Everton showed that they can perform in the first half of the season, with a 1-0 win over title contenders Manchester United, thanks to a wonderful headed goal from Marouane Fellaini. The headlines before the game were all about Robin van Persie, and if he started, the story could have been different. But Everton showed their credentials and have claimed their first three points of the season.
Despite the first half ending goalless, it was certainly jam packed with action. Sparks were flying early on when a frustrated Nani was booked two minutes in, and Everton already looked to get on the nerves of Man United.
Fellaini and Steven Pienaar were the main men for Everton. In the first half Fellaini had one effort deflected off the near post, whilst Pienaar had valid efforts saved well by a confident David De Gea. Baines came closest for Everton with a free kick destined for the top right corner, only to be parried wide by De Gea again. Shingi Kagawa was very impressive on his debut, playing some lovely one touch passes and creating chances for the ever impressive strike force.
After a confident first half from Piennar, he continued in the same vain as the second 45 got underway -Fellaini laid off the ball to him, only for his shot to ricochet off the crossbar. Everton continued to pile on the pressure and their moment finally told when Fellaini netted with a superb header in the bottom right of the net from a corner.
Chances went a begging late on, as Tom Cleverley nearly scored an equaliser ten minutes later, only for Phil Jagielka to block the goal-bound effort. Moments later Robin van Persie came straight into the equation giving United a new found hope in the game, but Everton continued to park the bus and frustrate the visistors.
Man United continued to pile on the pressure with efforts from Rooney and van Persie, Everton though remained resilient in defence and denied the strike force. Nani tried to put in the effort all game, but a bad day at the office leed to him being substituted for Ashley Young, a change which gave United a new dimension in the contest/
But despite the away sides’ their efforts, Everton came out on top with perhaps their best start to a Premier League season. Fellaini came out as the man of the match with a goal, 12 headers and 66 touches all game, every one of them key to Everton’s win.
Man United will look to bounce back with a win in their next game at home to Fulham, but need to drastically improve in defence – but they can take positives from Kagawa’s performance, and the return of Nemanja Vidic. Everton were simply fantastic on the night and will look to continue their winning momentum throughout the rest of the season.