There was a subdued start from both sides as they felt their way into the game. Herrera fired an effort towards goal after 17 minutes but Tim Howard tipped it over. It was a promising moment for United and they scored from the resulting corner as Schneiderlin, who was teed up thanks to Chris Smalling’s chest, calmly rolled the ball into the bottom corner of the net for his first competitive goal for the club.
United eased into the clash after the goal and Herrera doubled his side’s advantage minutes later when he headed home Marcos Rojo’s superb ball into the box. The visitors were comfortable from there on out as Everton struggled to get going from an offensive standpoint. United should have made it three just before the break as Rooney broke through before squaring the ball to Anthony Martial but the Frenchman couldn’t find a way past the scrambling Everton defenders.
The hosts responded after the interval and looked more of a threat in the final third. Everton came close through Romelu Lukaku but his low shot was somehow saved by the feet of David de Gea. The United keeper then denied Ross Barkley as Everton edged closer to pulling a goal back. However, it was van Gaal’s side who got the game’s next goal as Rooney pounced on an awful pass from Phil Jagielka before slotting home with ease past Tim Howard. Minutes later, Rooney should have grabbed his second but his weak effort hit Howard’s midriff but it mattered little as United saw out the three points.
Change in personnel
Louis van Gaal switched up his front line at Goodison Park following the awful defeat against Arsenal last time out and it worked well.
Rooney played up top, Martial on the left, Herrera in the no.10 role and Juan Mata on the right. The quartet showed some clever touches and movement during the opening exchanges, with Herrera in particular looking comfortable. Rooney, however, did give away the ball needlessly a few times. But on the whole, the tempo was good and United managed to keep possession well as they went two up early on.
The play leading up to United’s opening goal was scrappy but the Frenchman’s finish exuded confidence and class.
Schneiderlin was left free, in acres of space, in Everton’s box and he punished them with ruthless efficiency. It was an encouraging moment for Schneiderlin, who has been in and out of the team in recent weeks. His overall play was excellent too. In the first half, Schneiderlin had the most touches (53), joint-most passes (44) and completed 97.7% of them. The 25-year-old will now be hopeful of cementing a regular place in the side.
Herrera was sheer class during a first half in which he was a constant thorn in Everton’s side.
The Spaniard’s goal, his eighth in just ten shots on target in the Premier League, was expertly taken and his work in the No.10 role allowed United to take control at Goodison. In the second period, Herrera laid on Rooney for United’s third goal of the match. It is clear for all to see how important Herrera is to this United team and the hope is that van Gaal comes round sooner rather than later.
The youngster was brought on for Juan Mata at half-time by van Gaal, presumably due to injury.
Lingard suffered a long-term injury in van Gaal’s first competitive game in charge of the club and the player has had to wait for his opportunity after recovering so it was good to see him back on the pitch in a United shirt. He was thrust straight back into the action and did well to take the ball away from Barkley when it looked like the midfielder had a clear shot on goal. Lingard didn’t ruffle too many feathers after that but he can be pleased with his display.
Rooney was once again frustrating and once again guilty of an awful first touch for large parts of the game against Everton.
It was a poor performance from Rooney but the United captain registered his second Premier League goal of the campaign with a composed finish after 63 minutes played. The striker took his goal well but the question for van Gaal is whether or not his overall contribution warrants a continued place in the starting XI.