Anthony Gordon has spent most of the season eclipsing Everton’s overpriced millionaires. This time he treated Manchester United the same way.
In so doing, he has certainly ended Ralf Rangnick’s dwindling hopes of Champions League status in his successor. More importantly for his own club, Gordon provided daylight between Everton and the bottom three.
United and Everton together have spent over a billion to pursue their ambitions, only for both to fall short. How poignant that a homegrown talent that cost nothing – a player who was still on the same contract he had when he was in Everton’s under-23s – demonstrated the folly of believing the better you are, ever more you spend.
Gordon scored the winning goal. He drew his team-mates to a level that defied their dangerous position, helped by a United performance in as tasteless a manner as any in the post-Ferguson era. “A shame,” admitted her keeper David de Gea. Not for the first time there was more venom in United players’ quotes than in their tackles.
Frank Lampard said on Friday he was used to being just two games away from the sack. Two games sounded optimistic given Everton’s plight.
We’ll never know how nervous Everton’s majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri was. For Lampard’s sake, one hopes this is one of those afternoons when he can look back on a couple of years in the job and honestly reflect on it as the commitment to his team and his own reputation as a manager has been at its highest.
It’s a sign of United’s decline that Lampard could not have wished for an opponent less suited for a Goodison fight. This is Manchester United in name only – all image and no substance. Lacking pace, cohesion and guts, they strut around like cute prima donnas who believe every pass should be at their feet to minimize their running time.
United have become a club that kills the reputation of their appointments. David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho were all considered bigger problems than the players. Now Rangnick, the “godfather of counter-pressing”, has to admit that he couldn’t give an answer as to why his players don’t do their training exercises on a match day. A coach can only ever be as good as his players’ willingness to listen and work. The only takeaway from watching this is that certain United players consider themselves bigger than the badge.
Sure, there are individual talents when they have the ball at their feet. Gathering possession to enforce a relentless pace in a recognizable pattern is another matter.
With Goodison in the sunshine, this began as an afternoon when it looked like United could show their quality without breaking a sweat. As good as. None of them showed any inclination to exert themselves. They were so geared up for the summer holidays that some United players would have willingly played in sunglasses – sporting the logo of the club’s latest sponsors, of course. Maybe some of them are demob-happy, their contracts are about to expire. Maybe a few others are waiting for the next coach before getting back to work. Maybe a few more are playing to get out.
Goodison was predictably nervous about the consequences of another failure. So although United started lethargically, they were initially given enough space to gain confidence. Bruno Fernandes found gaps and Marcus Rashford was denied twice by Jordan Pickford in the first 12 minutes. It would be 69 minutes before Pickford was called up again, testifying to the lack of reaction as the game’s momentum wavered.
That happened in the 26th minute, just as Goodison was unsure whether to get behind his team or lose patience.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin discovered that Gwladys Street wasn’t quite as enamored with his fashion sense as GQ readers, and chastised their striker for not chasing after every lost cause.
As Calvert-Lewin finished second with a 50-50 in the center circle, Gordon stopped the cue for outrage and ran to claim the ball before selecting Richarlison with a cute pass.
The young midfielder maneuvered to the edge of the box in time to pick up the loose ball from the Brazilian’s cross. His shot was deflected off Harry Maguire past the stranded De Gea and Goodison was back behind his players. They would remain so as United withered.
“I was happy that Anthony scored because of his performance. He loves the club. No wonder the fans love him,” said Lampard.
Only a late Everton panic threatened to deny them the points, Ronaldo forcing Pickford to make an injury-time save.
For the second home game in a row, the final whistle was greeted by triumphant relief. Lampard knows his work is far from done. Rangnick may be relieved that his job at Old Trafford is almost over.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/premier-league/david-de-gea-labels-united-display-a-disgrace-as-they-fall-to-everton-41538111.html David de Gea labels United show ‘a shame’ as they fall to Everton