LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Javier Hernandez of Manchester United is challenged by Jack Rodwell of Everton during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on October 29, 2011 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Chicharito was yet again the match winner against us, scoring the only goal in a closely contested match. United were eager to atone for their embarrassing 6-1 home defeat to bitter rivals City, and the Blues put up a good fight despite missing several in form players, including last weeks Man of the Match performer, Royston Drenthe. Moyes felt hard done by the result, and said himself he thought we played well enough to earn a point. Manchester United were far from their best, as Everton enjoyed a lot of the ball and were the better side for certain spells of the second half, but as usual lacked that necessary edge in the final third. Everton out-shot their guests 19-8, with and 8-3 advantage in shots on target. But United made their chances count, and in the end it was Javier Hernandez' 19th minute goal that secured the points for United and saw Everton continue their poor form against the top four sides.
Everton started off the blocks first, with Coleman streaking down the right and firing a low shot which De Gea saved, but Everton had shown they would not go down without a fight. It was an open contest in the beginning spells of the match, with United causing more trouble where it counted than Everton, and were deservedly ahead after 19 minutes.
Everton's leaky defense was exposed far too easily, as Evra crossed for Hernandez, who easily slotted home into a gaping net. The goal looked to take the life out of the Toffees momentarily, and United began to dominate the midfield battle, with Fellaini failings to assert his dominance as in previous weeks, and Everton's passing growing sloppier by the minute.
But after Baines hit the crossbar from a sharp free kick, the home side ended the first half on a good note, and carried that momentum into the second. "I thought we looked the stronger side in the second half," said David Moyes, "Maybe it was just that bit of quality in the final third that we didn't have." The entrance of Ross Barkley brought some bite to the left flank, and the youngster showed well against the reigning champions. Everton were owning a lot of the possession, but as Moyes stated, and as we all know too well, Everton lacked the necessary quality to make that possession count. Saha was working hard up top alone, but Osman was ineffective in supporting him from the hole and United's defense was resilient and very disciplined.
The past few weeks have been tough for Evertonians, with just one win in the last five league games. But we can take heart knowing this was by far our toughest stretch of the season. It's unfortunate seeing our poor form against the top sides, when in the past we have played particularly well against them, especially at home. If the boys pick up their game against the lower and mid-table sides, we can climb the table a bit and hopefully step it up next time we face those top 4 clubs.