Erik ten Hag argued controversially that it was disrespectful to bring Cristiano Ronaldo against Manchester City. In the equalizer against Everton when Anthony Martial limped away, the Dutchman felt it was acceptable to introduce the demoted great. It’s looking inspired soon. As he has consistently done in a career that has defied credibility, Ronaldo has set a milestone. A 700th goal for his clubs ended Everton’s six-game unbeaten run.
If it was an eloquent reaction from Ronaldo after Ten Hag said this week he was “pissed off” for being on the bench and looking more fulfilled on the pitch overall, it was a good reaction from Manchester United, both on the deficit and to their 6-3 derby humiliation. They showed a dominance they have rarely shown on the road in 2022 and slammed Everton’s goal. A man who has hit the net more times than anyone in football history, as well as a player who has cost more than most if not Ronaldo, made for a clinical touch.
Antony’s status as the 13th-most expensive purchase ever in the game could have been disheartening, especially when everyone felt the £85m fee was excessive, but he’s started with a display of stylish workmanship that sets him apart from all United greats: nobody Else had scored for the club in their first three Premier League games but the winger has done it. Ten Hag’s reliance on an Ajax ally may have come at a cost, but it hasn’t hurt United.
What threatened to be a traumatic event for them when Alex Iwobi opened the gate turned triumphant instead. Memories of eviscerating City are unlikely to fade anytime soon, but it was a fifth win in six league games and they now sit fifth. Over a season, like this game, they seem able to bounce back from a rough start.
Victory on Merseyside was forged in Madrid. It was a very special day for two multiple Champions League winners and former Real Madrid team-mates. Casemiro made his first Premier League start and it proved a redeeming affair. At fault for Everton’s goal he was the architect of United’s second goal.
Antony and Casemiro may not be a Shakespearean tragedy, but two Brazilians started badly: after a bad pass in the summer, the latter was disowned by Amadou Onana. Demarai Gray charged forward and Iwobi, whose transformation is such that he was hailed by Frank Lampard as one of the division’s best central midfielders, seemed to illustrate that by rolling in a shot from 20 yards.
His goals have long been a rarity, but so have his recent mistakes. However, there was something of a role reversal just before half-time: he attempted a step-over but Casemiro, one of the great defensive midfielders of his generation, was not easily fooled. He robbed the Nigerian and released Ronaldo. Few 37-year-olds have been able to sprint away from the center line, but Ronaldo and normality parted ways some time ago and he drilled a shot under Jordan Pickford.
In between, Antony had equalized and Martial had come and gone, his stop-start season continuing with a premature exit after half an hour. The Frenchman had released Antony to sink his shot over Pickford after Idrissa Gueye gave the ball away – the theme of midfielders accidentally contributing to their opponent’s goals was a constant – and he had been excellent and elusive and had made a fine save from the central defense. form Pickford.
Like Casemiro, Ronaldo got off to a bad start. Bruno Fernandes was given a goal after his fellow Portuguese was ruled offside. If stats show Fernandes scoring fewer goals with Ronaldo on the pitch, he was hugely influential and United had waves of attacks. On a rare foray, Casemiro slouched in unmarked to head Marcus Rashford’s cross wide. Rashford himself thought he added a third by rounding Pickford after clinging to Ronaldo’s header, but his goal may have been strictly disallowed for handball.
It was nonetheless evidence of a threat that Everton lacked for much of the game. They were fixated on a single shot for a long time, even if it was Iwobi’s beautiful goal. They began to press when Dominic Calvert-Lewin made a belated debut of the season, but United showed substance in their determination. During a late bombardment, Everton’s summer signing from Old Trafford, David de Gea had to rip away an injury-time curler from James Garner to maintain the lead.
And a week after Ten Hag’s decision-making was questioned, he felt vindicated in his ruthlessness. He dropped Scott McTominay, who was found horribly lacking by City, for Casemiro. Tyrell Malacia and Jadon Sancho, substituted at half-time in Cyprus after being at fault in Omonia Nicosia’s opener, were replaced by Luke Shaw and Rashford. Martial came on for Ronaldo and went wide for Ronaldo as Sancho was overlooked. He made history. Again.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/cristiano-ronaldo-manchester-united-everton-result-b2199022.html Cristiano Ronaldo’s 700th club goal sends Manchester United past Everton