Manchester United returned to winning ways to start off 2018, with two fine goals from Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard seeing off Everton at Goodison Park.
José Mourinho made three changes from the side that ended 2017 with a goalless draw at home to Southampton. Victor Lindelöf shifted to right-back to replace the suspended Ashley Young as Marcos Rojo partnered Phil Jones in central defence. Ander Herrera came into a three-man midfield to replace Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Martial was preferred to Marcus Rashford up front.
The first half saw chances few and far between as both teams struggled to find any sort of rhythm. United grew into the encounter as the half wore on though, with Paul Pogba freed up on the left-hand side of midfield to create and interchange with the fluid front trio of Lingard, Martial and Juan Mata.
United picked up the tempo in the second half, with Mata hitting the outside of the post with a swerving effort early on in the period and it didn’t take long for the Reds to take the lead as Martial beat Pickford with a brilliant curling effort.
Everton rallied and attempted to find an equaliser but Lingard’s brilliant curling effort put paid to any efforts to rescue the game from the Toffees. The academy product scored his seventh of the season, picking the ball up from the left and going past two men before finding the top corner.
Here are the United player ratings from Goodison Park:
David de Gea - 6
Mostly a bystander. Distribution was a bit off at times but it was a quiet start to 2018 for the Spaniard.
Victor Lindelof - 6
Troubled by Yannick Bolasie on several occasions but held firm. Provided solid width going forward.
Phil Jones - 7
Marshalled the defence well, with several fine headed clearances the highlight.
Marcos Rojo - 7
Put the Burnley performance behind him with a solid performance. Fine recovery tackle to deny Oumar Niasse an almost certain goal in the first-half.
Luke Shaw - 7
Got forward well to support Martial on the left, putting in some good crosses as well. Bit exposed defensively at times though and looked a bit jaded at the end.
Nemanja Matic - 6
Three in midfield definitely helped, as he spent more time helping out defensively than the creative side of things. Still looks like he needs a rest though.
Ander Herrera - 6
Improved as the game wore on, carrying out his role of nullifying the opposition and handing off the ball to Pogba well.
Paul Pogba - 8
Not a surprise that he looked much more threatening when played on the left-hand side of a midfield trio. Played a key part in both goals.
Juan Mata - 7
Quiet in the first half, but much more involved in the second, hitting the post with a fierce effort.
Jesse Lingard - 7
The fluid front three really suits him. Playing down the middle, he repeatedly freed up space for others with effective off-the-ball runs. A brilliant goal.
Anthony Martial - 7
Constantly posed danger for the Everton defence as a roving frontman, switching from the centre to the left frequently. Scored with a trademark finish.
Marcus Rashford (6) – Lively cameo for the last ten or so minutes.
Daley Blind (6) – Brought on to shore things up and see out the three points.
Axel Tuanzebe (N/A) – Took to the pitch for the final seconds.