Angel Di Maria is picking up quite a penchant for scoring cracking goals in a Manchester United shirt. Add a first goal for Radamel Falcao as a Manchester United player, and the Red Devils just had to win, didn't they.
It was far from easy, though, as Everton fought hard, without really showing too much quality going forward – very unlike a Robert Martinez team – missing a penalty and then firing in an equaliser via Steven Naismith to cancel out Di Maria's wonderful opener, before Falcao did what he does best – find the back of the net with a typical striker's finish – to give Manchester United a welcome 2-1 victory in the English Premier League.
There only looked like being one team who would score in the first half at Old Trafford, with Manchester United taking shots with as much regularity as a drink of water in 100 percent humidity.
Juan Mata, expectedly, came back into the starting lineup in the absence of the suspended Wayne Rooney, and, while the playmaker did not have to most influential of games – he just seems to be struggling to do that in a Manchester United shirt – he did play a major role in United's opening goal.
Before that, Manchester United had plenty of cracks at Everton's goal, with Falcao nearly scoring for the first time in a United shirt with a header, off a Luke Shaw cross, which needed a strong diving save from Tim Howard.
Apart from that, though, Howard did not have much to do until the first goal was smashed in, with Robin Van Persie, Daley Blind, twice, Falcao and Di Maria all taking strikes from inside and outside the box which went well over the crossbar.
When the goal did come, though, it was well worth the wait as Di Maria netted another brilliant strike in his fledgling Manchester United career. The goal was created by Rafael who swung in a cross from the right, with the ball eventually falling to Mata inside the box. The Spanish playmaker laid a perfectly weighted pass to Di Maria, who smashed the ball into the corner with his less-favoured right foot from the edge of the penalty area on 27 minutes.
Everton rarely threatened going forward, with young defender Paddy McNair again impressing, keeping Romelu Lukaku quite quiet. It took all of 40 minutes for Everton to get their first shot in the match, and it came via a long ball from Leighton Baines to Lukaku, who, after getting clear of McNair for once, thrashed his shot well wide.
However, Everton were given the best possible chance to draw level right on halftime, as Shaw clumsily brought down Tony Hibbert inside the box. Baines, who had not missed a single penalty in the Premier League in 14 attempts coming into the game, stepped up and hit a weak spotkick, which David De Gea, guessing right, easily saved diving to his right.
That save would have given Manchester United a huge lift during the break, and the home side started the second 45 better than Everton, even if that second goal never really came.
All it takes is one goal for the match to turn on its head, however, and it looked like that might happen when Steven Naismith headed home from six yards off a Baines cross on 55 minutes, only for Falcao to nip any Everton momentum in the bud seven minutes later with his first goal for Manchester United.
Antonio Valencia, playing on the right side of the diamond in the absence of Ander Herrera, found a pass to Di Maria outside the box, with the Argentine's mishit shot from distance falling perfectly for Falcao to guide the ball home from seven yards.
Everton, coming back from a long midweek trick to Russia, just seemed to struggle to find a reply to that Falcao goal, as Manchester United looed to kill the game off with manager Louis Van Gaal also giving former Toffees hero Marouane Fellaini some time on the pitch.
The team in blue made a late, late surge for an equaliser with Leon Osman and Bryan Oviedo, the man who scored the winner at Old Trafford last season, denied that equaliser by two absolutely stunning saves from De Gea, who single-handedly earned Manchester United all three points.