Everton fell to a 2-0 loss at Manchester United this afternoon, ending their four-game unbeaten run and potentially pushing them back into drop zone if other results go against them.
This was a defeat that could well have been heavier as the Toffees’ struggled to get into the game and offer any threat to their hosts.
Jordan Pickford prevented several more likely goals as Everton were put under sustained pressure by United, especially in the first half as the hosts peppered their goal.
Going into this afternoon’s encounter I had been optimistic that the Blues’ could get something from today’s match, given the much-improved resiliance seen over the last few weeks.
Well, I was wrong and the Toffees’ produced arguably their worst performance under Sean Dyche since the Arsenal away game.
The bald facts are that strikes from Scott McTominay in the first half and then substitute Anthony Martial after the break deservedly gave United the points.
Dyche had some selection and tactical decisions to make before the match with Abdoulaye Doucoure banned for the game.
He decided to bring Ellis Simms back into the starting eleven in and paired him with Demarai Gray up front in what was something of a surprise move.
Gray and Simms together struggled to make an impact, although Simms did have one good chance in the first half.
United dominated the ball in the opening forty-five minutes and had a remakable twenty-one shots but only scored one goal.
Everton were very much second best and several players had particular struggles. Both full-backs Seamus Coleman and Ben Godfrey in particular had a tough time with Godfrey being then withdrawn at half-time and Coleman later on.
In the second half the Blues’ reverted to Dyche’s previously favoured 4-5-1 formation and made a slightly better fist of the contest before Martial’s strike (another one he has scored against Everton) settled it. The awful record at Old Trafford goes on.
This was a very disappointing afternoon and the defeat puts even more pressure on the Toffees’ next fixture, Fulham, at Goodison Park.