By Kiran Thakare
- Match preceded by unveiling of Sir Bobby Charlton stand
- Van Gaal named an unchanged team
- Martial grabs crucial winner, keeping United in the hunt for top four finish
Manchester United grinded out a victory against Everton to keep themselves in the hunt for top four.
The Red Devils were not at their best against Everton at an emotional afternoon at Old Trafford as Sir Bobby Charlton was honoured with a stand to his name. United now sit on fifth position just a point behind Manchester City.
Louis Van Gaal opted for the same team that started the 1-0 win over Manchester City a fortnight ago. Ashley Young and Ander Herrera returned to the squad. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Wayne Rooney, Phil Jones and Luke Shaw remained sidelined.
Manchester United started the match vey quietly as there were very few chances in the initial part of the game. Everton were enjoying good amount of possesion but were not able to find the precision in the final third to break the deadlock.
Anthony Martial came very close with a sumptuous effort which missed the goal by few centimetres, after a brilliant linkup play with Jesse Lingard.
Romelu Lukaku got a very good chance when Chris Smalling slipped while trying to win a duel against the Belgian. David De Gea came off his line and clear the ball which kept the score 0-0 at halftime.
Van Gaal brough Fosu-Mensah on at half-time to replace Marcos Rojo who was struggling against Gerard Deulofeu. The Red Devils looked more comfortable at the back after the change.
Daley Blind made a brilliant block to deny Lukaku from close range. The back four had done their work efficiently to keep the in form Belgian at bay in this game.
Manchester United finally grabbed the decisive goal 10 minutes into the second-half with a brilliant move initiated by Morgan Schneiderlin with a diagonal ball to Juan Mata on the right flank. The Spaniard played the ball in Rashford who backheeled it to Fosu-Mensah and the latter squared the ball at the backpost which was finished by Martial.
United continued to dominate possession and controlled the game. Everton came close with a corner when Phil Jagielka’s powerful header hit the crossbar.
The English defender got another chance later in the game from a corner, but this time David De Gea denied him with a reflexive save.
The Red Devils continued to hold on to their one goal lead, which could have been doubled after a very good move from Blind and Mata which was not finished by Lingard.
Fosu-Mensah again made an important block to keep the lead intact for the Van Gaal’s team. The Red Devils were not impressive but got their job done.
Manchester United: De Gea, Darmian, Smalling, Blind (Valencia 82), Rojo (Fosu-Mensah 46), Schneiderlin, Carrick (Herrera 58), Lingard, Mata, Martial, Rashford Substitutes Not Used: Romero, Young, Fellaini, Memphis