Manchester United 1-0 Everton: Martial's strike ends the Blues' unbeaten away run

The Frenchman's 54th minute goal proved to be the difference in a keenly contested affair as Roberto Martinez's side taste their first Premier League away defeat since October.

Manchester United 1-0 Everton: Martial's strike ends the Blues' unbeaten away run
Anthony Martial proved to be the difference in a keenly contested affair. (Image: Getty Images)
Manchester United
1 0
Everton
Manchester United: (4-2-3-1) De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Blind (Valencia, min. 82), Rojo (Fosu-Mensah, min. 45); Schneiderlin, Carrick (Herrera, min. 58); Lingard, Mata, Martial; Rashford.
Everton: (4-2-3-1) Joel; Coleman, Jagielka, Stones, Baines; Cleverley, McCarthy; Lennon, Barkley (Niasse, min. 87), Deulofeu (Mirallas, min. 63); Lukaku.
SCORE: 1-0, min. 54, Martial.
REFEREE: Andre Marriner (ENG).
INCIDENTS: Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Everton. The match was played at Old Trafford, Manchester, with 75,341 spectators in attendance.

Anthony Martial's 54th minute strike proved to be the difference in a keenly contested affair between Everton and Manchester United and condemned the Blues to a first Premier League away defeat since October.

There was nothing to separate the two sides after a tight opening 45 minutes, but Martial scored the all important first goal 10 minutes after half-time and the Blues failed to find an equaliser in an uninspiring display.

A keenly contested opening 45 minutes

Manchester United raced into a two-goal lead when the two sides last met in October, with the Red Devils running out 3-0 winners on that occasion, but the first-half was much tighter at Old Trafford. It was a positive and confident start from the visitors in an end-to-end opening to the match, but it was the home side who had the first sight of goal. Jesse Lingard played in Anthony Martial on the edge of the area, but the striker saw his volley deflected wide by Leighton Baines.

There was a lot to admire about Everton's first-half performance; the Blues pressed the ball well, defended with assurance and showed intent. But they were missing the key ingredient of cutting edge, which evaded the Blues throughout the 90 minutes. The only time David de Gea was tested in the opening 45 minutes was when he raced outside his area to beat Romelu Lukaku to the ball, while the Belgian's looping header in the 24th minute was the Blues only shot in the first-half.

At the other end, John Stones, who replaced Ramiro Funes Mori in the starting XI, timed his sliding tackle to perfection in the 37th minute to deny Martial a shot as he closed down on Joel Robles' goal. For the 10th time this season the score was goalless at Old Trafford at half-time, with neither side having a shot on target.

Anthony Martial is crowded out by the Everton defence during a keenly contested first-half. | Photo: Getty Images
Anthony Martial is crowded out by the Everton defence during a keenly contested first-half. | Photo: Getty Images

Martial breaks the deadlock

Everton started the second-half on the front foot. Gerard Deulofeu won a free-kick for the Blues on the right, which was deflected behind for a corner. Marcus Rashford initially cleared, before Morgan Schneiderlin threw his body in the way of Tom Cleverley's effort.

Romelu Lukaku and Daley Blind resumed their battle in the second-half. The Belgian turned around the defender, but his low strike was deflected just wide of the post by the Dutchman.

It was Manchester United, however, who broke the deadlock in the 54th minute. Seamus Coleman failed to clear substitute Timothy Fosu-Mensah's ball across the six-yard box allowing Martial to slot the ball past Robles from close-range to score United's 1,000th Premier League goal at Old Trafford.

Everton came close to equalising a minute later, but Phil Jagielka's diving header, from a Leighton Baines' corner, ricocheted off the crossbar. This would, however, be the closest Roberto Martinez's side would come to an equaliser.

Anthony Martial celebrates the winning goal. | Photo: Getty Images
Anthony Martial celebrates the winning goal. | Photo: Getty Images

Everton search for an equaliser

Chances were at a premium for both sides but the Blues searched for an equaliser in the closing stages. David de Gea produced a great save to deny Jagielka from a corner, before Tom Cleverley's effort was blocked. Fosu-Mensah did brilliantly to clear a low cross from Seamus Coleman, which looked certain to be turned into the goal by Lukaku.

Roberto Martinez brought on forwards Kevin Mirallas and £13.5million January signing Oumar Niasse, but neither could provide the cutting edge that the Blues desperately needed and meant that the Toffees tasted only their second away defeat of the season.