A man of the match performance from Marouane Fellaini gave Everton a 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Goodison Park.
The Belgian midfielder rose highest and powered home a header from a Darron Gibson corner after 57 minutes to give the Blues a great start to the new Premier League campaign. The result confined new signing Robin Van Persie to a debut defeat. The Dutchman emerged from the bench in the second half but was unable to inspire a United victory. Tom Cleverly might have equalised for the visitors only to be denied on the line by Phil Jagielka.
It was a lack-lustre performance from Sir Alex Ferguson’s men, but Everton, inspired by Fellaini, were deserving winners. Below we take a look at how the home side fared.
Tim Howard- 6
- His handling was a bit off at the start, but other than that was solid when called upon, which wasn’t often.
Tony Hibbert- 7
- Everything you expect from the full back. Committed and strong in the tackle, his resolute defending ensured a disappointing night for opposing full back Patrice Evra.
Phil Jagielka- 8.5
- An outstanding performance from the England international. Twice denied goal scoring opportunities. Firstly a perfectly timed last ditch tackle on Danny Welbeck and denied Cleverly an equaliser with a goal line clearance.
Sylvain Distin- 8
- Dealt with everything that was thrown at him and was unbeatable in the air. Along with his centre back partner laid the foundations that allowed Everton to flourish in attack. Remained calm under the pressure of the late United onslaught.
- For once not the star performer, but as dependable as ever. Sound defensively and as always carried a threat going forward. Was denied a brilliant goal from a free kick after an impressive save by David de Gea.
Leon Osman- 7.5
- An impressive display. His close control and creativity around the box, is at times, superb. Combines all this with a good work rate. Unfortunate to see his header cannon back off the bar.
Phil Neville- 6.5
- Solid without being outstanding but his importance should not be underestimated. Worked tirelessly to thwart United’s midfield and to provide his more creative team mates with the opportunity to perform.
Darron Gibson- 7
- Quietly influential. Used the ball well and like Neville his work rate defensively was important in giving those further up the pitch the chance to shine.
- Resumed his partnership with Baines too good effect. Cut inside to start some intricate passing moves around the United box which were crucial to creating chances. Good link up play with Fellaini and Jelavic.
Marouane Fellaini- 9
- A colossus. The Belgian was at his best and showed the full range of his ability. Typically impressive in the air, hard working and strong in the tackle. At times looked as if he had all the time in the world as he brought the ball down and distributed it intelligently. Man of the match.
Nikica Jelavic- 6.5
- Didn’t get the opportunities to resume last seasons goal scoring form. However he remained a handful for the defenders and proved he is much more than just a goal scorer with some good movement.