Dominic Calvert-Lewin salvaged a crucial point for Everton, deep into stoppage time. Everton came back from behind, twice, to thrillingly draw with Manchester United. In a game of two halves and six-goals.
In my pre-thoughts for this game I thought Everton would go very defensive, but instead the manager rested Yerry Mina and brought back Tom Davies.
James Rodriguez was preferred to Gylfi Sigurdsson and the formation a diamond in midfield with split strikers Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin.
Everton started in bright fashion but then started to lose their grip of the game as they paid Manchester United far too much respect.
Dropping off outside the box, which allowed Marcus Rashford all the time in the world, totally unchallenged, to pick a perfect cross over Keane’s head for Edinson Cavani to simply nod in, again unchallenged, at the far post.
Bruno Fernandes later received the ball just outside the Everton box.
Tom Davies decides in that moment to stand off Fernandes, doing a strange hokey cokey movement to the left and the right.
Davies had an overall great game for me his best of the season but should have closed Fernandes down.
Fernandes given so much space chipped the ball perfectly over an embarrassed 6’4″ Robin Olsen.
At this point of the game I was resigned to this being another sub par episode in Everton’s form as they seemed to not have the answers or belief in themselves.
Just before half time Calvert-Lewin was presented with a one-on-one chance running in on de Gea but failed to put away the chance.
A chance remiscent of a similar opportunity he failed to take against Leeds in midweek. This an area Dominic has to work on, he should be scoring these.
So, Everton went in at half time not believing, trailing by two soft goals .
Everton came out for the second period on the front foot. Showing far more intent in driving forward instead of sideways and back. Doucouré, Gomes and Davies took control of midfield.
This typified by Everton’s first goal. Davies played a one-two then drove forward and threaded a beautifully weighted pass to Calvert-Lewin who crossed into the box.
Goalkeeper David de Gea’s mistake then gifted Abdoulaye Doucoure a tap in goal four minutes after the restart.
Everton’s next attack featured Doucoure again breaking into the United box.
Doucouré steadied and fizzed a pass into James Rodriguez who brought the ball under control and rifled home the equaliser, all in one sublime piece of skill.
The equaliser gave De Gea no chance.
Everton’s half time switch of attitude belief and application had drawn them level within ten minutes of the restart.
Surely the manager had told them to go out and believe in themselves and they did.
United went 3-2 up when Olsen failed to keep out Scott McTominay’s header from Luke Shaw’s deep free-kick wide outside the Everton box.
I can’t help but feel that Yerry Mina on current form would have interceded and dealt with United’s first and third goals.
There was defencive indecisiveness in both goals that was just not there prior to rotating the centre-backs.
Ancelotti will have to address the need to rotate, while trying to attain a settled centre-back pairing.
I would choose Mina and Godfrey for a settled pairing, harsh on Keane who has been excelent, but we have to go with the ideal blend.
I suspect Ancelotti will choose different combinations from Mina, Keane, Godfrey and Holgate based on opposition and how deep or high he wants his defence to play.
The goal-keeping situation has to be addressed as there many are questions to be answered.
Everton responded superbly to falling two behind before half-time and they were in no mood to lay down and let this game slide to a defeat.
Everton refused to give up and drove on for an equaliser. Full credit to the referee Jon Moss who added time on for a drawn out United tactical substitution as United grew increasingly fraught in defence.
In the 95th minute Calvert-Lewin controlled a ball and took advantage of weak defending from a Lucas Digne free-kick to poke the ball past de Gea for an amazing last action of the game equaliser.
The Everton contingent celebrated wildly, notably Calvert-Lewin, Ben Godfrey and Duncan Ferguson.
Everton showed through the excellent performances from Doucouré, Gomes and Davies in the second-half that belief in their ability to get the ball forward, quicker, can reap rewards, even against the top six teams.
This 3 -3 draw with United is a timely reminder to the Everton squad of what a difference belief and drive can have in the coming games against Spurs, Man City and Liverpool.