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[VIDEO & RATINGS] United 1 Everton 0: Chicarito Scores The Crucial Goal

With the sun bearing down on Old Trafford, Manchester United scored a 1-0 victory over Everton to take a monumental step towards the Barclays Premier League title.

With the sun bearing down on Old Trafford, Manchester United scored a 1-0 victory over Everton to take a monumental step towards the Barclays Premier League title.

Like he has done so many times this season, Javier Hernandez rose to the occasion and headed home the decisive goal in the 84th minute to give the Reds a fully-deserved win over the Toffees.

Now with only four Premier League matches remaining, this encouraging result moves United nine points clear of both Chelsea and Arsenal, but both of them play later in the weekend.

Like he did against Newcastle United, Sir Alex Ferguson made five changes to his line-up that could only muster up a goalless draw, but Nemanja Vidicis’ absence from the heart of the United defense was the shock exclusion to the starting XI.

In all, the Gaffer made three changes to the back-four as Rio Ferdinand reclaimed his place from Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans replaced the Reds skipper and Fabio filled in for Patrice Evra, but the young Brazilian switched over to right-back and John O’Shea went over to the left.

Staying with the 4-4-2 formation with Wayne Rooney and Hernandez partnered up front, Ferguson only made two switches in the front six with Darron Gibson and Antonio Valencia coming in for Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs, respectively.


A lot of noise was being made that the United team was weakened, but it still bolstered players like Nani, who did well to earn United a couple of free-kicks in the early going. The second one he won, the winger played it short to Rooney, and the former Everton man’s 20-yard blast was blocked out for a corner kick.

Everton had their first good spell of possession, which came right after the linesman failed to properly award United a corner, and Leon Osman had a yard of space in front of Ferdinand, but Edwin van der Sar saw the tame effort all the way and claimed the shot.

The first dangerous attack from either team came from United in the 13th minute. Anderon picked out Hernandez, who then squared to Valencia near the halfway line and he surged forward and played it to Rooney to bear down on the Everton center-backs, and he then slipped the ball wide to Nani, but the winger went on his own from a narrow angle and Tim Howard claimed the shot with ease.

United kept up the pressure down their left, and O’Shea won a corner after his cross was deflected out by Tony Hibbert, but the Irishman flicked the ensuing set piece over the Everton bar.

Over the next couple of minutes, the Reds were patiently building up the attack, and it resulted in the next opportunity to test the Everton goalkeeper. Nani found O’Shea unmarked in the Toffees’ box, but he decided to shoot and it was an embarrassing attempt from the versatile defender.

A minute later, United had another very good quick break, but with Fabio, who made a great run, waiting inside of the Blues’ box, Chicharito’s cross took a lucky deflection into Howard’s gloves.

Anderson and Chicharito combined well and a great one-two between them saw the United forward get behind the defense, and with no other options available, the youngster forced Howard into making a near post save.

Gibson, who is often seen as a one-trick pony, had another chance to show his shooting ability, but he failed to make the proper connection with his 25-yard shot, and screwed it horribly wide.

In the 32nd minute, a quick, mesmerizing passing move from United saw the American goalkeeper make a fine flying save. With Fabio making an overlapping run, Valencia cheekily picked out Rooney, instead, and the Reds’ playmaker picked out Chicharito with his first touch, and the Mexican’s shot, which was straight down the center, was expertly parried away by Howard.

For the first 35 minutes, there was looking as there was only one team interested in getting something from this match. However, that did not stop Jermaine Beckford from going down easily inside the United penalty area looking for a spot kick, which Peter Walton did not even need to wave it away.

How United did not score in the 38th minute was simply astonishing. A long ball over the top saw Valencia overpower Leighton Baines, and once inside the box the Ecuadorian winger picked out his fellow winger, Nani, but his goal-bound shot was blocked by an unsuspecting Chicharito, who was planted on the Old Trafford pitch.

Less than a minute later, both Hernandez and Rooney beat the Everton offside trap, but latter waited a little too long to pick out his partner, and his poor slide rule cross was cleared away by a Blues’ defender.

United kept pressing their foot on the petal, and were lingering around the Everton penalty area, but Chicharito and Fabio were not on the same page, and the full-back played the ball in the opposite direction of his run and Howard collected.

The referee’s halftime whistle went, and it was all United in the first half, but they left themselves frustrated, because there was little resistance from the Toffees.

The second half will certainly test United’s resolve to whether they really want this year’s Premier League title or not, and, unsurprisingly, David Moyes made two positives changes with Victor Anichebe and Tim Cahill coming on for Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Beckford, respectively.

The changes automatically saw Everton with more possession on the United side of the field than they had in the entire first 45 minutes. The nervousness saw Sir Alex, who was returning from a five-match ban, pitch side to encourage his players, but it did not stop the visitors from dominating the early going.

