After a loss to Fulham last week, Everton got right back on track with a thrilling 4-0 win against Manchester United. It was another huge scalp for the blue side of Merseyside, and another well-deserved win left them in seventh place, five points behind the Red Devils.
To say a win was on the cards against the top six side, a giant of English football would have been ambitious but not unreachable after impressive results in previous weeks.
Having brought down other members of the Premier League’s apparent elite, Chelsea and Arsenal, in their last home games, Everton were now after another scalp. I don’t think many, however, would have put a 4-0 win on their betting sheets before the game.
With the roar of the home crowd once again inspiring the Toffees, Everton scored an early goal, when Richarlison netted after just 13 minutes. From then on, it was only a case of how many the Blues would win by, with United being cancelled out the game and managing only their first shot on target in the 86th minute.
Credit is deserved all around at Everton, and it showed not only in the performance but with goals and assists being shared amongst the team, with Sigurdsson, Digne and Walcott also chipping in with goals.
With so many great performances from the players, I now have the pleasure of explaining my ReadEverton: Three Stars.
Limited to 50 minutes on the pitch, Richarlison compacted an inspirational performance into a short period. He was forever battling, trying the unexpected and frustrating the team currently sitting sixth in the league.
I believe the momentum that Everton gathered was largely down to a very direct and physical Richarlison display. It will be interesting to see how the young Brazilian international progresses as a footballer, as he already has the desire and an abundance of quality to make it at the top levels of the game.
I have said, on reflection, that he needs to add intelligence to his game but I’m sure maturity and the advice from the Everton and Brazilian national set up will help him develop. For now, I am happy to savour his raw, rough talent, impressive goals and dominant performances.
Richarlison scored early on in the first half to put his side in front 1-0, which was the key turning point in Everton’s favour. The goal scored can only be described as confident and acrobatic, converting with a bicycle kick from a long throw into the box from Lucas Digne and the headed assist from hard-working Dominic Calvert-Lewin. A danger in the box from set plays and making runs on and off the ball, Richarlison spent his afternoon terrifying United’s players with his athleticism.
I was worried to see Richarlison holding his ribs just before half time, and having seen us throw away a 2-0 lead against Newcastle a few weeks previously, I didn’t want the team to lose his direct drive that seemed to be keeping the opposition’s attacking threat at bay. Although he made it to the whistle and appeared again after half time, his injury saw him substituted around the 50-minute mark. We would sorely miss a player of his quality if we hope to retain the seventh and final European spot.
Fantastic performance again today, capped off by an amazing strike. At the middle of near all of Everton’s attacking play, the Icelandic captain was instrumental in pulling apart a United side that were second in all areas from the first whistle.
A goal and an assist could have Gylfi Sigurdsson as most supporters’ Man of the Match, but to say that is the reason he has made the Three Stars list today would be unfair to the quality that he displayed.
His intelligent passing and running off the ball justified his title. His sprint to give midfield partner Idrissa Gana Gueye an option for hitting the Manchester club on the counter-attack was a credit to what Marco Silva and Everton fans expect from a player who is undoubtedly a key player for the side. Having been found with the pass, Sigurdsson, whose run had left him a good way from many of the supporting players, capitalised on the space created by Calvert-Lewin and scored with a well-placed shot that bounced just past the scrambling David de Gea from long range.
Not long after, Sigurdsson nearly added to his tally when a corner ball whipped into the box almost beat the Spanish goalkeeper again at his near post, before he managed to clear the ball off the line using his feet.
Overall, it was an impressive display; I hope that Sigurdsson shows the same level of commitment in coming games and into next season. He has at times this season been questioned regarding his consistency. If we are to make something of next term, however, we need everybody at their top level from the off and in this game, he showed us just how dangerous a player he can be.
Coleman was just as likely to be involved in attacking play for Everton as the forward players. Against Manchester United, the Goodison faithful echoed the beloved “60 grand” chant around the ground, as a testimony to the player, who was brought to the club for a minimal fee.
The defender went out and reminded fans that his days at the club aren’t quite over and there is still life in the old dog yet. In a true captain’s performance, Coleman was not only vocal but an inspiration to any players who still don’t quite understand the sacrifice expected when you pull on the Royal Blue jersey.
Willing to sacrifice himself, he made blistering runs for the full 90 plus minutes, up and down the right side of the pitch. It wasn’t until the later stages of the game when he was asked to fill the unfamiliar role of left-back due to an injury picked up to Lucas Digne that United had any influence on Everton’s right side.
Coleman tackled and intercepted, as well as making attacking runs and having a strike on goal with his weaker left foot that may have caused problems for a lesser keeper.
Overall, I believe his display and attitude warranted his place in the Three Stars over some other well-deserving players.