A brilliant goal from Anthony Martial coupled with a thunderous strike from Jesse Lingard gave Manchester United a much-needed and a well-deserved victory at the Goodison Park in their first league game of the new year.
Jose Mourinho’s men seemed to have found their mojo in the second period after a decent first half which saw neither team creating any major goalscoring chances. With Lukaku unavailable for selection, the Portuguese decided to go with a 4-3-3 where Paul Pogba was given some much-needed freedom as Matic and Herrera were given the nod to guard the back four.
After a quiet first-half, the French midfielder single-handedly gave Everton a run for their money. Be it playing his precise passes, his sheer pace or his ability to run down the defence, the 24-year-old did it all and played his part in both of United’s goals. United were in cruise control by the second period and the deadlock was broken soon after the restart.
A brilliant break saw Paul Pogba get his space on the flank. Getting past the Everton defence, the Frenchman found Anthony Martial right outside the area and the 22-year-old curled the ball into the net with a brilliant effort. Jesse Lingard added another as the game approached its final ten minutes and Paul Pogba was at it yet again.
Lingard received the ball from around 35 yards out and the 25-year-old decided to charge towards the goal all by himself. Curling a shot towards the far post, the Englishman scored his 7th goal in the league this season and all of them have come in 9 appearances since 28th November.
Mourinho spoke to Sky Sports (h/t ESPN) after the game,
“Jesse Lingard – one thing is to be a young talent, another thing is to be a very good player. Some players are not capable of that jump. They go from great potential to normal players. Lingard is giving that jump. He is more consistent, he is adaptable, he understands better the game, he is going in a good direction.
“I don’t know about transfers. In this moment we are in trouble, in two to three weeks time maybe we recover and we breathe in a different way. Can we improve now or do we wait until the summer? I cannot say.”
Despite the fact that Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard got the goals, Paul Pogba, arguably, was United’s best player on the field. Having said that, United now sit second on the Premier League log with both City and Chelsea yet to play their games. Meanwhile, the win left United fans in a hysteria and this is how they reacted to it:
Kylian Mbappe has posters of Jesse Lingard in his room. pic.twitter.com/KQ9l90ODem
— Ryan 🔴 (@Vintage_Utd) January 1, 2018
Fact: Lingard has more goals than Aguero Lacazette Jesus Morata and Salah combined this year. pic.twitter.com/4F25tqi8O1
— Sam ✨ (@JuanderfuI) January 1, 2018
Goals in 2018 :
Jesse Lingard : 1
Harry Kane : 0
— Rahul Sharma 🏏 (@CricFreakRD) January 1, 2018
Lingard > Everyone
— Tonio (@AntonisFTW) January 1, 2018
This is more than just a good run of form. Jesse Lingard is becoming a top player for us pic.twitter.com/x3viBgTuxZ
— J.A.O (@JuanAnderOnly) January 1, 2018
— RASOOL (@imrasool) January 1, 2018
Jose Mourinho deserves MASSIVE credit for transforming Jesse Lingard this season.
— Cameron (@Adept_TD) January 1, 2018
This has to be the best day of the year so far!
— Funny Tweets (@FunnyThingsUK) January 1, 2018
— Scholesy18 (@18GingerNinja) January 1, 2018
Paul Pogba’s game by numbers vs. Everton:
85% pass accuracy
7 chances created
2 take-ons completed
— Sourav Pachisia (@pachisia_sourav) January 1, 2018
— barry jagero (@barryjagero) January 1, 2018
The easiest MotM choice this season, @paulpogba 🔥🔴🇾🇪
— Raman Paul (@Raman7Paul) January 1, 2018
£90m overrated flop Paul Pogba in the PL:
Games – 12
Assists – 7
World Class best midfield player in the world Kevin de Bruyne in the PL:
— United Xtra (@utdxtra) January 1, 2018
If Pogba doesn’t play in that position for the remainder of the season then there’s something wrong. Can’t move him after that. #MUFC
— Tom McDermott (@MrTomMcDermott) January 1, 2018
Lingard’s goal was quality, but his off the ball run that gave Pogba the room to create Martial’s goal was movement of the highest order. Selflessly brilliant.
— RG (@registability) January 1, 2018
Paul Pogba has registered an assist on average every 149 minutes in the Premier League this season, the best record of any player who has more than 1 assist this season. pic.twitter.com/WOSYIAAffS
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) January 1, 2018
So can be all agree that Pogba on the left of a three-man midfield and being given free rein to do as he damn well pleases is his best position?
— Anna_MUFC (@mufc_anna) January 1, 2018
Pogba in that advanced position is absolutely devastating with his power . Please play him more advanced Jose.
— SCHOLES (@iamscholes) January 1, 2018
José Mourinho better not change from 4-3-3 after watching this performance. It is a much better option with Pogba being given the licence to roam forward.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) January 1, 2018