There would normally be fingers pointed at a goalkeeper letting in three goals at home, but thumbs-up to the American for two world-class saves and a third very good one as he almost single-handedly kept the red tide at bay.
The Holland centre-half formed part one of the World Cup's most effective centre-back partnerships but struggled to provide an effective barrier to the Everton back four after being pressed into an emergency midfield anchorman role.
Some dreadful defending at times by the normally reliable centre-back. The movement of Berbatov and the pace of United's counter-attacks frequently found him wanting.
The long-serving right-back was typically tenacious but his lack of potency in the final third was glaringly evident. Part of a double substitution in the 69th minute.
Even greater onus on Everton's defensive leader than normal, given the ineptitude of Heitinga and Distin. Just about managed to keep his head above water.
Although United's opening two goals came from his side of the pitch, he was a driving force on the left and his two brilliant crosses teed up the second and third of Everton's goals.
Cleverly teed up Pienaar for the Everton equaliser but fluffed a great chance to pull one back for the hosts late on. His movement was a nuisance to the visitors.
Has began the season slowly but looked more like the player of 2009/10 with a goal and some touches of class in an epic Everton fightback.
Desperately disappointing display from the converted midfielder. Seemed off the pace and his touch was clumsy.
Subdued for most of the game but his aerial threat evident in the final 20 minutes as Everton threw caution to the wind. Superb header for the home side's second and his presence crucial to the panic
E. van der Sar
Saved smartly from Arteta shortly before Pienaar gave Everton the lead but could not get down quickly to stop the South African's strike. Some comfortable catches but could do little to halt the stunning Everton fightback.
The weakest link in the United defence is expected to make way soon for Ferdinand. Clearly struggles with aerial battles. First Zamora, now Cahill. Will not want to see re-runs of Everton's second and third goals.
Ferguson removed Rooney from the fray but abuse from fans has never stopped him playing United's chief crowd-baiter. Was probably level on points after a nose-to-nose tussle with Pienaar
Resilient display from the Serb, who was a towering presence in both penalty boxes. Kept Fellaini quiet and popped up with the second United goal.
Not one of his most immaculate afternoons. Could have done more in the build-up to Everton's goal and a drop in concentration almost allowed Osman to sneak in ahead of him in the second half. Substituted with 10 minutes to go, presumably through injury.
Produced a fabulous volley that ricocheted off the Everton goal and would not have been disowned by Paul Scholes. Helped ensure United won the midfield battle against Heitinga and Arteta.
Lost more blood than a Harlequins rugby player after his nose came into close acquaintance with Pienaar's flying forearm. Maybe the blow affected Nani's radar as his crossing was a let-down for most of the first half before he rediscovered his mojo with fabulous right-wing centres for United's first two goals.
Such a feisty encounter even the United maestro received a booking. His nous and experience from the left wing was crucial to United recovering from their early setback.
Kept United ticking over and had one deflected piledriver saved magnificently by Howard. Although he did not quite hit the heights of the early weeks of the season, an unbelievable 60-yard ball to Berbatov stretched United's advantage to two goals.
Imagine how under-rated one of the first name on United's team-sheet would be if he played for a less glamorous club. Always the most likely of United's midfielders to break from deep and make a nuisance of himself in the final third.
Starting to add a clinical touch to his sumptuous, if sometimes, overambitious build-up play. Would have been a shoo-in for 'goal of the month' had his brilliantly executed first-half volley been the other side of the post. Terrific, almost disdainful, finish for United's third.