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Saturday, October 29, 2011

High Fives: Things We Learnt From United's Win At Goodison Park

[This post first appeared on BigFourZa.]

Manchester United faced their first real test on their road to recovery against Everton today. And they came out all smiles as they grabbed 3 points for the first time at Goodison Park since 2007. So here go the five of the few things we learnt from this victory –

Chicharito Scored The Lone Goal
1. The Recovery Has Begun

As I pointed out earlier, we had not won at Everton since 2007. United put up a disciplined performance against the hosts, and that was evident with no United player being booked. Everton had more shots compared to United's tally, but our skipper Vidic was a rock in central defence on his Premier League comeback & De Gea impressed once again as we held out to a vital win that helps keep the pressure on league leaders Man City.

2. Evans Was Shaky, But He'll Be Alright

I was not surprised when my fellow United fans on my Twitter timeline expressed sort of an outrage when both Evans & Evra were named in the starting lineup. I've been in the defence of Evans even after that red card last weekend, and I believe that Sir Alex was right to field him ahead of Ferdinand. His performance today was bit nervous & shaky, making some wayward passes which could've resulted in goal-scoring chances for the home side. Fortunately, we did not concede. Evans will need some more games to regain confidence after that derby fiasco. He's been our best defender this season, and he will eventually come good. So guys, just lay him off for a while.

3. Cleverley & Fletcher Can Click Together

The return of Tom Cleverley was welcomed whole-heartedly as Man United's midfield was desperately crying out for creativity. And boy, he almost carried on from where he left. That slick one-touch passing, that extra bit of endeavour & dynamism was back in United's gameplay. Until he pulled his hamstring at the stroke of the hour & was substituted as a precaution. As for Darren Fletcher, he was our unsung hero. He made important interceptions blocks on the Everton players throughout the game and seems to be finally getting back into his groove. Fletcher's energy should prove vital if we have to stay on course for a 20th league title.

4. Everton Need To Be More Clinical In Front Of Goal

Everton had 17 shots compared to United's 8, so the stats say. But they were still unable to find the net. Louis Saha often tried to do it all by himself, which shows lack of trust in his fellow teammates's abilities. Everton need to make most of their chances otherwise they will suffer by not scoring goals. On-loan Royston Drenthe was missed coz he is one possible outlet for goals for the Toffees. With limited resources in hand, it has to be seen if David Moyes can unearth someone from the academy ranks.

5. Wing Play Needs To Improve

Needless to say, Nani & Valencia weren't very effective while attacking today. Nani, when he shifted onto the left, was already less then half the player he usually is. Valencia seemed ineffective too most of the time. Maybe that's coz he played the whole 90 minutes at Aldershot during midweek. Ashley Young is out for two weeks due to injury, and he hasn't been so impressive either in the last few games. Giggs is also out & his experience was missed in big games like the Manchester derby. Manchester United's style of football demands our wingers to be on top of their form most of the time, and I personally feel it's time the players on the flanks stepped up their game by another level.

Hope you also enjoyed Arsenal's 5-3 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Always delighted to see those scum moneybags losing like that!

You can follow the author on Twitter @AbhinavCJ.

That's all!

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