Manchester United travelled to Goodison Park to face Everton, with the Red Devils looking to get back to winning ways after the derby drubbing.
Erik ten Hag made changes to the starting XI from the defeat against City, handing Casemiro, Anthony Martial Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw starts in place of Scott McTominay, Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Tyrell Malacia.
Tonight’s triumph has left United in fifth position on the table, just a point below Chelsea in fourth.
Here are three things we learned from United’s triumph against a stubborn Everton side.
Casemiro must come into the team permanently
Casemiro had a monster display against the Toffees, showing Ten Hag and the fans why the club forked big money to pry him from Real Madrid’s hands.
The Brazilian recovered well after an early error that led to Everton equalizing through Alex Iwobi.
After the damning error that saw United trail after only five minutes into proceedings, Casemiro barely put a foot wrong in the game.
He showed United just what they have been missing in the last few years and what good things could come out of having a world-class central defensive midfielder sitting and shielding the back four.
The 30-year-old delved into numerous tackles and duels, coming out victorious on almost every occasion. His aggression was a thing of beauty, instilling much-needed grit and steel in the middle of the park for the Red Devils.
He capped off a brilliant opening 45 minutes by stealing the ball from Evertonian hands in spectacular fashion before putting Cristiano Ronaldo through on goal with a sublime ball. Ronaldo made no mistake with such fine service.
The Portuguese put the ball into the back of the net to launch his side into the lead minutes before the break.
Casemiro’s passing was a highlight of the game. He showed a willingness and bravery to pick up the ball and spray it forward and to his midfield accomplices – something McTominay has either been unwilling to do or just can’t execute.
On the evidence of his exploits against Everton, he may have finally dethroned McTominay and taken his rightful position in the mix.
United can’t rely on Martial and must look to the market for a solution
Heading into the game, there was a lot of hype and excitement about Martial starting and rightly so after his heroics in the Europa League vs Omonia and in the second half against City.
However, just minutes before kick-off word started going around about a possible injury that could keep him out of matters.
The 26-year-old soldiered on until the 27th minute when he had to be substituted off for Ronaldo.
The striker looked uncomfortable in the 27 minutes he was on the pitch and did not appear to be properly mobile. Nevertheless, in the limited time he had, Martial chipped in with a fantastic assist for Antony’s goal and United’s leveller.
With uncertainty over the future of Ronaldo and with the Frenchman’s injury record, United must look for a solution in the January transfer window.
There are options and deals to be done. Examples include Cody Gakpo and Benfica’s Goncalo Ramos who the Reds have been linked with in recent weeks and days.
A decent option would alleviate Ten Hag’s over-reliance on Martial and Ronaldo.
United solid defensively
Ten Hag’s men were resolute in the second half and defensively solid. The players had to be after the second half which was a far cry from the first.
Failing to keep possession and at times making unforced errors on the ball, it was of utmost importance to remain tight at the back.
United repelled multiple Everton chances with blocks and crucial interceptions on the way to all three points.
While the manager will be pleased by the work rate, passion and desire shown from a defensive standpoint, he will undoubtedly be annoyed by his players’ inability to control the game for 90 minutes.
Martinez was once again excellent, as was Lindelof and the fullbacks. Casemiro in his natural provided an extra layer of solidity to shut out Frank Lampard’s side.
Overall, three important and hard-fought for points.