United and Arsenal have handed Liverpool a top four place on a plate
A month ago, Liverpool may have resided in the top four but they looked incredibly vulnerable as both Manchester United and Arsenal held two games in hand on them and were well within touching distance. Yet both clubs have faltered massively, with United winning just one of their four Premier League games while Arsenal have not won in the league since 11 February.
Now, both United and Arsenal can move to 57 points if they win their games in hand, a tally that will still be two short of Liverpool. Jürgen Klopp appeared in a confident mood on Tuesday as he talked up his side’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League, as he made the very good point in that their rivals still need to play each other and will drop points as a result.
Manchester United 1 Everton 1 player ratings
Manchester United 1 Everton 1 player ratings
1/22 David de Gea – 4 out of 10
So often the saviour, could have done more to prevent Jagielka’s peculiar goal, like closing his legs for starters.
2/22 Ashley Young – 7 out of 10
Offered more offensively than most and tested Everton’s defence with several crosses, but his team-mates failed to make them count.
3/22 Marcos Rojo – 4 out of 10
A more assertive centre-half would have clattered Jagielka and won the header that lead to the goal. Too often, Rojo is not that centre-half.
4/22 Eric Bailly – 6 out of 10
Dealt with Lukaku in the brief moments he threatened United’s backline on a largely quiet night for the hosts’ defence.
5/22 Daley Blind – 5 out of 10
Ineffective going forward first half, hauled off for Paul Pogba at half-time.
6/22 Ander Herrera – 7 out of 10
One of United’s brighter sparks but even so, should have done better than hit the bar when latching onto the rebound of Blind’s first half free-kick.
7/22 Michael Carrick - 6 out of 10
Struggled to have an impact and often too conservative in his passing when United needed a fresh impetus.
8/22 Marouane Fellaini – 4 out of 10
The many United supporters who believe he simply should not be in this team had their arguments boosted. Offers little more than a target on set pieces and a mistimed tackle.
9/22 Jesse Lingard – 4 out of 10
Like Fellaini, a display to fuel his critics. Wasteful in the first-half, largely anonymous in the second.
10/22 Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 5 out of 10
Still misses far too many opportunities for a frontman of his quality. Could have got United off to a perfect start but fluffed his lines.
11/22 Marcus Rashford – 4 out of 10
A night where his relative inexperience showed. Has good grace and plenty of time on his side to improve, at least.
12/22 Joel Robles – 8 out of 10
Recovered from a shaky display in the Merseyside derby to impress. Best save came when acrobatically denying Blind from a free-kick.
13/22 Mason Holgate – 7 out of 10
Mature performance from the youngster. Poked a low cross away from Rashford’s toes to keep it 1-0 towards the end of the first half.
14/22 Phil Jagielka – 7 out of 10
A quite remarkable finish for his goal and coped well defensively, although aided by United’s lack of pace in forward positions.
15/22 Ashley Williams – 4 out of 10
It was all going so well until that late handball. The Wales international wins a lot of plaudits, but this was another mistake in a debut Everton season peppered with them.
16/22 Leighton Baines – 6 out of 10
Played his part in a solid defensive display, but would perhaps have had more problems if facing the rested Antonio Valencia.
17/22 Idrissa Gueye – 6 out of 10
Swept up and stifled United attacks alongside Barry, though Herrera had the better of him at times.
18/22 Gareth Barry – 8 out of 10
The key man in Everton’s backs-to-the-wall resistance, did not mind getting a little dirty. Will have enjoyed one ‘experienced’ challenge on Rashford.
19/22 Tom Davies – 7 out of 10
No doubt buoyed by his new contract, the youngster was much better than at Anfield. Showed movement and intelligence breaking into the final third.
20/22 Ross Barkley – 6 out of 10
Another player who improved from Anfield, but in Barkley’s case it was not hard. If you’re being harsh, showed little creativity, but battled well.
21/22 Kevin Mirallas – 6 out of 10
Brought more invention to the line-up having sat out the majority of the derby. He and Lukaku were not on the same wavelength at times, however.
22/22 Romelu Lukaku – 5 out of 10
At times guilty of not holding the ball up well enough and inviting pressure on his team, but his all-round display was an unselfish one for the cause.
If either go on to miss out on the top four, they only have themselves to blame for cracking when the pressure was on.
Leicester owners can still be criticised – but they were right to sack Ranieri
The outpouring of anger that followed Leicester’s decision to sack Claudio Ranieri, the man who brought the club’s greatest success to the King Power Stadium last season, was justified as a sad indictment of the cut-throat nature of modern football.
But six weeks and six games down the line, you cannot argue against Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s decision to axe the Italian. His replacement, Craig Shakespeare, has lifted the outgoing Premier League champions from the relegation zone to 10th and has almost guaranteed safety with eight games remaining – his exact mission briefing when taking the job until the end of the season.
The football romantics may argue that Ranieri deserved to see out the season even if it meant relegation, but with the millions on offer – and at risk – in the Premier League, this is why big decisions need to be taken, no matter how sentimental the impact may be.
West Brom grounded with a bump
After beating Arsenal 3-1 and securing a hard-fought draw at Manchester United, Tony Pulis must have been confident at getting a result against Watford on Tuesday night. The opposite happened though, as M’Baye Niang and Troy Deeney ensured that not even Miguel Britos’s red card could halt them Hornets from virtually guaranteeing their place in next season’s Premier League.
While Watford are yet to cross the 40-point mark, they should pick up the three points needed to get over the supposed safety point in their next eight games, but for West Brom the problems may just be starting.
The Baggies are safe with 44 points, but now have little to play for given the seven-point gap to seventh-placed Everton. With a tricky run of fixtures coming up against Southampton, Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester, it’s hard to see what will motivate the players against what on paper is better opposition.
Turf Moor fortress will see Burnley home
At the turn of the year, it appeared that Burnley would stay afloat this season solely due to their home form at Turf Moor. After their 1-0 victory over Stoke City on Tuesday, that’s certainly been proven correct.
Burnley have taken just three points from their 15 away league games this season, the worst record across the top four English leagues bar already-relegated Rotherham and their solitary point in the Championship this season. While the impact of Turf Moor and the Burnley fans is clearly a positive, Sean Dyche will be concerned over how he gets the best out of his side when they hit the road, but that’s a question for next season.
This season, Burnley are edging towards safety with 35 points to their name, and if they can take five-to-seven points from their remaining three matches at home, Dyche should be preparing for another well-deserved campaign in the top tier.
Sunderland down and out after week to forget for Moyes
As weeks go, they don’t come much worse than what David Moyes has experienced these last few days. Sunderland saw their winless league run stretch to six games in defeats by Watford and Leicester, his side now sit eight points from safety and, to top it all off, he’s just about clung on to his job after telling a reporter she "might get a slap even though you're a woman".
While the first two are results of having an inadequate team to cope with Premier League demands and years of surviving by the skin of their teeth, the last one is a sad indictment of what Moyes believes is acceptable to tell anyone in a professional environment.
Though he will keep his job after Sunderland confirmed they are not looking to dismiss him over his comments, it feels a stay of execution. The former Everton and Manchester United manager will almost certainly be sacked at the end of the season if and when the Black Cats are relegated, as they now require the most unlikeliest of fightbacks to stay afloat this season. That may even be beyond Sunderland’s remarkable ability to survive when the odds are against them.Reuse content