|The decision to keep Cristiano Ronaldo out of the starting XI at Old Trafford on Saturday didn't yield results, is Ole Gunnar Solksjaer to blame for the stalemate? (Photo credit: Premierleague.com)|
Manchester United failed to give their fans something to cheer as the were forced to a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford by a spirited Everton side in the lunchtime kickoff of game week 7.
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer raised eyebrows with the decision to keep the duo of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba on the bench, handing a starting role to Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho, knowing a win would take them to the summit of the league heading into the international break.
It all felt like the decision was going to pay off as the Frenchman fired home with just two minutes left on the clock in the first half after being fed by an exquisite Bruno Fernandes layoff with a slight deflection helping it past Jordan Pickford.
Everton grew into the game and capitalized on United’s funny defending; the absence of Harry Maguire meant Victor Lindelof partnered Raphael Varane at the heart of the defense but the real culprit was Luke Shaw who was always losing his man.
Everton equalized midway into the second half with a classic counter attack, Abdoulaye Doucoure found Andros Townsend in the area and the former Spurs and Newcastle man made no mistake as he side-footed past David De Gea in the United goal.
It was going to go from bad to worse for the Red Devils but they were saved by the bell as a neat pass behind United defenders while defending a set piece isolated everyone in red and Yeri Mina scored but VAR called it back.
United manager Solksjaer was adamant his side played well but couldn’t close gaps, he admitted it was a case of two points dropped and they will be back after the international break to pick up from where they left off.
United have now won only once on home turf in six attempts, a situation that most find unacceptable including former club star Rio Ferdinand who insists Old Trafford can’t be a free for all, “it must be a fortress and not a dancing floor for all comers”