Manchester United failed to win for the third time in four games as the points were shared at Old Trafford against Everton.
A first half strike from Anthony Martial was cancelled out by Andros Townsend’s 65th minute leveller, his fifth goal in nine games.
Much of the talk pre-match centred around the controversial decision to leave Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba out of the starting eleven.
Both were brought on in the second half but were unable to change the tide of the game, as United missed a big chance to go top.
Here’s three things we learnt from today’s game:
Sancho starting to find feet
After an admittedly slow start to his United career, the £73 million man Jadon Sancho is starting to acclimatise to his new surroundings.
Jadon Sancho only played 33 minutes vs. Everton. Despite this, no player created more chances than him in the game .
A bright cameo. 🔴 pic.twitter.com/l7SPK7eB0d
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) October 2, 2021
Creating two chances during his short cameo, the 21-year-old had the beating of his man and showed his brilliant creativity.
One of the few bright sparks of an otherwise dull afternoon, it won’t be long before the goals and assists begin to tumble for Sancho in Manchester.
Ole’s Martial decision vindicated
Perhaps even more surprising than Ronaldo and Pogba being benched was the surprise inclusion of Anthony Martial for his first Premier League start since August.
But the Frenchman proved the detractors wrong by netting his first Premier League goal since the 2nd of February, fully vindicating manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s faith in him.
The seven goals Martial has scored against Everton is the most he’s scored against any opponent in his career to date and should do wonders for his confidence going forward.
Season-defining run coming up
After dropping more points against Everton, United now head into the international break knowing the most important run of the season is upon them.
Their next seven Premier League fixtures read Leicester, Liverpool, Tottenham, Man City, Watford, Chelsea and Arsenal, with tough Champions League ties with Atalanta (home and away) and Villareal sandwiched in between.
These games will likely determine weather United are genuine title contenders or just in the race for top four and a number of bad results could see their season end before it’s really started.
Solskjaer must first tackle the defensive fragility that has cost his side so much this season, with the club currently on a run of nine games at Old Trafford without a clean sheet.
With some big games ahead and the club on a notable poor run of form, Ole has to produce if he wants to remain in the hotseat.