By Derrick Kiplagat
On a day that Everton were mourning the death of club legend Howard Kendall, it was goals from Morgan Schneiderlin, Ander Herrera and Wayne Rooney that condemned a lackluster Toffees side to defeat as Louis Van Gaal’s men eased into a 3-0 win at Goodison Park.
Prior to kickoff, Man United had lost each of their last three trips to the blue half of Merseyside, but it was a promising start for the away side as they characteristically dominated possession in the opening quarter of an hour.
As the half progressed, Everton eventually began to gain a foothold and David de Gea had to be alert and off his line quickly to sweep up danger on a couple of occasions. After a strong international break, Ross Barkley looked like he posed the most threat for the home side.
United once again showed their possession prowess and soon Ander Herrera brought the best out of Tim Howard with a powerful shot. Soon after, two quick-fire goals mid-way through the first half ultimately set the tone for the rest of the game.
Rooney and Marcos Rojo kept the game alive after a corner and an unmarked Schneiderlin was at hand at the far post to slot the ball past a helpless Howard. United then doubled the lead when Herrera arrived late in the box to nod home a pinpoint cross from Rojo’s cross.
Both managers made changes at the break. Desperate to see more attacking threat from his side, Martinez added Arouna Kone to the mix, while Jesse Lingard replaced Juan Mata for his first Premier League appearance in 14 months.
The United youngster was involved almost immediately, knocking the ball away from Barkley at the far post to prevent a goal. Everton begun to build a head of steam and only De Gea’s legs later denied Lukaku. United’s goalkeeper was in action again at the hour mark, stopping a wide free-kick from Barkley from finding its way into the net.
Unfortunately for the Toffees it was a defensive mistake which put the game beyond doubt. Phil Jagielka gave away possession, giving Herrera the opportunity to feed Rooney who made no mistake with a calm finish, his 187th Premier League goal and his first away goal since November 2014.
Rooney’s goal puts him on the charts as the Premier League second highest top scorer, a position he now shares with United’s former striker Andy Cole.