Monday 18 September 2017

Substitutes make the difference again in another late salvo

United left it late to put out-of-form Everton to the sword with three goals in the last eight minutes to record another 4-0 win.

It was the third such scoreline in five league games so far this season, yet this was not always the fluid and dangerous United that we've seen in our brilliant start to the new campaign.

Ultimately though, it was another reminder of this side's firepower, and the ability to ruthlessly and clinically put sides away that proved our chronic undoing last season. 

It is the first time the team have won the first three home games since the 2011-12 season, and we're toe-to-toe with Pep Guardiola's blistering title favourites at the top of the Premier League.

For much of the second half, the Reds toiled and flirted with the idea of allowing the out-of-form visitors - on a run of three successive defeats - back into the match.

There was clear evidence that United missed the energy and ball-carrying ability of the injured Paul Pogba.
Marouane Fellaini has been in fine form himself and deserved his start alongside the again imperious Nemanja Matic, but he cannot offer what the Frenchman does.

United had looked tired and static in midfield, which was odd considering that we had two extra days off than Everton after our European exertions in midweek.

Our substitutes have had a decisive impact in every game so far and the match against Ronald Koeman's side proved no exception. 

The introduction of Jesse Lingard, and then Ander Herrera, increased the team's tempo and gave us the added energy and pace usually provided by the absent Pogba.

Lingard was brought on to shore up the left side - an area that United looked vulnerable throughout - and it was he who was involved in the move that led to Romelu Lukaku's third goal.

Another substitute, Anthony Martial, rounded off the scoring with his injury-time penalty to complete a deserved, but ultimately flattering, win. 

In their six matches so far (not including the Super Cup), United have scored 19 goals and seven of those have now been scored by a player off the bench. 

That statistic goes to highlight the impressive resources, quality and strength in depth that Jose has at his disposal.

It also shows that, despite their disappointment at being left out, the substitutes are determined to give their manager a selection headache and force their way into his thinking. 

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