Everton Stuns Manchester United, Spoils Robin van Persie’s Debut
Perhaps the EPL’s most anticipated week one match was Manchester United and Everton, due to Manchester’s recent signing of Robin van Persie. Van Persie, who signed from Arsenal, was the Premier League’s top goal scorer a year ago with 30 goals. Despite his great season, Arsenal was unable to win a single trophy last year, which prompted van Persie to make the move to Old Trafford.
Manchester United began their 2012 campaign on the road in front of an electric crowd at Goodison Park. In front of a sold-out stadium, van Persie began on the bench. From the get-go, Everton put the pressure on, with Maroune Fellaini hitting the post in only the 6th minute.
The game continued at a blistering pace with both teams creating good chances. The breakthrough finally came on a Fellaini header from a corner kick in the 57th minute. In response to the goal, Sir Alex Ferguson brought his new $38 million signing on in the 67th minute. Van Persie entered the game as a full force of “boos” rained down on him. The dutch striker failed to make much of an impression on the game though, and failed to even register a shot on target in his first appearance for the Red Devils.
Manchester came closest to breaking through late in the second half on a Tom Cleverly effort that had beaten the American goalkeeper Tim Howard, but was cleared off the line by English defender Phil Jagielka. Howard was called upon a few more times before the final whistle blew, making a few big saves from Wayne Rooney efforts.
This is a great early result for Everton, who finished 7th in the premier league last year and are looking to be a top-5 team and make a push for European football. On the other hand, this is a very disappointing result for Man U and Robin van Persie. Manchester United enter the season as co-favorites to win the league along side defending champions Manchester City.
Despite the poor start, I fully expect Manchester United to be right there at the end with at least a chance at the title. The English Premier League is a marathon, not a sprint, and Man U are still poised to join Manchester City and Chelsea in a title push in the 2012-13 season.