash a barrage of attacks.

Sabitzer chipped into Pickford’s palms after some great skill from the lively Jadon Sancho, while Antony failed to take advantage of United’s threat with high balls.

First, Bruno Fernandes put him back only to see a saved shot as Rashford went for a pass, then David De Gea put him back only for the shaky Ben Godfrey to come back to deny it.

The theme of open spaces and wasted opportunities for United continued as Everton dropped bodies in front of a couple of shots from Rashford before Fernandes scored.

Marcus Rashford is substituted after picking up an injury
Marcus Rashford is substituted after being injured (Mike Egerton/PA)

But the 36th minute finally brought a breakthrough.

Rashford’s repeated attempts to find space were halted, so he dismissed Sancho, who cleverly found McTominay’s run and the midfielder beat Pickford at his near post.

Pickford thwarted Antony’s last-ditch effort in stoppage time after slipping back behind Godfrey, a player removed by Vitaliy Mykolenko at half-time.

United’s intensity waned after the one-way traffic of the opening period and Ten Hag called on Martial from the bench in place of Antony on 60 minutes to boost their attack.

Everton made a couple of midfield changes at the same point and began asking the hosts more questions, with Simms, Iwobi and James Garner all seeing blocked attempts in quick succession.

That mini-period woke up the hosts, with Fernandes seeing a header saved from Sabitzer’s magnificent clipped cross before Wan-Bissaka was parried from the ensuing corner.

Rashford fired from 25 yards before Coleman’s inability to deal with a Lisandro Martinez ball from behind ended the contest. Rashford licked the loose ball and faced Martial to beat Pickford.

There was a huge roar then, just like when Christian Eriksen came on for his first appearance since suffering a nasty ankle injury in January.

But when two United players return, another has been injured.

Rashford stopped and held his groin, immediately signaling to the bench that he was hurt. He limped around the field and Ten Hag comforted him.

United had further chances to add more, mainly through man of the match Fernandes, but settled for a simple win and a clean sheet.


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