First order of business is congratulations to the Red Army for once again winning the singing and the not sitting down.
Give yourselves yet another pat on the back you crazy bastards and tell yourselves that you deserve better from your team who, once again, came to Goodison and got absolutely savaged. It’s not even as if we bombard them these days and hope to hang on to a narrow lead in a desperate, scrappy match. They turn up and get thoroughly outplayed, front to back, and it’s now them who have a ‘secret weapon’ of a massive fella who is boss at chesting the ball and passing backwards.
Everton unsurprisingly had Marouane Fellaini well worked out and got at him dead quick because they know he’s relatively easy to pressurise when the ball’s at his feet and he turns slower than milk. He had one great opportunity when he seemed to foul Gareth Barry before blazing the ball into the Gwladys Street, but generally the Everton veteran gave the Belgian a masterclass in defensive midfieldery. It was no surprise then when Fellaini got hawked off at half-time following a series of massively predictable carthorse fouls.
The visitors were trailing 2-0 by that point, thanks to goals from rather unlikely sources.
James McCarthy slotted the first after only five minutes as the Blues broke rapidly from a United corner. The hilariously bad Paddy McNair, whose name in Portuguese means ‘Roque Junior’, should have cut out Seamus Coleman’s low cross, but the ball spun towards the goal as McCarthy brushed aside the young defender and the crushingly ordinary Daley Blind to poke a low shot past David de Gea.
Fellaini immediately had his chance to equalise, following a rare mistake by the otherwise superb John Stones, and then United had a long spell of dominating possession without ever really looking genuinely dangerous.
Wayne Rooney was shite again – he forced Tim Howard to make one close-range block in the second half but otherwise did very little to influence the game.
On the subject of the former Everton prodigy, how is it that we are told that football dressing rooms are places of ‘absolutely ruthless banter’, but he gets away with that fucking syrup? Every time you spoke to him you’d find your eyes being drawn to the stitches in his ‘hairline’ and start chuckling.
‘I’m sorry Wayne. I just can’t take you serious with Bagpuss asleep on your head there, lad. Have a word with yourself, Elton.’
Anyway, the Toffees second goal, on 35 minutes, came via the luxuriant natural fibres adorning the napper of young Stones. Leighton Baines initially took two great corners that were desperately put behind at the near post by the panicking United defence. On the third attempt, Stones leapt magnificently to plant a header just under the crossbar. Ashley Young tried to clear but could only nod the ball into the roof of the net.
Everyone expected the visitors to come and have a good go right after half time, and we’ve danced this tango enough times to know that if they scored one then the complexion of the match could alter drastically. However, despite their recent good form, these are still miles away from the United of Alex Ferguson, and if anything they were even worse after the break.
Radamel Falcao replaced Fellaini and then after an hour they threw on Angel Di Maria. However, it was an Everton substitute, Kevin Mirallas, who came from the Greek League for a tenth of what United spunked on the wombat-faced Argentinian cross-country runner, who settled the game once and for all.
Ross Barkley clipped a pass over the top towards the massively offside Romelu Lukaku. He raised his hands, let the ball run on, and as the United defence paused, Mirallas sashayed through, gave De Gea ‘the eyes’ – possibly on purpose, it’s hard to tell with him – and rolled the ball inside the near post.
In fairness, if it was given against us we would have moaned that Lukaku being in an offside position did interfere with play, given that everyone stopped as a result, but ultimately, you know, well, fuck them.
Now, it’s proper internet-knob behaviour to moan about the coverage on Match of the Day, but we’re internet knobs, so that’s fine. They must have shown jut about every half-chance that United had, but completely missed out one tremendous bit of skill by Coleman in the second half where he left two of theirs for dead on the halfway line. That’s 60 grand Coleman, who cost, er, a really small fraction – we’re last at maths – of what that lot ponied up for that trials-for-Widnes-looking bad-wool-faced Luke Shaw.
All the players have rightly been praised, but one who doesn’t seem to have been singled out is Lukaku, who was absolutely great. We’ve criticised his all-round contribution at times, but he played the lone-frontman role superbly, sacrificing himself for the team at times, and although he never really looked like scoring he occupied the visitors defence throughout and rarely wasted a pass.
All in all then, if you hadn’t noticed, we’re definitely ‘arsed’ again following that kind of unexpected late-season treat.