There were not any clear cut chances in the first five minutes of the half with Seamus Coleman’s wayward effort the only shot.

United had their first chance to test the Everton defense when Anderon’s long ball was brought down well by Hernandez, but his lead pass to Rooney was expertly cut out by a last-ditch Phil Jagielka. The referee was heavily involved in the next two minutes.

After a heavy touch that put him under pressure from losing the ball, Anderson earned the first yellow card of the match when he went in high on Coleman. Seconds later, Cahill earned a cheap yellow card by whipping Ferdinand out well after the ball.

Some how Anichebe was able to get in a foot race with Rio, and the Everton forward went down quite easily in the box under the challenge of the United skipper, but, thankfully, Walton did not fall for it and van der Sar gathered up the ball.

O’Shea was clearly struggling with injry, which saw him replaced by the United first-choice left-back, Evra. Finally, the Reds got on the ball and put the Everton defenders under pressure, but Gibson’s long distance shot struck Jagielka, and flew over Howard’s bar for a corner to the home side, which came to nothing.

The next couple of minutes saw Everton put on the back foot, and making timely headers and blocks to deny the Reds any clear cut chances. Seeing that United were becoming a bit too narrow and in desperate need of a goal, Sir Alex brought on Michael Owen for Nani in the 63rd minute, which will see Rooney play out on the left.

Anderson did well to win back the ball for United, and the Brazilian powered into a good position to play a ball to a teammate, but, instead, he sent in a weak near post shot that failed to test the Everton goalkeeper.

Nerves were starting to show for United, and it allowed Everton to get on the ball, and it nearly led to the opening goal. Giving the Everton midfielders space to run in to, and Jack Rodwell in the most advanced position, went for goal, and his shot took a telling deflection off Evans, and it van der Sar did well to get his finger tips on it and put it around the far post.

Some good work around the edge of Everton penalty, United finally got to the baseline, but Anderson’s dangerous cross was cleared away by Jagielka with Owen lurking.

The pressure was building and United was within inches of getting that vital goal, but Sylvain Distin’s unsuspecting touch bounced off the near post. The stoppage in play allowed both managers to make their finally changes with Ryan Giggs coming on for Gibson, and Magaye Gueye replacing Coleman.

Giggs first bit of action saw him slip the ball into Owen inside of the Toffees’ penalty area. Owen slipped passed a couple of defenders, but when he could not work an opening he played the ball to Anderson, and the Brazilian, on his weaker foot, screwed his shot horribly up and it struck Valencia.

Jagielka crashed through the back of Chicharito, which gave United a free-kick from about 25-yards. Rooney curled the ball around the wall, and it was destined for the top corner, but Howard, comfortably, touched the ball over the bar. From that corner, Rooney was given space to shoot at the top of the area, but he drilled his effort wide.

United had another golden opportunity moments later, but Howard denied Chicharito’s goal-bound header with a great one-handed save.

With just six minutes to go, United got the goal that they deserved after putting Everton under massive amounts of pressure all game. Valencia powered down the right wing, and his cross took a major deflection, and Chicharito was on hand at the far post to head the ball in.

Now United need to defend well, because they saw what Everton is capable of from the dramatic 3-3 draw at Goodison Park earlier in the season.

Everton pushed forward with an organized attack, but when they got around the United penalty, Ferdinand got a decisive interception and Anderson broke forward. Gueye, who has not touched the ball since coming on, pulled the United midfielder back to stop a counterattack and earned his name into Walton’s notebook.

The visitors were encouraged when the referee awarded five minutes of stoppage time. A far post cross was half-cleared by Evra, and Jagielka went for goal with a quick shot, but he blasted the ball well over van der Sar’s cross bar from 25-yards. Moments later, a cross from the opposite side of the pitch was met by Cahill, but the United goalkeeper was on his toes and stretched his arms to make the save.


Wayne Rooney ran his socks off for United, and he stroked the ball around the Old Trafford with a newly-found confidence and composure.


E. van der Sar – 6; Fabio – 7, R. Ferdinand – 6, J. Evans – 6, J. O’Shea – 6 (P. Evra – 6); A. Valencia – 7, D. Gibson – 6 (R. Giggs – 6), Anderson – 7, Nani – 6 (M. Owen – 6); W. Rooney – 8, J. Hernandez – 7


J. Hernandez (84′)

Watch video highlights here


  • Possession: 61%
  • Corners: 13
  • Shots (On Target): 21 (6)
  • Fouls Conceded (Suffered): 9 (9)
  • Discipline: Anderson
  • Attendance: 75,300

Submitted by The United Religion

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