This weekend the game just has to be the one at Old Trafford. Manchester United 4 - 4 Everton. The game was simply remarkable and had everything you'd want, be it goals, crunching tackles or controversy (Fergie time anyone?).
Coming into the game, United looked like they would win but not without effort as has been the case at home before, as Everton are in form with 10 points in their last 4 games and will want to be back with a vengeance after their cup exit.
The teams lined up like so :
Manchester United : 4-4-2 De Gea, Rafael da Silva, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Scholes, Carrick, Nani, Rooney, Welbeck
Everton : 4-5-1 Howard, Hibbert, Heitinga, Jagielka, Distin, Osman, Neville, Gibson, Felliani, Pienaar, Jelavic
Everton played very well at the start of the game with Jelavic once before testing the defence and Osman, Gibson and Distin all going close and certainly deserved the goal when it came.
Hibbert picked the ball up on the edge of the box and put in a deep cross to Nikica Jelavic who rose above the poorly positioned Rafael and his header looped of David De Gea and into the net. It was a great goal but you have to question the defending on two occasions,when Hibbert put in his cross, there was no pressure and Rafael's marking on Jelavic when the ball came in was abysmal.
|Jelavic does his trademark celebration after putting his team ahead.|
But just before the break, United came out of their shell and Nani crossed expertly and Everton old boy Wayne Rooney glanced his header past Tim Howard. There was precious little the marker could do as Nani's cross was pinpoint to Rooney and the keeper had little time to react.
|Rooney nods in the equaliser for his side.|
So the teams went in level at the break 1-1 with Everton certainly applying the majority of the first half pressure, but the result was definitely not a cert for United needed to keep the gap between themselves and their city rivals.
And they did just that. Nani again delivered in a ball which eventually fell to Danny Welbeck, who sidestepped a challenge before curling in a beautiful shot from the edge of the Everton box, drifting straight past the keeper. Everton complained Pienaar was down during the chance but the ref was hearing none of it, as typical at Old Trafford.
|Welbeck celebrates his well taken goal.|
Barely after the fans had stopped celebrating the second goal United scored the third. Welbeck curled the ball into the path of Nani who dinked it cheekily over a stranded Tim Howard. That was it, they all thought, GAME OVER.
|Nani lobs a stranded Tim Howard to make it 3-1|
Or was it? After the goal Everton went on the attack and from another Hibbert delivery, Marouane Felliani smashed a volley into the back of the net. 3-2, game back on!
|Felliani blasts in a fantastic volley|
Or was it? Manchester United didn't want to lose and so they went on the attack, and scored their fourth goal. Brilliant teamwork from Rooney and Welbeck saw Rooney past the Everton defence and he converted an easy chance. So again, no way back for Everton again.
|Rooney celebrates his second goal|
Or so they all thought as United, as is rarely often the case, threw away a 2 goal cushion at Old Trafford. 83 minutes on the clock and Jagielka plays a long ball into the United box. Felliani, Ferdinand and Evans all compete for the ball. Felliani wins the header and Jelavic bursts into the gap Jonny Evans left an thrashed in Everton's third. More bad defending on Rafael's part by not covering Jelavic for Evans.
Jelavic carrys the ball to the center circle after scoring his second goal
|Pienaar runs to the Everton fans showing his message|
But the job wasn't over yet for the Toffees with 5 minutes added on, affectionately known as 'Fergie time', Rio Ferdinand forced a great save from Tim Howard and every Everton player stayed camped in their own half.
And the ref finally blew his whistle to signal the end of the game, and the title race being once again, blown wide open.
If you watched it, you will know that it was possibly the best game so far this season, and many of you will be questioning United at the Etihad but heed my advice, don't. United will walk right over them.
And on that bombshell it's time to end this update.
Thank you for reading.