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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
April 22, 2012
• 7:30 AM
• Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee: M. Jones
• Attendance: 75522
W. Rooney 41', 69'
D. Welbeck 57'
N. Jelavić 33', 83'
M. Fellaini 67'
S. Pienaar 85'
I'm going to call time on this play-by-play, but thanks for keeping me company over Twitter and I hope you enjoyed the commentary as much as I enjoyed the game. Manchester City fans probably enjoyed it even more! If they beat Wolves later today they will be three points behind Manchester United with the two teams clashing next weekend. What a mouth-watering tie that is setting itself up to be. I've been Miles Chambers and you can find me on Twitter @Miles Chambers. Enjoy the rest of your weekend boys and girls!
So..where to begin?! Late goals from Nikica Jelavic and Steven Pienaar pulled Everton back, and changed the fate of what looked like a nailed-on victory for the home side for a while. Credit to all the attackers on both sides for providing such a eye-catching game, though I suppose I should thank the woeful defending too!
Tweet me your thought @Miles_Chambers, I'm sure many of you have thoughts on that incredible game!
GAME OVER. Unbelievable stuff. Just unbelievable. What I'm watching is disbelief personified across Old Trafford. Manchester United 4-4 Everton.
90' + 5'
WOW. Tim Howard pulls off a phenomenal save to deny Ferdinand from scoring the winner. A top shot, and an even better save.
90' + 4'
Phil Jones overhits a cross from the right and Everton have a throw-in deep in their own half. Time-wasting from the visitors occurs of cours.e
90' + 3'
Just seen a replay of that last Everton goal - what in the world was Rio Ferdinand doing?! Appalling defending from the experienced Manchester United man.
90' + 2'
This game - if the scores remain this way - will tear the title race open, and Manchester City fans will be giddy with glee. Manchester United continue to hound the visitors, and half their side have set up camp in the Everton area!
90' + 1'
Five minutes of stoppage time at Old Trafford and it's all United at the moment. David Moyes doesn't understand why there is five minutes extra added on. Has the man not heard of Fergie time?!
Hernandez has scored the winner in the last two meetings between these north west Premier League teams. Ominous/optimistic for Everton/United fans?
Javier Hernandez is sent on for Valencia as United push for a fifth goal and a winner.
I'm speechless, this game has been incredible. Will we see a late winner from one of these two teams?
OH YES THEY CAN!! GOAL!! Everton drag it back to 4-4!! Steven Pienaar caps off a superb move from the Toffees, Marouane Fellaini with the assist. this match is pure, unbridled insaity. But I love it. Manchester United 4-4 Everton!!
GOAL!! What. A. Game. Everton score their third and it's Nikica Jelavic's second of the match. The ball falls to the feet of the Toffees forward who doesn't hesitate to prod past De Gea. And this just after Evra clattered what looked to be a certain goal against the visitors' post. Manchester United 4-3 Everton! Surely we won't see a comeback, will we...?
And that, ladies in gentleman, is why Michael Carrick never shoots. The United man, who has played excellently in midfield today, cannons an effort so way-wide of the Everton goal from 35 yards.
United venture into Everton's half for the first time in a wee while, but offer no immediate threat on the away side's goal.
Yesterday's early kick-off (Arsenal-Chelsea) was enough to make you gauge your eyes out with boredom. But six goals this afternoon have made this match one exciting goalfest.
Now Jelavic has a pop on goal, but his effort clatters into the side netting from the Toffees striker's shot inside the Red Devils' area.
Pienaar breaks through the Man United ranks but fires straight at De Gea. Everton showing they still have fire in their bellies.
A lull in play somewhat, but I guess that's only noticeable because we were gifted with such an insane previous few minutes! Everton have the ball at the moment on the right wing with a procession of throw-ins.
Rooney's second goal puts him outright fourth in United's all-time goalscoring list now, ahead of George Best and Dennis Viollet.
Haha, what an incredible 12 minutes that was, ey?! Four goals in that short space of time I think, top entertainment!
GOAL!! Wayne Rooney scores his second and Manchester United's fourth to restore their two-goal lead, slotting to the right of Tim Howard from 10 yards out. Manchester United 4-2 Everton!
