Man United loses 1-0 at Everton in league opener
Manchester United made a losing start to the Premier League
season on Monday, crashing to a 1-0 defeat at Everton as Robin van
Persie endured a dismal debut.
Marouane Fellaini capped an impressive performance by heading in
a corner from former United midfielder Darron Gibson in the 57th
”I don’t think anybody tonight was considering Everton at
all,” Everton manager David Moyes told Sky Sports television. ”A
lot of people forgot Everton aren’t a bad team, and Goodison is a
difficult place to come and win.”
Tom Cleverley came closest to leveling for last season’s runners
up, but his shot was cleared off the line by Everton defender Phil
Signing Van Persie from Arsenal last week was meant to provide
the additional firepower the 19-time champions need to regain the
Premier League title from rivals Manchester City.
But the Netherlands striker, who cost a reported 24 million
pounds ($38 million), failed to even hit the target after coming
off the bench in the 68th.
It was the first time Alex Ferguson’s side has lost a league
opener since 2004.
Injuries, though, meant there were just two recognized defenders
in United’s back four, with winger Antonio Valencia deployed at
right back, and midfielder Michael Carrick alongside Nemanja Vidic
in the center.
And a string of fine saves by United goalkeeper David de Gea
prevented Everton from being in front by half time.
Fellaini, playing just behind striker Nikica Jelavic, was the
dominant force in United’s penalty area.
The Belgium midfielder had already headed over Leighton Baines’
corner before he collected a throw-in and turned into the penalty
area, holding off Carrick, to hit the post from a tight angle.
He turned creator, chesting the ball back for Steven Pienaar to
slice a shot wide, and then knocked down a cross that Leon Osman
hit on the turn only for De Gea to bat away the shot.
De Gea also denied Jelavic, tipped over a long-range header from
Pienaar, and prevented Baines’ deflected free kick sneaking into
the top corner.
United striker Wayne Rooney had a quiet night as he marked 10
years since making his senior debut for Everton, hitting two shots
too close to goalkeeper Tim Howard, and seeing a late first-half
header punched clear.
After the break, Fellaini’s header across goal was smashed
against the crossbar by Leon Osman but his contribution was
rewarded with a goal in the 57th.
”Fortunately, the big man (Fellaini) put his head where it
hurts and we had something to hang on to,” Jagielka said.
Van Persie’s arrival meant Rooney shifted to the left, but it
was another new signing, Shinji Kagawa, who made a bigger
impression. The Japan playmaker forced Howard to race off his line
to block his run and shot.
And Everton held on to record just its fourth home win against
United in 21 Premier League games.
”It’s nice to send the Everton fans on the first day of our
season home with a win and not the doom and gloom we normally start
with,” Jagielka said.