Man U gave up a late goal to Everton to wind up in a one all tie. The culprit was Marouane Fellaini. Fellaini fouled the Toffees Gana Gueye. This set up the PK in the 89th minute. Leighton Baines deposited the rock into the back of the net for game, set and tie for Man U.
The Guardians Andy Hunter: “losing out tight Premier League contests, squeezing the options and then the hope out of the opposition; what was once the art of José Mourinho is lost for now to Manchester United and their increasingly irascible manager.
Five minutes remained at an anxious Goodison Park when Mourinho replaced Henrikh Mkhitaryan with Marouane Fellaini. Two minutes later the shut‑up‑shop substitute carelessly conceded a penalty against his former club and victory, much-needed evidence of progress and Mourinho’s tactical renown had slipped away once again. At least the water bottles escaped a good kicking.
The United manager went full-Arsène Wenger after his side’s fourth draw in five Premier League matches, claiming not to have witnessed Fellaini’s foul on Idrissa Gana Gueye that enabled Everton to equalise in the 89th minute, or Marcos Rojo’s two-footed tackle on the same player that could so easily have brought a first-half dismissal. He did claim to have seen another “very good performance” from the visitors and another undeserved scoreline, one that leaves United sixth in the table and nine points off fourth place, but that was stretching it. Throughout, this was a contest that reflected the mediocre form of the two teams – it is now one win in nine league games for Everton and one in eight for United – and the draw should have brooked little argument.
Leighton Baines drilled the late spot‑kick beyond David de Gea’s right hand to salvage a point for Ronald Koeman’s side, just as Olivier Giroud and Joe Allen had done for Arsenal and Stoke City respectively in fightbacks at Old Trafford. United’s problems are not confined to home, it appears.
They were gifted an interval lead by the Everton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg and went close to extending their advantage when Ander Herrera struck a post from close range in the second half. But there was a lack of conviction and confidence to United’s attacking play and it was Everton who dictated much of the game after the restart. Fellaini’s calamitous cameo – his errors were not limited to the penalty – merely reinforced the sense of a side missing leadership and know-how.
Neither team posed a threat until Stekelenburg’s rush of blood gifted Zlatan Ibrahimovic his fourth goal in three league games. It was a committed contest, a little too committed in Rojo’s case, but there was a painful lack of craft in attacking areas. The deficiency would have come as a greater surprise to Mourinho than Koeman given United’s impressive midweek display against West Ham in the EFL Cup and Everton’s ineffective recent form.
Everton responded to their manager’s call for more aggression but were left with a legitimate grievance when Rojo crossed that line with a dangerous challenge on Gueye. The ball was there to be won after a loose touch from Herrera but while Gueye executed a clean tackle, the Argentina international lunged in with both feet, studs showing, and caught ball and man. It looked a red-card offence in real time but the referee, Michael Oliver, opted for yellow despite having an unobstructed view. Rojo was fortunate in the extreme and the same was true of Gueye, who was able to continue. Koeman said: “It was difficult for the referee. Maybe if the referee watches it back he will think red card.”
Oliver had set a lenient tone earlier on when failing to book Gareth Barry for a late foul from behind on Ibrahimovic. Not that one error justified a second and Barry, Everton’s captain with Phil Jagielka unsurprisingly dropped to the bench, went in the book for persistent misconduct inside half an hour.
No red for Rojo looked set to be the only first-half incident of note when United conjured a goal out of nothing. Mourinho’s team had lacked the precision and urgency of their midweek display – it may not tally with recent obituaries but the suspended Wayne Rooney was missed – yet edged ahead when Stekelenburg managed to turn a routine long ball into a glorious invitation for Ibrahimovic.
The United centre-forward set off in pursuit of Matteo Darmian’s pass over the top alongside Ramiro Funes Mori. Inexplicably, so did the Everton keeper and the Swede seized the invitation to lob Stekelenburg outside his penalty area, the ball striking the crossbar and crossing the line before Funes Mori was able to clear.
Everton lost Séamus Coleman and Yannick Bolasie to injury in quick succession but with their replacements all immediately up to pace with the game, unlike Fellaini, the home team gathered momentum in the second half. De Gea saved from Kevin Mirallas, Gueye and the substitute Enner Valencia as United were pressed with greater conviction. They faulted when Gueye took Barry’s pass into the area, twisted away from Fellaini and went down under slight contact. Mourinho must have known what was coming. Another draw. His art, for now, lost.