GOAL!! And oh my, what a goal it is!! Out of nowhere, Everton retaliate with a sublime volley from Fellaini. The Toffees midfielder puts the cat amongst the pigeon as his sideways-struck shot skids past David De Gea. Manchester United 3-2 Everton!
Valencia is the latest United man to have a crack on goal, shooting wide after another slick attacking move from the home side.
Man United look comfortable in their lead now, those two quick-fire goals have downed the resilient visitors.
GOAL!! Manchester United add a third as Nani finishes off a world class attacking move for the hosts. Welbeck, Michael Carrick and Valencia pass acutely around and inside the box, before Welbeck's flick puts Nani through one-on-one with Howard, dinking it over the Toffees keeper. Manchester United 3-1 Everton!
Yellow CardPhil Neville
Phil Neville is booked for a lunge on Welbeck on the left. The Everton captain is still fuming because the ref didn't halt play before Welbeck scored because Steven Pienaar was down with an injury. David Moyes is seething on the sidelines too.
GOAL!! Danny Welbeck blasts a beauty into the top right-hand corner of the net after a couple of careful touches on the edge of the box. A top strike from the Red Devil and the home side are propelled into the lead. Manchester United 2-1 Everton!
Antonio Valencia turns magically away from Sylvain Distin on the right flank but his intricate through ball isn't accurate enough and Manchester Unite lose possession for a little while.
Paul Scholes pushes Toffees goalkeeper Tim Howard much to the delight of the home fans, who find it as amusing as me! Everton have a free-kick next to their own penalty area for the midfielder's petulance though.
Play is back underway after a minute's pause to treat the floored duo.
Ouch. Leon Osman and Patrice Evra clash heads and are both down from the pain in front of the dugout.
No gift-wrapped chance for either side since the break but plenty of fight from both teams.
Gibson almost lofts the ball over Rafael into Jelavic's waiting feet but the Brazilian defended ostutely to clear. Good vision from Gibson though!
Patrice Evra becomes the second man - and second left-back - to see yellow for a tackle on Jelavic 45 yards from goal. Seems a tad harsh from referee Mike Jones.
Yellow CardPatrice Evra
Back underway at Old Trafford boys and girls, Manchester United with the kick-off.
If the score stays level then expect Manchester City fans to be salivating across the globe. They'll be six points ahead of the Blues but if Roberto Mancini's men beat Wolves later today then they can go level on points with Manchester United next weekend if they beat them at home in what could be a title-deciding match.
Ammar Shakeel puts forward his prediction on Twitter: "The game will either be a draw or United would run riot against Everton!" Renny Kips, on the other hand, says: "Everton are good and should get a draw if not the 3 points.."
On the Twittersphere, Muhammad Mi Kassim hopes Rooney can catch RVP and is surprised Man Utd haven't dominating. Toromade Samson says: "This is gonna get interesting... #comeback."
If Manchester United maintain their momentum in the second half then Everton fans will be biting their nails and squinting from behind their hands as they watch their team try and defend the draw.
It's certainly worth pointing out that Rooney is now fourth in the all-time goalscoring list for Man Utd, level with Old Trafford legends Dennis Viollet and George Best. Not too shabby!
What say you oh general public? Surprised that Everton have proved worthy opponents? Disappointed that United haven't dominated? Pleased that Rooney (on 25 goals now) continues to mount a top goalscorer challenge on Robin van Persie (on 27)? Let me know on Twiiter - @Miles_Chambers is the way to do so!
45' + 3'
Yellow CardSylvain Distin
45' + 3'
Half-time at Old Trafford, and the score is Manchester United 1-1 Everton! It's been a challenging 45 minutes for the reigning league champions but Wayne Rooney levelled the scores late on for his side after Nikica Jelavic brilliantly headed the Toffees ahead midway through the half.
45' + 2'
Distin receives the first yellow card of the game for a challenge on Valencia on the right wing. A silly tackle from the Everton defender really.
45' + 1'
Greg Stobart at Manchester United's ground writes: "Wayne Rooney’s name continues to ring around Old Trafford after that equaliser. The former Everton man has done next to nothing against his old club but that goal could be crucial in the title race. United have been so sluggish so far and don’t deserve to be level as we approach half-time."
At the opposite end of the field, Osman fires low on goal but De Gea drops down to prevent the shot from flying embarrassingly between his long, lanky legs.
A poor strike from Nani, who spoons in way wide to the left of goal from 25 yards out and in plenty of space.
