Manchester United started 2018 in fine fashion with a 2-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park, putting an end to a miserable run of draws over the Christmas period. For Sam Allardyce's hosts, an FA Cup trip to Liverpool follows later this week, while they're next in action at Tottenham. Here's four things we learned from the game. Whilst he could do nothing to prevent United's two brilliant goals, Everton keeper Jordan Pickford still had a fine game. He dealt comfortably with corners and balls...
Whilst he could do nothing to prevent United's two brilliant goals, Everton keeper Jordan Pickford still had a fine game.
He dealt comfortably with corners and balls into the box all game, and his highlight was a sensational save from Lingard, diving low to his left to palm the ball past the post.
With current England number one Joe Hart currently frozen out at
West Ham, surely the time has come for Southgate to follow the example of club managers and drop Hart to the bench.
Every successful team need a good goalkeeper, and England would have a much better chance of going far in the World Cup this summer with Pickford between the sticks ahead of Hart.
Manager Jose Mourinho is often criticised for simply buying world class players rather than coaching and improving younger ones, but he has to be given some credit for Lingard's extraordinary transformation this year.
The 25-year-old's superb goal on Monday made it seven goals for the season in the
Premier League, more than he had managed in the last two seasons combined.
Add his four Premier League assists to the equation as well, and we can see this is a player who could become the real deal.
England manager Gareth Southgate will no doubt be watching Lingard closely, and if he continues in this vein of form it wouldn't be a surprise at all to see him break into the Three Lions' first team on a permanent basis.
Although Sam Allardyce has done well to paper over the cracks in his
Everton side so far, the last couple of matches have shown that the Toffees still have a long way to go to become the team they want to be.
The lack of strikers is, of course, the main concern. Dominic Calvert-Lewin is a promising prospect, but Allardyce felt the need to rest him on Monday following a hectic schedule, and opted for Oumar Niasse instead, who was a peripherel figure throughout and was guilty of wasting Everton's best chance with a header wide.
The potential arrival of Turkish striker Cenk Tosun would be a step in the right direction, but although Everton are too good to go down, Allardyce's claim that his team could end up challenging for European spots appears too ambitious this season. Mid-table beckons.
The stats speak for themselves. United haven't lost a league game in which Pogba has started since October 2016 vs
Chelsea. Without him they have lost five times in that period.
The Frenchman was in superb form in this game, bossing the midfield, driving his team forward and setting up both goals.
Whilst his transfer fee drew criticism when he first signed, there can be little doubt that if he keeps this form up, Pogba is worth every penny of the £89.3m United splashed out on him.
If he could now just add a few more goals to his play, he could soon be considered the best centre midfielder in the world.