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Manchester United begin year on high

Ian Mbanda

On New Year’s Day, Manchester United strolled to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Everton at Goodison Park thanks to goals from Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard.

The result moved United back into second place in the premier league standings, 2 points clear of third placed Chelsea, and now 12 points behind Manchester City, but having played a game more than the two teams.
Going into the game, Everton had lost only once in their last 5 meetings with United at Goodison Park, and were expected to provide a stern test for Jose Mourinho’s men. In addition, they had lost only once in their previous 8 games since Sam Allardyce was appointed as manager at the end of November 2017.
On the other hand, United were somehow in a crisis having drawn to Leicester, Burnley and Southampton in their last 3 premier league fixtures.

Confidence seemed to be low in the Old Trafford camp, and there was speculation from the daily mail that United manager Jose Mourinho was losing the backing of his players.
However, this speculation was put to rest as a convincing second half performance from the United players showed that they were not planning on giving up on their manager.

Due to injuries to strikers Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, United were forced to play Anthony Martial in the lone striker role, and the decision would prove to pay off.
12 minutes into the second half, Paul Pogba, who was captain for the night, laid on a pass for Anthony Martial, who slotted into the top left corner from the edge of the box to beat Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
With United dominating possession and trying to find that all important second goal, it finally came in the 81st minute courtesy of a stunning strike from on form England winger Jesse Lingard.
The 25 year old Lingard has now scored 7 goals in his last 9 premier league appearances and is having the most prolific season of his career to date, having already scored 10 goals in 26 appearances in all competitions this term, compared to 11 in 82 appearances before this campaign.
Such performances will be key if Lingard is to get into England’s world cup squad for this summer’s world cup in Russia.
Overall, the victory will provide a confidence boost for United and their commitment and effort showed that they still have what it takes to catch league leaders Manchester City, who they hope will slip up soon.
On the other hand, Everton, who remain ninth in the table, will be looking to regroup after 2 consecutive defeats. However, with their talented squad and recent form, it is likely that they will be ready to bounce back as quickly as possible.

The Express News

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