Game on at Old Trafford then! The home fans are back in brilliant voice after watching their players score just before half-time. United haven't lost their forward momentum just yet either, pressing forward on the right flank with Valencia and Rafael.
GOAL!! Manchester United grab an equaliser with Wayne Rooney scoring against his former club to score his 25th Premier League goal of the season! Nani whipped in a delicious cross from the left and the England man clips past Howard from six or seven yards. Everton 1-1 Manchester United.
Waleola Oyeneyin is thinking cynically on Twitter: "Man Utd will score at least with a penalty no matter how good Everton side."
Good goalkeeping from Tim Howard again presents Manchester United from fashioning a goalscoring opportunity, rushing out to claim the ball. Moments earlier, Rafael was clipped on the edge of the box but referee Mike Jones didn't blow his whistle.
A pause in play as Jonny Evans is down injured, and we have a moment to reflect on how good Jelavic's goal was. It really wa s apeach of a header and he gave De Gea no chance to be honest. Top drawer from the former Rangers striker.
Scholes has a shot deflect a thousand times as United try to respond with a goal but Howard spills his first save before eventually pouncing on the loose ball. Everton will feel fortunate to still be ahead.
GOAL!! Out of nowhere Everton are in the lead! Tony Hibbert whips a good cross in from the right and Nikica Jelavic pulls off a stunning header at the back post to score in his fifth successive match and make it Manchester United 0-1 Everton!
This game is threatening to spark into life but so far it has been subdued in every concievable way.
Darron Gibson, who fired in a fair few long-range crackers during his years at Old Trafford, drifts his shot off target when 30 yards from the United goalmouth.
Nearly a third of the way into this match and the score is still 0-0. Manchester United have had just about more opportunities to score but neither side have had a crystal-clear chance.
Rio Ferdinand puts it behind for an Everton corner when under pressure in defence from Jelavic.
We have our first corner of the game in the 25th minute, but the cross is quickly caught by Howard.
Muhammad Mi Kassim voices how he thinks the game will pan out on Twitter: "Everton have a chance of taking away a tight victory. But Nani can cause problems."
Greg Stobart reports from Old Trafford: "It’s very subdued here, the United supporters as edgy and nervous as the player in the first quarter of the game. The home side have not created a chance of note so far and need to inject some energy into their play in the final third. That message is coming loud and clear from the bench as assistant Mike Phelan barks orders from the touchline."
Rooney drags a shot from 25 yards from goal past the right upright at the other end of the pitch.
Omprakash Patil writes on Twitter: "Wayne Rooney eyeing for Golden Boot ,just 2 shy of RVP. He will score today." @Miles_Chambers for anybody who want to participate in some United-Everton chat.
Sylvain Distin has a chance to head Everton into the lead, but the defender - playing at left-back today - nods off target and past De Gea's right post.
Rafael somehow ends up with the ball at his feet inside the Everton box, but the Red Devils right-back is tackled by a plethora of Toffees defenders before he can get a shot away.
Cries of "shooooooooot" come from the home fans when Paul Scholes is 30 yards from goal and he happily obliges, but his low shot bobbles to the of goal. "Oh Scholes, he scores goals" swiftly eminates around Old Trafford though and the supporters are audibly delighted with United's new-found grip on the game.
Danny Welbeck looks in pain on the Old Trafford turf. He's up and walking after a short period of play being stopped for the United striker.
Patrice Evra whips a beauty of a ball from the left wing and Wayne Rooney gets his noggin on the cross. The former Everton striker nods wide to the right of goal though, put off by England team-mate and Toffees centre-back Phil Jagielka.
Nani has another effort from an identical position to the first, but his attempt shoots into the arms of former Old Trafford goalkeeper and Everton number one Tim Howard.
Manchester United's first shot on goal comes courtesy of Nani. The Portuguese winger collects Antonio Valencia's cross on the left flank, cuts inside and curls his effort just past the right post.
Rafael is dispossessed by the double team of Pienaar and Fellaini. The hosts look nervy this afternoon.
Greg Stobart at Old Trafford for Goal.com writes: "The Everton fans to my right would have arrived here feeling very low after losing at Wembley last weekend, but they are making all the noise in the early stages. It’s been an encouraging start for the visitors, who have started with energy while United have been slow to get out of the blocks. The hosts could do with a performance from Wayne Rooney today against his former club."
