Manchester United kicked off 2018 on a winning note as two second-half goals saw them beat Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park on New Year’s Day.
Everton 0 Manchester United 2
First half goalless in tricky conditions
Mata hits woodwork from distance
Martial opens scoring with fine finish
Lingard seals win with stunning strike
Jose Mourinho’s side brought 2017 to a close with three successive draws which dented dent their slim title hopes, but they got back to winning ways in the new year courtesy of fine strikes from Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 1, 2018
The wet and windy conditions on Merseyside made life difficult for both set of players as they struggled to create clear-cut openings in the first half.
The first chance came to the hosts on five minutes when Mason Holgate headed well over from a corner, while Martial skied an effort from outside the box at the other end on the quarter-hour mark, in what was a quiet opening.
The two teams were largely restricted to shots from distance, with Tom Davies seeing his effort from 22 yards out deflected wide of the left post off Phil Jones in the 18th minute, before Nikola Vlasic volleyed over from 20 yards out moments later under pressure from Jesse Lingard after running onto a cleared corner.
Jones then blazed over from a long way out on 25 minutes and Jordan Pickford was finally called into action two minutes later as he made a routine save from Marcos Rojo’s header after the defender connected with Juan Mata’s free-kick on the left.
Pickford was required to make another stop soon afterwards when he parried Martial’s angled shot after the Frenchman was slipped in by Luke Shaw on the left, while Ander Herrera flashed a shot over from 21 yards out in the 34th minute after winning the ball back off Wayne Rooney.
Pogba went close four minutes later with a left-footed shot that deflected just wide of the left post off Davies, and Lingard also narrowly missed the target four minutes before half-time as he surged towards goal from the left before firing past the right post from 19 yards out.
United made a bright start to the second half, with Mata forcing Pickford to tip over his 20-yard strike two minutes in, before the Spaniard clipped the outside of the left post from longer range on 51 minutes.
Martial was just unable to get on the end of Pogba’s low delivery into the six-yard box from the left four minutes later, but the French flyer finally struck in the 57th minute as he picked out the top-right corner of the net from the edge of the box after being fed by Pogba.
Pogba almost doubled the visitors’ lead on 63 minutes as he danced his way into the area before unleashing a shot that was pushed behind by Pickford, but the Toffees missed the chance to level matters eight minutes later when Omar Niasse headed Holgate’s cross from the right wide of the near post.
Pickford produced the save of the match on 78 minutes to tip Lingard’s driven effort around the right post from Marcus Rashford’s cutback on the left, but there was nothing he could do to prevent the winger from scoring three minutes later.
After being fed on the left by Pogba, Lingard cut inside and sent a shot arcing into the top-right corner from just outside the box to cap off a fine performance.
There was a late opportunity for the Merseysiders as Michael Keane managed to climb above Jones at a corner in stoppage time, but the defender’s header flew well wide of the right post.