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Friday, April 19, 2024

Manchester United 2-0 Everton: Bruno and Rashford secure three points from the spot

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Manchester United got back to winning ways in the Premier League on Saturday, ending their two-game losing skid with a 2-0 win over Everton at Old Trafford. It wasn’t a pretty game of football from either team, but three points is three points and that’s just what United need if they’re to keep any hope of playing in the UEFA Champions League next season.

Erik ten Hag kept his Bruno Fernandes/Scott McTominay false 9 tactic in place despite not having much of a positive effect in the 3-1 loss at the Etihad a week ago. It was a bit better from open play, which was still a bit underwhelming considering Everton are one of the worst teams in the Premier League this season.

Despite being one of the worst teams in the Premier League this season, Everton took the game quickly by charging forward and pressing high right from the kickoff. They won two corners in the first three minutes as United looked like a fish out of water trying to play through the press of the 16th placed side. If not for a gift, it may have been a player in a Blue shirt who scored first.

Once the Reds finally broke out and got forward they were able to find Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho, who wasted no time running right at the Everton defense. In the 12th minute Garnacho looked to have the better of James Tarkowski before being swiped and brought down for a penalty. Bruno Fernandes converted to give the Reds the lead, smashing the ball past Pickford to take advantage of Tarkowski’s error.

United didn’t quite settle into control, but Everton were wasteful. They would finish the match with 23 shots and 1.78 xG, but rarely troubled Andre Onana, who was up for the saves when called to make them.

On the other end United kept their direct approach, and won another penalty via Garnacho in the 36th minute. The Argentine drove central on a breakaway, opting not to pass to his open options. He ran into trouble before he could get a shot off, but was once again brought down unnecessarily in the box. This time Rashford made the Blues pay from the spot with a calm strike after sending Pickford the wrong way with a stutter step.

The second half that followed had some more worrying moments from the visitors, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin presented with a beautiful chance to score at the back post if only the cross wasn’t zipped across with so much pace.

In the end United avoided making any costly errors to let the Blues back in, though they once again conceded a lot of chances, holding on for the 2-0 win.

Not impressive, not very inspiring, but maybe enough to stop the bleeding before Rasmus Hojlund returns.

Up next: Liverpool in the FA Cup Quarter Finals.

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