A hyperactive couple of minutes have sizzled out as Manchester United get the ball back and pass around with nonchalance. Still no forward momentum from the home side however.
Everton attack again, this time Osman slices to right of goal from inside the penalty area. The Toffees look like the more threatening side at the moment.
Nikica Jelavic breaks away from Jonny Evans and is through on goal, firing low to the left of David De Gea's imposing figure, but the United goalkeeper gets down to save successfully.
Most of the entertainment in the opening salvos comes from looking at Marouane Fellaini's impressive afro. Not a lot to write home about yet. I'm praying to a higher being that we don't get a game as dull as yesterday's dire Arsenal-Chelsea game!
Leon Osman has a volleyed shot blocked then heads wide to the right of goal. A bright start from him and his Toffee team-mates.
And we're off! Everton get the game underway but it takes an entire 11 seconds for Manchester United to snatch away possession.
Remember you can contact me on Twitter @Miles_Chambers if you want to let me your thoughts during the match. I'll even whack some of the tweets in here if they're interesting enough!
The players are out on the pitch at Old Trafford and I expect we're only minutes away from the action. Fasten your seat belts, hold on tight, and keep your fingers crossed for a rollercoaster ride of a match...
Wayne Rooney faces his old club, of course, and he will be hoping to score in hi SIXTH successive home game. Not too shabby form with Euro 2012 looming, although the England international will miss the first two matches because of a ban. The Manchester United attacker has not scored in his last six matches against Everton.
Greg Stobart adds from the Manchester United ground: "A nice practice for trophy presentations here at Old Trafford, as if any were needed. The Manchester United reserve team are being presented with the Reserve League North title on the pitch ahead of kick-off. The captain, Davide Petrucci, holds the trophy aloft before the players do a lap of honour to booming ‘Championes’ music."
So, will Manchester United stroll to another victory today? Or will Everton - heading into the game on the back of an FA Cup semi-final loss to Liverpool last weekend - defy expectations and rip the title race wide open? You can contact me on Twitter - @Miles_Chambers - if you want to let me know your match thoughts, predicted thoughts and general comments!
Goal.com correspondent Greg Stobart at Old Trafford writes: "Good afternoon from Manchester where the torrential rain will do little to dampen the sprits of United fans arriving here on another crucial day in the Premier League title race. Bullish optimism is the mood around Old Trafford as Sir Alex Ferguson's side look to ensure that they are in a position to stay top of the table even if they lose the Manchester derby a week tomorrow. The Courteneers 'Not 19 Forever' seems to have become the song of choice for the DJ here in his pre-match build-up and is again being blasted out of the tannoy system as the players warm up."
Looking at it from another angle, Manchester City could close the gap to two points at the end of the day. They face Wolves later in the afternoon. However, Roberto Mancini and co will need Everton to do what they have never done in the Premier League: take three points away from Manchester United.
Old Trafford looks horribly damp today but the reigning Premier League title holders' hopes of strolling to another top flight triumph this season remain ignited. A loss at Wigan Athletic earlier in April set the Red Devils back a little bit, however they are still five points ahead of chasing Manchester City with four games to play.
Just the one change from Sir Alex Ferguson: Ashley Young drops to the bench and Nani enters the Manchester United line-up. Everton, on the other hand, have made three alterations. Magaye Gueye, the injured Leighton Baines and Tim Cahill are replaced by Steven Pienaar, Tony Hibbert and Phil Jagielka.
Everton: Howard; Hibbert, Jagielka, Distin, Neville; Osman, Heitinga, Gibson, Pienaar, Fellaini; Jelavic. Subs: Mucha, Stracqualursi, McFadden, Cahill, Gueye, Barkley, Anichebe.
Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra; Valencia, Scholes, Carrick, Nani; Rooney, Welbeck. Subs: Amos, Jones, Giggs, Smalling, Park, Hernandez, Young.
Good morning one and all! Actually, scrap that, it's just turned afternoon here in a typically cold and windy UK. You're reading Goal.com's LIVE commentary of Manchester United v Everton. I, Miles Chambers, will be bringing you all the match details when the action gets underway in less than half an hour. I've also got a bit of pre-match build-up for you, and the line-ups are coming up next.
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