Underrated Rivalries: Everton vs Manchester United
Football has given birth to the best of rivalries.
These fixtures are exuberant, fueled with passion and epitomise what makes the beautiful game so special. Whether it be a clash of the titans in El Clasico or Oxford vs Swindon on a cold Tuesday night, these eagerly anticipated matches bring a rush of adrenaline to both sets of fans, making an incredible atmosphere.
Although many rivalries have infamous titles such as the Old Firm and North London derbies, there are some rivalries that don’t get the recognition they deserve. In this case we have Everton vs Manchester United, certainly a fixture that either side is capable of winning, yet one that doesn’t have its own name. Both sides have a common rivalry with Liverpool but have provided us with some of the best of Premier League football over the years in their own unique contest:
Everton 3-3 Manchester United (11th September 2010)
The Red Devils arrived in Merseyside without former Everton striker Wayne Rooney and the Toffees were determined to make it a tough time for the visitors in Sir Alex Ferguson’s 700th Premier League game…
Both sides had their fair share of possession with The Blues surprisingly edging United on chances. Their effort paid off when Steven Pienaar broke the deadlock on the 39th minute, yet celebrations were short lived when Darren Fletcher equalised for the visitors going into half time.
The second half commenced and Everton were caught sleeping when Nemanja Vidic headed in to give United the lead just 2 minutes after the restart. It got worse for Everton when Dimitar Berbatov doubled United’s lead, putting the away side in the driver’s seat with 23 minutes to go.
It seemed all over for The Toffees, but Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta proved why they are legends at Goodison Park. A 90th minute trademark Cahill header rejuvenated the crowd, before the Spaniard completed a late comeback with a composed finish. 2 points dropped for United, yet a point saved for the Blues in a thrilling contest.
Manchester United 4-4 Everton (22nd April 2012)
The Blues were visiting Old Trafford as underdogs against an experienced United side. Yet neither side expected this fixture to be an 8 goal thriller.
Once again, there wasn’t much to separate both sides who had similar chances and possession figures. The only goalless period of time was broken in the 33rd minute when Nikica Jelavic gave Everton the lead. However, just 8 minutes later Wayne Rooney equalised to put the game on level terms going into the break.
The second half began and it was not long till there was a breakthrough. Just 12 minutes after the restart, Danny Welbeck curled a beautiful strike into the top corner to give United the lead. The floodgates then opened as Nani doubled The Red Devils’ lead just 3 minutes later.
Yet lightning struck twice, Everton once again fought back with Marouane Fellaini bringing the difference between the sides to just one goal in the 67th minute. Rooney struck again just two minutes later with many expecting the game to be over going into the 83rd minute. Jelavic brought a nerve racking last few minutes for the hosts with his second of the game and it proved to be too much when Steven Pienaar tapped in to leave Old Trafford stunned. Once again, United were coasting towards victory before Everton produced a late comeback. Deja vu.
These are the two highest scoring fixtures between the two clubs in recent years. Although United have shown dominance in this fixture for most of the Premier League era, Everton have certainly given them a tough time over the last few seasons, which has always made a clash between the two sides a spectacle for both sets of fans.