Everton vs. Manchester United: 5 Things We Learned
United have been impressive on the road this season and, until yesterday, had the best away record in the league. But that form still included away defeats to Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City as well as draws against Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. Everton just joined the list of teams above United in the table that Moyes' side couldn't beat.
Did we learn anything new from the game? United aren't good enough and are never likely to be under Moyes, but that has been evident in most matches. The performance against Everton was poor, but there were still lessons to be learnt.
Possession Means Nothing Without Chances
Manchester United had 61 percent possession, yet Everton had almost twice as many attempts on goal.
The first time Tim Howard had to make a big save was with a few minutes remaining when Wayne Rooney had a shot.
It didn't matter to Everton that United saw so much of the ball because they did next to nothing with it. The home side didn't even have to play that well to be convincing winners.
Phil Jones Has a Long Way to Go
A year ago, Sir Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports that Phil Jones "could be our best ever player." On Sunday afternoon with the score at 0-0, Jones found himself on the floor when Romelu Lukaku unleashed a shot.
Why was he on the ground? Why did he then reach up to block the shot with his arm? Who knows.
Before replays had even been shown, the player's reaction to the referee pointing to the spot told you all you needed to know. He looked embarrassed, and so he should.
He is a professional footballer playing for Manchester United, and he's guilty of behaviour you would see on the playground.
Jones may well have bags of potential, but he is very far away from being United's best ever player.
Leighton Baines Has No Regrets
Everton turned down a derisory bid for Leighton Baines from Manchester United in the summer, and the player remained quiet.
He didn't go to the papers and try and force a move. He genuinely appeared to be content where he was and then later signed a contract extension to reassure the fans.
Baines put Everton 1-0 up from the penalty spot as his team finished the day 12 points ahead of the current champions. Does he have any regrets about not leaving for United? Why would he?
Wayne Rooney Struggles Against His Former Club
Wayne Rooney always struggles when he plays against his former club, and Sunday afternoon was no exception.
He returned to his boyhood club wearing the captain's armband for United but did next to nothing all game.
According to FourFourTwo Statzone, he had just two attempts on goal all game and only one of those was on target. The other was blocked on the edge of the penalty area. He completed 14 passes in the attacking third, a feat bettered by seven players on the pitch. He only created one chance for a team-mate, too.
All in all, it was a game for him to forget—like most of his performances against Everton.
United Need a New Midfield
Sorry for stating the obvious. United fans have been calling for world-class additions to the centre of the park for years. Sir Alex Ferguson stubbornly refused with Owen Hargreaves in the summer of 2007 being the last midfielder he purchased.
David Moyes snubbed the opportunity to sign Thiago and instead overpaid for Marouane Fellaini, who has been appalling.
The defeat against Everton was just one of many, many occasions this season when United have been played off the park in the centre of midfield.
Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher saw plenty of the ball, they just didn't do anything with it, and Gareth Barry was made to look like a world beater.