Manchester United showed grit and determination as they held on for a 2-1 win away at Everton on Sunday. The win propped them up to fifth in the table, just a point behind Chelsea in fourth.
The win was crucial especially after the derby day humiliation at the hands of Manchester City and the unconvincing display away at Omonia Nicosia in mid-week.
Erik ten Hag had asked his team to show resilience and believe in themselves, which the team did as they came back from a goal down to secure all three points.
Shaw proves his mettle
Ten Hag’s usual team selection has seen him stick to the winning formula and he seems to have found certain players he can trust when the going gets tough.
Luke Shaw’s game by numbers vs. Everton:
85% pass accuracy
3/5 ground duels won
2 tackles won
1 aerial duel won
1 long ball completed
Strong return to the starting line-up. 👏 pic.twitter.com/F8D6hcm3YV
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) October 9, 2022
One of the best performers on the night and someone who got overshadowed thanks to Ronaldo’s 700th goal was Shaw. He has been the subject of ridicule and trolling over the course of last season.
He even lost his place under interim boss Ralf Rangnick who chose to give Alex Telles an extended runout following his appointment.
The 27-year-old has had a mixed career ever since his much-hyped move to the Red Devils back in 2014. A terrible injury meant his progress was stalled for a couple of seasons while Jose Mourinho was close to selling him at one point.
There were major doubts as to whether he could forge a successful career at the home of the 20-time English champions.
But under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he started to perform to a high level and the Norwegian got the best out of him when he brought in Telles as competition.
And Ten Hag seems to have learnt the same trick and Tyrell Malacia‘s arrival and subsequent impact on first-team proceedings seems to have jolted the former Southampton man back into action.
And the changes are visible. He looks leaner, meaner and fitter and that was evident when he made recovery runs galore to thwart Everton’s forays down United’s left.
Shaw back to his best?
His impressive defending meant he completely nullified England Under-21 international Anthony Gordon.
He had failed miserably against Brentford and made amends against the Toffees. His energy was infectious as Shaw made numerous overlapping runs and bombed up and down the left flank.
His understanding with fellow England teammate Marcus Rashford was a huge help and the full-back registered 86 touches and had an impressive 85% pass accuracy at the end of the contest.
What was even more impressive was his reading of dangerous situations and how he snuffed them out even before they started. That can be seen from the fact that Shaw made two interceptions as well as made two clearances.
He was strong in the tackle and hardly got beat, winning three out of five ground duels and completing two successful tackles. He also won one aerial duel and completed one long ball.
Overall, it was a fine return to the starting line-up for Shaw and after Malacia’s recent struggles, Ten Hag might be inclined to give more chances to the England man going forward.