Manchester United 0 - 0 Everton
Monday 30 August
Not even Ronaldo could find the net today as United lurched from one bad result to another. Everton were easily beaten in midfield but despite the massive pressure on the Everton goal, United failed to score. Against Blackburn Rovers it was the form of the opposing goalkeeper that stopped us winning three points - this time it was the goalposts themselves. United players hit the post THREE times.
During a dull and lacklustre first half, in which the Reds had struggled to create any great goal-scoring opportunities, United looked far from their potent best. Perhaps Kleberson is still finding his feet in English football, or perhaps he was tired from having to actually play for the first team more than twice a season. Either way, he didn't give anyone the impression he was a world class footballer, and even fewer people would have guessed that he was Brazilian.
The second half was much better for United, and the team piled forwards at every occasion. They dominated possession, and the ball was kept in the Everton half for much of the half. But no matter how many times Gary Neville crossed the ball, or Ronaldo jinked superbly passed the Everton cloggers, the ball simply wouldn't go into the back of the net.
When Uniteds attackers weren't busy missing with the ball, their defenders appeared equally incapable. Of the three or four chances Everton created, two were started from mis-hit passes by Mikael Silvestre. Indeed Silvestre, who has struggled to find his form after an awful Euro 2004, nearly gifted Everton a penalty when he handled the ball quite blatantly in his own area. Thankfully the referee wasn't in a good position to see what happened!
One bright spark was that Ronaldo was on top form. He was one of the unlucky players to hit the woodwork. He drove the ball with pace and power from 25 yards, but despite beating the keeper, his shot wasn't quite accurate enough. It was a day when United can genuinely say that they were unlucky.
However unlucky United have been over the past few days is scary. But the sad fact of the matter is that we're already seven points behind Arsenal, and have dropped four points against such third class opposition as Everton and Blackburn - you can bet your bottom dollar that Arsenal will not make such hard work of destroying teams of this calibre.
Man Utd: Howard, Gary Neville, Silvestre, O'Shea, Spector, Fletcher (Giggs 64), Scholes, Kleberson (Djemba-Djemba 64), Ronaldo (Bellion 81), Smith, Saha.
Subs Not Used: Phil Neville, Carroll.
Everton: Martyn, Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone, Osman, Watson, Carsley, Kilbane, Cahill (Naysmith 70), Bent (Ferguson 54).
Subs Not Used: Wright, Campbell, McFadden.
Booked: Osman, Cahill.
Referee: D Gallagher (Oxfordshire).