Anthony Martial scored Manchester United’s 1,000th Premier League goal at Old Trafford to seal a narrow 1-0 win over Everton on the day when the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand was unveiled.
Martial grabbed the decisive strike seven minutes into the second half as he squeezed the ball home from substitute Tim Fosu-Mensah’s low cross, as the Reds moved above West Ham United into fifth.
Boss Louis van Gaal opted to stick with the same XI that defeated rivals Manchester City before the international break, but did make two changes on the substitutes’ bench as Ander Herrera and Ashley Young replaced Adnan Januzaj and the injured Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The atmosphere before kick-off at Old Trafford was particularly special, with fans in the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand holding aloft coloured tiles to spell ‘Sir Bobby’ in one giant mosaic effect, as the South Stand was renamed in the club legend’s honour in the 60th year since his United debut.
Looking to mark the special day with an equally special display, as he showed in his first Manchester derby last time out, Marcus Rashford cutely back-heeled Marcos Rojo’s low cross into the path of Martial, who was inches away from connecting. Defensively, United had to cope with Gerard Deulofeu in the early stages as he was looking dangerous down the Toffees’ right, with Rojo knowing he would have his work cut out trying to halt the tricky Spaniard.
The first real effort on goal fell to Martial on 17 minutes as he volleyed narrowly wide of Joel Robles’ far post, having played a neat one-two with Jesse Lingard. At the other end, Romelu Lukaku, who was being kept largely quiet by the impressive Chris Smalling and Daley Blind, was nearly in on goal for the first time, but David De Gea was alert to clear before the Belgian could latch onto a loose ball. A second backheel from Rashford set up Martial again shortly before the break, but John Stones came diving across to halt what would have been a goal fitting to mark any occasion.