AFTER the 3-0 defeat at Arsenal before the international break, Manchester United reversed the scoreline to comfortably win at Everton on a sombre afternoon at Goodison Park. Adam Higgins picks out three things we learnt about the Reds…
Morgan Schneiderlin is blossoming into midfield maestro
The Frenchman arguably had his best game in a United shirt since his £25 million summer capture from Southampton with an all-action display against the Toffees.
Restored to the line-up after being left on the bench at the Emirates, he completed more passes than any other United player and provided the shield which helped to stifle the impact of an in-form Ross Barkley in midfield.
His crowning moment was the neat finish from the edge of the box for his first United goal which laid the foundations for a convincing – if not surprising – sixth league victory of the campaign.
Schneiderlin’s constant presence, calm nature and boundless energy was a welcome sight for United fans, also allowing Ander Herrera to flourish further forward, and it’s clear to see he is settling well into life at Old Trafford – particularly on the pitch.
Asked for Schneiderlin to come to the #mufc party and he didn't disappoint
— Stuart Mathieson (@StuMathieson7) October 17, 2015
Morgan Schneiderlin scores his first Premier League goal for Man United from his first shot on target at the club. pic.twitter.com/TOMn8VQYZ4
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 17, 2015
Wayne Rooney can deliver the goods on Merseyside
Much has been made of Rooney’s meagre goal return in his home city – with just three previous league goals for United at both Goodison and Anfield combined heading into the weekend, a record he admitted he has been ‘disappointed’ with over the years.
But England’s all-time leading marksman was on song on his latest visit to the ground he used to call home and sealed the win with his first away Premier League goal since November 2014 – a fine finish that typified his willingness to get in behind the Everton defence.
It was uncertain where he would play from the start but the United skipper – who scored away to Everton for the first time since 2007 – continued his excellent link-up with Anthony Martial in central areas and played his part in an all-round positive team display.
Rooney is often the first to be questioned and the last to be congratulated when it comes to post-match reflections – but the 30-year-old showed his maturity and proved his mettle again with an influential showing which got him through an emotional day following former Everton manager Howard Kendall’s sad passing.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 17, 2015
Impressed with @WayneRooney here at Goodison. Clever tormenting of centre halves + a wonder pass to send Lingard away 2nd half. And a goal
— talkSPORTDrive (@talkSPORTDrive) October 17, 2015
United overcome ‘soft centre’ on the road
As illustrated in the first 20 minutes at Arsenal a fortnight ago, Louis van Gaal’s men have developed something of a ‘soft centre’ on their travels in recent months.
The Reds have struggled to impose themselves in games, defended erratically, leaked some poor goals and have often lacked the killer instinct to kill teams off as well as the resilience to stay in games.
But the aforementioned factors were cast aside and invisible to the naked eye on Merseyside where United set out their stall from the outset and appeared to carry out their individual and collective jobs effectively as a team.
Although Everton failed to show their true colours, a resourceful United kept the hosts at arm’s length throughout with David de Gea only troubled on a couple of occasions. All in all, it was a near-perfect away day display from a United side desperate to bounce back ahead of next weekend’s Manchester derby.