Everton’s Premier League survival hopes were boosted, while Manchester United’s Champions League hopes were further weakened, when Anthony Gordon’s deflected strike earned a 1-0 home win in front of a noisy Goodison Park crowd.
Gordon’s shot deflected off Harry Maguire’s back (27) and past David de Gea, giving the hosts a rare bit of luck in this dreadful battle.
United, who are close to appointing Erik ten Hag as their permanent manager, struggled to find their rhythm after that, with Cristiano Ronaldo’s late booking for petulance characterizing yet another fragmented, sluggish performance under interim leader Ralf Rangnick.
When he received Maguire’s cross in stoppage time, he may have had the final say, but his quick shot went off target.
Frank Lampard’s side re-established a four-point gap on Burnley in the final relegation position ahead of the weekend’s remaining games after self-imploding against Burnley in midweek, while United suffered another blow to their fading ambitions of a top-four finish.
Lampard has won all five of his matches at Goodison Park, and it is here that Everton’s best chance of avoiding relegation in 71 years lies – at its most visceral, obstructive, and unwelcoming on Saturday.