A pair of early goals saw Everton comfortably ahead, and they snuffed out Manchester United the rest of the way to earn their third straight victory over the Red Devils at Goodison Park.
James McCarthy and John Stones both hit strikes in the opening 45 minutes, and Everton extinguished every United chance before it developed as Kevin Mirallas delivered the deathblow late.
Everton appeared to be on the back foot early, but they would strike first just four minutes in. Following the clearance of a Manchester United corner, Everton forayed into the Red Devil half for the first time on a furious counter. McCarthy darted down the middle and a cutback meant for Romelu Lukaku fell at his feet. The 24-year-old slipped through poor tackles from Daley Blind and Paddy McNair, and slotted an off-balance shot into the back of the net.
United jumped right back onto the ball and got an opportunity for Marouane Fellaini but he fired over the bar with Tim Howard falling on the shot. Fellaini was again the focal point of an opponent’s strategy, as this time Everton looked to wind him up, and it worked, earning the big Belgian a 12th-minute yellow card for taking down Ross Barkley.
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United wouldn’t get too many more good chances as the first half dragged on, and Everton again would pick its spots. A corner swung in from Leighton Baines and Stones met it at the near post, delivering a pinpoint header across the face and into the far corner for the home side’s second 10 minutes before the break, and the 20-year-old’s first Premier League goal.
With Fellaini neutralized, Louis van Gaal made a halftime substitution to bring on Radamel Falcao in an attempt to give United a bigger attacking threat. It didn’t do much right away, as United continued to possess but do little with it. Luke Shaw had a nice pullback for Juan Mata just after halftime but the Spaniard flubbed his shot.
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Van Gaal then brought on Angel Di Maria just after the hour mark with Falcao and Wayne Rooney still receiving little service. With United searching for a way back into the game, the visiting defense shut off and Everton sealed the win.
Ross Barkley on a counter delivered a ball over the top for Lukaku. With the Belgian striker clearly offside, the entire Manchester United defense shut off expecting a flag. Instead, Lukaku stopped before the ball reached him, and having removed himself from play, the whistle never came. The ball went through to Kevin Mirallas, who came on with 20 minutes to go for Leon Osman, and he slotted home Everton’s third to seal the win. He nearly had a second with five minutes to go, but David de Gea produced a stellar save to keep him out.
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Manchester United had nothing left after Everton’s third, and the home side easily saw it out despite the expensive talent in red. The win gives Everton its sixth match in a row without a loss, including five wins. Manchester United, meanwhile, fall to its second straight defeat following a strong run of form through 2015. The Red Devils, more importantly, remain eight points above Liverpool in the final Champions League spot, and fail to take the opportunity to jump above either Manchester City or Arsenal in the table.
Everton: Howard; Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; Lennon, Barkley, Osman (Mirallas 69′); Lukaku.
Goals – McCarthy 5′, Stones 35′, Mirallas 74′
Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, McNair, Shaw, Blind, Herrera, Mata (Di Maria 63′), Fellaini (Falcao 46′), Young, Rooney.