As it happened: Everton v Manchester United, Premier League
Trust Fergie to make the biggest signing of the summer and then leave him on the bench. No matter, this is still going to be huge. We’re live for Everton v Manchester United!

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Full-Time: Everton 1-0 Manchester United

First of all, to the teams, and the somewhat disappointing news that Robin van Persie starts his Manchester United career on the bench.

Still, there’s enough quality on show to make it, potentially, the standout game of the opening weekend.

Everton: Howard, Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Osman, Gibson, Neville, Pienaar, Fellaini, Jelavic

Subs: Mucha, Heitinga, Naismith, Gueye, Barkley, Coleman, Anichebe

Man Utd: De Gea, Valencia, Carrick, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Cleverley, Scholes, Kagawa, Rooney, Welbeck

Subs: Lindegaard, Da Silva, Anderson, Berbatov, Young, van Persie, Wootton

Referee: Andre Marriner

Looking at the United line-up, it seems that Fergie is trying a patented 2-6-2 formation. Well, not really, but Antonio Valencia and Michael Carrick find themselves in the unusual positions of right-back and centre-back respectively.

Everton, meanwhile, feature three former United men (Howard, Neville, Gibson) and one future United player, if the papers are to be believed.

Leighton Baines, that being.

Everton kick off and are attacking from right to left.

Baines swings in a free-kick but Leon Osman’s header goes well wide of De Gea’s goal. That barely registers as an effort on goal.

Nani slides in on Baines and Andre Marriner deems it worthy of a booking. Hardly. Even Baines, perhaps with one eye on his new colleagues, urges the ref to keep his card in his pocket. No dice. Yellow card for Nani.

Not a huge amount to get excited about, though United are pressing and pressing. Kagawa is showing some nice touches but Sylvain Distin is having a good day at the office. No way through.

That’s pretty bad from Paul Scholes, who scythes down Darron Gibson with a patented Paul Scholes-challenge. The pensioner is booked.

Meanwhile, Marouane Fellaini tricks his way towards the United goal brilliantly but can’t beat de Gea. Jelavic is annoyed – he wanted the pull-back.

A free-kick from Baines is well dealt with by de Gea, and Steven Pienaar skies the rebound. Nervy few moments from the visitors.

Steffan Kelly, in the comments, asks who Wootton is?

Well, he’s 20-year-old Scott Wootton, a defender in a time of crisis for Ferguson and company. He’s not without experience, having turned out for Nottingham Forest on loan last season.

De Gea is keeping United in the game as he saves from Jelavic and Pienaar, who injures himself. After that Fellaini turns superbly but lashes his shot high and wide. Everton are dominating this.

And where is Wayne Rooney?

Scholes is fouled on the edge of the Everton penalty and Rooney steps up to take the free-kick. He curls it superbly over the wall but just wide of Tim Howard’s post. United’s best chance has gone begging.

“First time shot, always travelling wide.” The Sky Sports commentators on Pienaar.

Everton go SO close to the opening goal – the ball bounces around the United box after Fellaini misdirects a header, falls to Pienaar and his shot is seen late by de Gea, who does brilliantly to get down and turn it away. Best chance of the match.

Incidentally, if Messrs Scholes and Fellaini don’t float your boat, over on The Journal site Michael Freeman is liveblogging the Rose of Tralee.

Penalty??? No penalty! Jagielka seems to tug Welbeck down just inside the Everton box but Marriner is not convinced. It was a ‘seen them given’ if you ask us.

Fellaini is at the heart of everything. His knockdown falls to Osman, who spins and does well to get a shot on target. That shot, however, is right down the throat of de Gea and the Spaniard saves.

“I’ll be honest.. Liverpool won’t win the league,united have got a chance but also won’t, can only see city…”

One Robert Bernard Fowler on the Twitter machine.

A free-kick from Baines and it’s the save of the half from de Gea, who gets to the curling effort with his right-hand. It was even better when you take the deflection off the wall into account.

We’ll have two minutes of stoppage time.

We have the whistle as Howard makes his first real save of the game from Rooney. Everton on top in the first half, with Fellaini superb. Can’t wait for the second half.

We’re back, and no substitutions at half-time.

So close for Everton! Fellaini, once again, heads back into the path of Osman and the midfielder lashes his shot against the underside of the crossbar.

United storm upfield and Jagielka gets in a quite brilliant challenge on Welbeck.


Alan Parry’s insistence on called Jagielka ‘Yagielka’ is very annoying.

Rooney tries to curl the ball past Howard as Kagawa makes a dummy run on his outside. It doesn’t work. He’s not playing well, the former Everton player.

GOAL! Marouane Fellaini heads Everton in front from a corner, as he bullies Michael Carrick out of the way. The big Belgian has absolutely devoured this match, and the lead is deserved.

How long before we see… ???

Another Fellaini header as the midfielder gets above Vidic from a Jagielka knockdown, but it’s a tame effort.

Rooney gets free and tries to feed it across the box, but there’s no United player there.

Welbeck goes off to be replaced by Robin van Persie. Strange, so strange, to see him in United gear.

There is not a single Everton player in the United half. What they have, they certainly intend to hold.

Ashley Young is coming on, and you’d imagine Nani will be the man to go off. Meanwhile…

There are 14 minutes left and it’s hard to remember a gilt-edged chance for United. Young on for Nani.

The United new boys link up as van Persie nutmegs one of the Everton defenders and picks out Kagawa. Howard gets on top of it just as the Japanese shoots, and the ball loops to safety. A sign of things to come?

Leon Osman goes off to a standing ovation – he’s been almost as good as Fellaini – and is replaced by Seamus Coleman.

Interesting one about how Tony Hibbert is the only Everton player taking part that also played in David Moyes’ first game in charge.

Well, interesting to an anorak like me.

Anderson comes on to replace Tom Cleverley. That could be the first time tonight I’ve written Tom Cleverley.

Young curls in a cross and Howard gathers it. That’s not interesting, but the match has descended into mediocrity. Coleman had one chance for Everton but he was pushed too wide by the United defence.

Coleman does brilliantly, running 40 or 50 yards and drawing a foul from Vidic, before Steven Naismith comes on for his Everton debut.

United finally start to press but there are too many passes in front of Everton, and Anderson ends up shooting the ball wide. Fellaini goes off to be replaced by Johnny Heitinga.

Standing ovation. Obviously.

That’s it! A brilliant performance from Everton, who thoroughly deserved to beat Manchester United. Alex Ferguson’s side were lethargic and had no ideas.

United just could not handle Fellaini, who gave what will possibly be one of the performances of the season. Phenomenal stuff from a player who could well be tempting the more monied clubs before the window closes.

And so concludes the first round of games in the Premier League. Defeats for Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham. A poor draw for Arsenal. A stroll for Chelsea and a nervy win for the champions. It’s been a weekend to celebrate Swansea, Fulham and the brilliant perm of Merseyside’s favourite Belgium.

Thanks for keeping up…

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