Manchester United 1 Everton 1
Manchester United’s bid to claim a third consecutive Premier League win for the first time since January foundered on a lack of ruthlessness in front of goal.
After the high-octane victories over Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side were sloppy and profligate. Everton came to be dogged and if not for a cool-eyed finish by 18-year-old Mason Greenwood in the 77th minute Duncan Ferguson’s team would have won.
It meant that after the final league outing before the year anniversary of Solskjær’s appointment as interim manager, United have one less point than the 26 accrued by predecessor José Mourinho after the same 17 games.
The Norwegian named the XI triumphant in the derby, while Ferguson's showed four changes. Yerry Mina, Bernard, Seamus Coleman and Tom Davies all came in for Theo Walcott, Morgan Schneiderlin, Djibril Sidibé and Gylfi Sigurdsson, none of whom were replacements.
United's wins over City and Spurs featured bright starts and there was another here: from kick-off Marcus Rashford flicked on, Anthony Martial took over and when Fred dribbled in Everton's area the ball broke for Jesse Lingard who should not have missed from seven yards.
Everton's response was instant: a Mason Holgate cross-shot had to be tipped over by David De Gea and Lucas Digne took the first of two corners that were defended shakily in an augury of what would cost United later in the period.
Before this Solskjær's side should have scored at least twice. First Victor Lindelöf's diagonal pass was trapped expertly by Rashford but his left-foot shot proved wild. Then Daniel James moved in from the right flank but his effort flashed wide of Jordan Pickford.
Everton’s 4-4-2 was proving the kind of back-to-front approach the shape suggests. Mina or one of his defensive colleagues would take the ball and punt it forward in hope. United’s was the silkier play.
The two styles were akin to a tractor going up against a Jaguar F-type. As the half aged United looked to find an elevated gear before spluttering. When Rashford dipped a 25-yard free-kick at Pickford the goalkeeper had to scramble to punch clear and from here Everton took charge.
One passage in which Everton strung several passes together presaged them taking the lead due to dismal defending from United. When Luke Shaw failed to clear Everton claimed a corner. Leighton Baines delivered from the right, De Gea flapped at this dismally – with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Mina in attendance – and the ball sailed clear through and rebounded limply off Lindelöf and in.
VAR ruled legal a strike that was an apt example of Everton’s football under Ferguson. Solskjær’s half-time chat surely consisted of a stern word and a reminder to be patient and play through Everton.
Soon afterwards Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s cross was headed out by Holgate into Fred’s path but he blazed over. So, too, did Rashford when hoping to beat Pickford from 20 yards with one of his front-of-the boot specials.
United were, though, again performing at speed. Scott McTominay zipped a ball into James's path and his instant cross had to be heeled clear by Michael Keane. What Everton continued to do well was disrupt the rhythm United hoped to establish. They were aided by Fred scuffing a corner and Lindelöf spooning a regulation header out. Shaw showed the way with a darting run that finished with Pickford saving his shot and James's follow-up cannoning off Lingard's face.
The No 14 was replaced soon after with Greenwood in what became a 4-2-4 when United attacked. James had a shot saved. Lindelöf went close. Martial and Fred combined and Greenwood won a corner. Yet Fred – again – made a hash of this as were his team of showing a killer touch in the final third.
It took Greenwood to show how. His calm touch and finish from outside the area beat Pickford superbly. Yet United still struggled for any real control and could be as vulnerable as their vistors when being attacked. It meant by the close the draw felt the fair result. - Guardian