Thursday 14 December 2017

Hernandez goal the difference as Man Utd put derby nightmare behind them

Everton 0 - 1 Manchester United

Chris Bascombe

Manchester United recovered from their derby trauma to overcome Everton at Goodison Park. Javier Hernandez tapped in the winner on 19 minutes, allowing Sir Alex Ferguson to swiftly banish memories of his worst afternoon in football.

United were expected to deliver a biblical tempest in response to their 6-1 drubbing to their neighbours. They didn’t exactly blow a hurricane on their way to victory at Goodison, but the winds of change were evident on Ferguson’s team sheet.

The much anticipated results of United’s ‘hunt the scapegoat’ competition were delivered when Rio Ferdinand, for so long the lynchpin of Ferguson’s defence, was left on the bench to dwell further on his performance against City.

The England defender had already been singled out for criticism, so his demotion merely affirmed where Ferguson pinned the blame for last weekend’s defensive collapse.

With Ferdinand a spectator and Ryan Giggs still not even in the playing squad, the notion of the hastening of the ushering out of the old guard in response to a neighbourly threat was inescapable.

If Ferguson’s selections hint at this, the impressive performances of those entrusted to carry the mantle underline it.

United’s youngsters, especially Jones, Tom Cleverly, Danny Wellbeck and Javier Hernandez, have become the new bedrock of the United team; the latter trio heavily involved in the beautifully-constructed first goal.

Cleverly and Wellbeck combined before Patrice Evra’s cross was nudged in from close range by the prolific Mexican.

Everton were unable to cope with United’s packed, malleable midfield but were roused from a slumbering start to improve before half-time.

Leighton Baines struck the bar with 25 yard free-kick, while Jack Rodwell and Louis Saha should have handed David De Gea a tougher examination, shooting tamely when well placed.

The home side’s momentum continued after the interval, as Moyes unleashed teenager Ross Barkley to replace the ineffective Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.

Moyes had warned Evertonians not to expect too much from 17-year-old Barkley, but his first sure touches of ball exposed why he is so highly regarded.

Against Jones, however, the teenager was confronting the most impressive performer on the pitch.

Ferguson made changes of his own when Cleverly was injured, and Hernandez and Wellbeck faded after their enterprising opening.

United retreated into defensive mode - a solitary effort from Wellbeck was all they managed after their goal - but Everton were restricted to ambitious long range efforts which posed little threat to De Gea and the visitors comfortably held on.

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