UNITED’S 1,000TH PREMIER LEAGUE HOME GOAL
Anthony Martial scored Manchester United’s 1,000th Premier League goal at Old Trafford to seal a narrow 1-0 win over Everton on the day when the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand was unveiled.
Martial grabbed the decisive strike seven minutes into the second half as he squeezed the ball home from substitute Tim Fosu-Mensah’s low cross, as the Reds moved above West Ham United into fifth.
Boss Louis van Gaal opted to stick with the same XI that defeated rivals Manchester City before the international break, but did make two changes on the substitutes’ bench as Ander Herrera and Ashley Young replaced Adnan Januzaj and the injured Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The atmosphere before kick-off at Old Trafford was particularly special, with fans in the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand holding aloft coloured tiles to spell ‘Sir Bobby’ in one giant mosaic effect, as the South Stand was renamed in the club legend’s honour in the 60th year since his United debut.
Looking to mark the special day with an equally special display, as he showed in his first Manchester derby last time out, Marcus Rashford cutely back-heeled Marcos Rojo’s low cross into the path of Martial, who was inches away from connecting. Defensively, United had to cope with Gerard Deulofeu in the early stages as he was looking dangerous down the Toffees’ right, with Rojo knowing he would have his work cut out trying to halt the tricky Spaniard.
The first real effort on goal fell to Martial on 17 minutes as he volleyed narrowly wide of Joel Robles’ far post, having played a neat one-two with Jesse Lingard. At the other end, Romelu Lukaku, who was being kept largely quiet by the impressive Chris Smalling and Daley Blind, was nearly in on goal for the first time, but David De Gea was alert to clear before the Belgian could latch onto a loose ball.
A second backheel from Rashford set up Martial again shortly before the break, but John Stones came diving across to halt what would have been a goal fitting to mark any occasion.
Possession: United 54% Everton 46%
Shots at goal: United 7 Everton 1
Shots on target: United 0 Everton 0
Corners: United 4 Everton 1
Everton, who had been impressive on their travels this season, having lost just once away from home before this game, started the second half the better of the two sides, with Deulofeu looking to trouble Matteo Darmian, who had switched to left-back with young Fosu-Mensah replacing Rojo at the break.
In-form striker Lukaku, who had scored six goals in his last seven appearances for Everton in all competitions, was inches away from adding to that tally as he turned Blind in the box, but the Dutchman did well to deflect the powerful front-man’s effort wide.
James McCarthy then had a penalty appeal for handball turned down as his wicked effort was blocked by Smalling before, against the run of play, Fosu-Mensah latched onto another sublime flick from Rashford and directed a low cross to the back post, which found Martial loitering and he bundled the ball home for United’s 1,000 Premier League home goal.
The Toffees were inches away from an instant response but, fortunately for United, Phil Jagielka’s header rattled the crossbar following a corner.
The goal had brought the game to life and Juan Mata played a wicked low cross into the box, which first Rashford failed to connect with, before Smalling’s effort was blocked to deny United a second. At the other end, De Gea, who was the hero in this fixture last season, did brilliantly to deny Jagielka, palming away from close range following a scramble from an Everton corner.
Everton pushed late on for the equaliser and forced Fosu-Mensah to divert a dangerous Seamus Coleman cross away, but United took all three points away in the pursuit of a top-four spot.
Possession: United 54% Everton 46%
Shots at goal: United 10 Everton 7
Shots on target:United 2 Everton 1
Corners: United 5 Everton 5
De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Blind (Valencia 82′), Rojo (Fosu-Mensah 45′), Schneiderlin, Carrick (Herrera 58′), Lingard, Mata, Martial, Rashford.
Subs not used: Romero, Young, Fellaini, Memphis.
Booked: Smalling, Lingard.
Juan Mata: “They had chances and they are a good team and they play good football, but in the end one goal was enough and we are very happy today.”
Louis van Gaal: “It’s very important; if you lose today, the win against Manchester City is worthless. Now, we are still in the race and we have still four home matches and three away matches.”
VAN GAAL’S VIEWS ON VICTORY OVER EVERTON
Louis van Gaal was pleased to lead Manchester United to another important three points after the Reds saw off Everton 1-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Here are the main points from the manager’s post-match press conference, and interviews with MUTV and Sky Sports…
On the result
“I think it was more or less a stolen victory because we didn’t play so well. It looked like we were not fresh enough in spite of the fact that we had a lot of days to prepare [for] the match. With the international break, you never know how the players are coming back. I’m very happy with the victory, but they [Everton] also could have scored two goals, I think. We were the lucky team today. It’s very important; if you lose today, the win against City is worthless. Now, we are still in the race and we have still four home matches and three away matches. It’s a very important game against Tottenham [on Sunday], we played well there last year, it was one of our best matches so I hope we shall continue that.”
Sir Bobby Charlton tributes
“It was fantastic. It was a privilege to see how, in the English culture, they respect all the players – it’s marvellous to see. And when you see a standing ovation for Sir Bobby, some tears are in my eyes. I liked it very much and I think he deserved it. I watched Sir Bobby and Jimmy Greaves [as a child], who were idols for me at that time. Then I met him on my first day as manager here at Old Trafford and I was very honoured. So he was always in my mind and when I saw the standing ovation today, it was clear he is always in the mind of the fans. I have spoken with him [Sir Bobby] and also told the players we must get a victory today, otherwise this is not such a happy day for him anymore.
Blind and Rojo substitutions
“Daley Blind has played every match this season, more or less, and he is at the end of his strengths. I shall give him two days off this week, and then he is okay again. I think [Marcos] Rojo had a problem with his jet-lag, so I changed him. He came back [from international duty] on Thursday but I had to play him.”
“I have already said in many press conferences that Anthony Martial, at his age, is an exception. He has played every match and, to do that, you have to be very strong and consistent because every week I compare every player with his competitor. So it is fantastic what he is doing.”
“I thought that there was a lot of space on the right wing in the first half, and after Tim took over, he did fantastically. I saw there was some space on the right side and I told Timothy he had to take advantage of that. And when the player does that, it’s a bit of luck for the manager, but every credit is for the player, for Timothy, and not for the manager.”
SIR BOBBY CHARLTON STAND UNVEILED
Manchester United paid a fitting tribute to a club legend on Sunday by renaming Old Trafford’s South Stand in Sir Bobby Charlton’s honour, ahead of the win over Everton.
Photo: United’s Executive Vice-Chairman, Ed Woodward (left) Sir Bobby Charlton (center) and his wife, Lady Norma Charlton (right)
The club’s all-time leading goalscorer was accompanied by his wife, Lady Norma, and the Reds’ executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, on the pitch just before kick-off to see the stand’s new sign being unveiled, while fans on all sides of the ground waved flags and created an eye-catching ‘Sir Bobby’ mosaic.
Before that moving moment, Sir Bobby and 50 invited guests attended a lunch at Old Trafford to celebrate his illustrious career, with former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson among many figures from the world of football who spoke warmly about a footballing icon.
Up Man U!