Monday 5 December 2016

There is still hope for Louis van Gaal: Five things we learned from Manchester United's win over Everton

Published 03/04/2016 | 21:16

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal

Manchester United beat Everton 1-0 in their latest Barclays Premier League outing. Here are five things we learned from the game.

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United and Van Gaal are still alive

Despite failing to hit top gear yet again, United's victory took them back within a point of fourth-placed Manchester City and their hopes of Champions League football next season are still alive.

Manager Louis van Gaal, for all the speculation about his future in recent months, also remains in position after digging out another result. United may not be the most dynamic of teams but their points tally for a side supposedly struggling is not at all bad.

Stones remains a work in progress

After a frustrating slip amid an otherwise solid performance for England in midweek, John Stones was back in the centre of Everton's defence and again underlining his enormous potential. He looked composed and commanding for much of the game but the occasional lapse of concentration showed he still has work to do to find consistent excellence.

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Lukaku and Barkley would enhance United

United's brightest play came from their forwards but it was easy to see why they have been linked with Everton's Romelu Lukaku, even though he did not score.

The Belgian was strong and a handful for the United defence throughout. He had to play with his back to goal a lot but still looked highly dangerous. Ross Barkley did not have his most influential game for Everton but he still overshadowed United's midfielders in the first half.

Rashford and Martial developing a promising partnership

Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford linked well at times and even though the latter has only recently burst onto the scene, their understanding already seems a good one. Their partnership is one that could prosper, although these are still very early days.

Crucial time for Carrick

Michael Carrick had a disappointing game in the United midfield. The normal accurate passing that in the past has quickly turned defence in attack was missing and he gave the ball away several times. He was withdrawn before the hour and, with his contract due to expire in the summer, the closing weeks of the season could be crucial with regards to his future.

Press Association

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