Bruno Fernandes earned Manchester United a point against Everton, who had a stoppage time goal from Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s ruled out by VAR in a dramatic game at Goodison Park.
David De Gea quickly handed the hosts the initiative in the third minute by taking too long before his clearance, which bounced back off Calvert-Lewin and into the back of the net – his 13th of the season in the Premier League.
United responded well though, with Nemanja Matic’s fierce strike beating Jordan Pickford but crashing back off the bar. Bruno Fernandes did equalise though, continuing his fine start to life in red, as the Portuguese thrashed an effort low into the left corner, though Pickford will be disappointed after seeing the ball creep under his outstretched arm.
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Pickford denied Odion Ighalo late on before Calvert-Lewin’s effort in stoppage time was ruled out by VAR with Gylfi Sigurdsson in an offside position and blocking De Gea’s view. It provoked anger from Carlo Ancelotti, who was sent off after the final whistle.
Here are five things we learned from Goodison Park:
1. De Gea’s liability status confirmed
A hopeless start to the game for David De Gea, who had failed to mentally switch on, gifted the Toffees the lead.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin closed down with intent, but De Gea simply cannot do what he did – which would have earned him a “lynching”, according to Roy Keane, a Sky Sports pundit at Goodison. A careless smash downfield ricocheted back into the goal; another error leading to another goal.
No player has more than the Spanish goalkeeper – Martin Dubravka, Jordan Pickford and Bernd Leno are level on seven each – since the start of last season. His contract at United, worth a reported £375,000 a week and running until at least 2023, means United are stuck with him for now and they must hope he can eradicate the mental errors which have proven so costly over the course of the last two seasons.
The temptation now will be to recall Dean Henderson and allow the pair to fight it out for the No 1 jersey.
2. Calvert-Lewin making compelling case to Southgate
A 13th league goal this season in just 26 appearances is now too good to ignore for Gareth Southgate.
With Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Tammy Abraham struggling with injuries, and Callum Wilson’s form proving problematic, the Everton forward must surely be under consideration now with continuity now largely taken out of Southgate’s hands.
Thriving and learning all the time under a world class manager in Carlo Ancelotti, Calvert-Lewin is polishing different parts to his game: the press and work rate are impressive, but the movement and a tendency to drift into wide areas, allowing Richarlison to find space centrally, which could easily be replicated with the likes of Jadon Sancho or Raheem Sterling. His form now, with five goals in six games, has put him in a strong position now entering the final weeks before Euro 2020.
3. Pickford on thin ice for England
Jordan Pickford has struggled to maintain any sort of consistent, imposing run of form since the World Cup.
The England No 1 may not be in possession of the gloves for the Three Lions for much longer after his latest error – which puts him level with David De Gea, Bernd Leno and Martin Dubravka for the most errors leading to a goal since the start of last season with seven.
A pivotal figure in De Gea’s future too, Dean Henderson’s form for Sheffield United is undoubtedly giving Gareth Southgate a problem, with the 22-year-old unquestionably in better form than Pickford in the build-up to Euro 2020, but without the experience of his compatriot in tournaments – will Southgate show loyalty or is Pickford’s form to inconsistent to ignore?
A late stop to deny Odion Ighalo provided a reminder of his shot-stopping ability, but is that part of his game increasingly redundant if he continues to allow these high-profile errors?
4. Baines has still got it
Leighton Baines picked up just his third appearance since the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti and this might have been the most encouraging yet.
Neat and tidy in possession, able to offer the return ball on the overlap, the 35-year-old is reliable in possession and still possesses a wicked delivery – particularly at corners where the ball is placed
In fact, the Toffees might have used Baines as an outlet more often and can certainly depend on him in the weeks ahead.
5. Fernandes continues electric start
Bruno Fernandes has been so impactful since joining Manchester United for an initial £47m, making light of the anticipated transition to England.
Now with two goals and two assists in four league appearances, Bruno is making United tick, with his inventive mind knitting United’s attacks together and forcing opponents to commit bodies to close the space around him.
It was not just his equaliser either, his first goal from outside the box for his new club, the 25-year-old showed versatility to the way he can impact the game, notably racing away in transition down the wing and even showing an ability to deliver from the left with the outside of his stronger right foot.
There was also the way he manipulated the small pockets of space afforded to him in central areas once Everton were set, successfully utilising Odion Ighalo with a one-two before a clear sight at goal, though he failed to fully connect with the subsequent shot. United have a gem here, who might just lift Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United back to the Champions League.
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