Anthony Martial helped make the difference in place of the injured Romelu Lukaku as Manchester United beat Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park to end their Premier League winless run at three games.
United went to Merseyside on the back of three successive draws and without top-scorer Lukaku due to a head injury, but fine second-half goals from Martial and the in-form Jesse Lingard brought their recent slide to a halt.
The win moved them back above Chelsea into second and 12 points behind Manchester City, both of whom possess a game in hand.
Nice finish from Anthony Martial pic.twitter.com/j2JFDiYvb7
— Xzaminer (@Thexzaminer) January 1, 2018
Although Everton – captained by United’s all-time leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney on his return from a virus – caused the Red Devils a few problems in what was a fairly turgid first half, the visitors generally controlled things and regularly tried their luck from distance.
Goal: Martial with a fantastic finish and yet another assist for Pogba
— Totally Man Utd™ (@TotallyMUFC) January 1, 2018
But it was not until the second half that United started to find pockets of space in the Everton defence, with Jose Mourinho’s attack looking rather more fluid without Lukaku.
And it was Martial – given a rare opportunity to lead the line – who broke the deadlock, producing a stunning finish just before the hour, with Rooney exiting against his former club shortly after.
Lingard 2-0 pic.twitter.com/fvhe2hIotG
— UTDGIF (@UTDGIF) January 1, 2018
The home side ramped the pressure up towards the end and really put United under the cosh, but Mourinho’s men dug in and punished them on the break – Lingard sealing all three points in style with his sixth goal since the start of December.