Manchester United made it a frustrating homecoming for Wayne Rooney as they thrashed Everton 4-0 at Old Trafford on Super Sunday.
United’s all-time leading scorer watched his former team-mates take an early lead thanks to a fantastic strike from Antonio Valencia with just four minutes on the clock before late goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Romelu Lukaku, who was scoring against his former club, and Anthony Martial put further gloss on the victory.
Despite chances at either end, including a good one for Rooney, Everton couldn’t live up to United’s ruthlessness, as the hosts moved level on points at the top of the table with rivals Manchester City.
The result leaves Everton with just four points after their first five Premier League games, although their tricky fixture list, which has seen them take on United, City, Chelsea and Tottenham, is behind them now.
Manchester United: De Gea (8), Valencia (8), Bailly (7), Jones (7), Young (7), Matic (7), Fellaini (6), Mata (7), Mkhitaryan (7), Rashford (5), Lukaku (7)
Subs: Martial (7), Herrera (6), Lingard (6)
Everton: Pickford (5), Keane (6), Jagielka (6), Williams (6), Martina (6), Schneiderlin (7), Davies (6), Gueye (7), Baines (6), Sigurdsson (7), Rooney (7).
Subs: Sandro (6), Calvert-Lewin (6), Mirallas (6)
Man of the match: Antonio Valencia
Everton set out with a view to containing the confident hosts – but their resistance was broken inside four minutes by a sensational strike by Valencia.
Nemanja Matic whipped the ball across to the United full-back, who decided to hit an outrageous first-time effort from 22 yards which pinged like a rocket into the top corner.
Rooney spent most of the first half-hour being crowded out of the game but he did wriggle free to turn a Cuco Martina cross a few yards wide before Lukaku missed a glorious chance when one-on-one with Jordan Pickford.
Jose Mourinho made five changes to the side that beat Basel 3-0 in the Champions League in midweek. Marouane Fellaini replaced the injured Paul Pogba, while Marcus Rashford, Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones all returned. It’s was also five changes for Everton from the midweek defeat. Jordan Pickford returned in goal in place of Maarten Stekelenburg, while Cuco Martina, Ashley Williams, Idrissa Gueye and Tom Davies also were handed starts.
Rooney’s golden chance came just after the break when his tenacity inside the box left him with a very presentable opportunity from 12 yards out – but his former team-mate David de Gea was there to rescue the hosts.
In a much more even second period, United slipped deeper as Everton grew in confidence although Juan Mata did fire a 20-yard free-kick against the post just before the hour mark and Matic fired a daisy-cutter just wide on 75 minutes.
Rooney was replaced to a standing ovation with eight minutes remaining and United took advantage of Everton’s gung-ho approach, firing home three late goals. Mkhitaryan was sent through by Lukaku before finishing across Pickford before the former Everton man poked home from close range minutes later. There was still time for substitute Martial to plant a penalty home after Morgan Schneiderlin had handled.
- This was Everton’s heaviest league defeat at Old Trafford since losing 5-1 in December 1999 under Walter Smith.
- The Toffees are winless in their last 11 away Premier League games (D5 L6), their worst run since May 2004 (also 11 without a win).
- Lukaku has scored five goals in his first five Premier League appearances for Manchester United, a record matched only by Louis Saha and Robin van Persie.
- Rooney has faced 38 different opponents in the Premier League – Manchester United are the only side he’s never won against (P5 W0 D0 L5).by