Manchester United avoided going into the international break with three consecutive defeats with a crucial win away at Everton. The Reds went behind early on but came back to win 3-1 thanks to a number of individually fantastic displays.
Two goals to bring United back from the dead. Everton had taken the lead thanks to a wonderful bit of play from Bernard. The pressure mounted. Fernandes took the game and made his mark.
He’s been inconsistent for United in the last three or four months. This was him back to his best. A leader’s performance topped up with a last-second assist for Edinson Cavani.
It was the tenacity of Fernandes’ performance that was so pleasing as well. In old-fashion terms, he got stuck in. He fought hard against Everton as well as his two goals and an assist. An all-round brilliant display.
If Fernandes offered a leader’s performance, Maguire did too. He was dominant in the air (winning more aerial duels than any other United player) against a tough Everton attack and had a perfect second-half display.
With seven clearances, one interception, one tackle, no fouls and no losses of possession (via WhoScored), it was a really good showing from Maguire. He was unfortunate not to win a penalty off Pickford in the second half.
After a difficult start to the season, Luke Shaw has been United’s best and most consistent players in recent weeks. A brilliant cross was headed home by Fernandes in the first half. In defence, Shaw was fantastic again.
His touch was good, his passing sharp and apart from on one occasion, he made the runs forward which opened up space for his teammates. It’s exactly what United want from their left-back and in the absence of Alex Telles, it’s a massive positive.
The negative, though, is that he was forced off with a hamstring injury in the second half.
It was an energetic and powerful duet which McTominay and Fred offered. They stayed compact in defence, tackled hard and well and bossed the midfield.
McTominay in particular passed accurately and with a great variety to his game. A Hollywood-diagonal ball across the Everton defence midway through the first half gave McTominay confidence. As soon as it came off, he began to look for the riskier passes that opened up the game, pushing it vertically through the lines to Fernandes and Mata. United’s midfield needs more of that and McTominay offered it on Saturday.