Manchester United missed their chance to top the Premier League after a 1-1 draw against Everton.

Anthony Martial’s goal wasn’t enough to win the game against Rafa Benitez’s side due to Andros Townsend’s equalizer.

Here’s a look at five things we learned from the game …

(OLI SCHAL / AFP via Getty Images)

Solskjaer goes back to 4-2-3-1

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opted for a 4-3-3 system against Villarreal mid-week and United looked too open to counterattack.

Fred was on the team here ahead of Paul Pogba when Solskjaer returned to his proven 4-2-3-1.

Demarai Gray was able to find space between the lines at times, but overall there was more control in the first half, but there was still a lack of ingenuity.

The debate over whether Fred and Scott McTominay are both needed in midfield will continue and Solskjaer brought in Paul Pogba for the Brazilian with United in search of a winning goal after 70 minutes.

(Matthew Peters / Manchester United via Getty Images)

Ronaldo is dropable

It makes sense that Cristiano Ronaldo may not play every game at the age of 36 and this was the first Premier League game he has been on the bench for since his return.

Edinson Cavani deserves a start and this has been a glimpse of how Solskjaer will manage his squad going forward.

Solskjaer generally has a late substitution habit, but Ronaldo replaced Cavani here in the 56th minute.

Bruno Fernandes is apparently the only unbeatable striker for United, but in the end the risk of giving Ronaldo some rest proved costly.

Manchester United - Everton - Premier League(Matthew Peters / Manchester United via Getty Images)

Martial ended his drought before injury

The inclusion of Anthony Martial was perhaps even more surprising than leaving Ronaldo on the bench.

Solskjaer wanted to keep his confidence in the French international and reacted with his first goal in eight months to become the top scorer.

Martial’s confidence looked weak before breaking the impasse. His dribbling was tough and he was careful when attacking an early header.

BT Sport’s camera was focused on Martial as he hit the pitch after half time, but it looked like he was limping and wincing.

And so it turned out when Martial switched to Jadon Sancho within 11 minutes of the break.

That meant Martial’s afternoon ended on a sour note and he’s hoping the problem isn’t serious after scoring a goal when he had a shocking chance to shine.

United have tied themselves back home

United made it a habit of coming away from home last season. At home, the opposite happens regularly this season.

United have led 1-0 in three of their four home games in the league before being pushed back each time.

9 – Manchester United have conceded at least once in each of their last nine league games at Old Trafford, the longest straight line in the Premier League since February 1971 (10 games). Countered.

– OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 2, 2021

The above statistic must worry Solskjaer. United have struck back against Leeds and Newcastle but it’s hard to score two goals in every home game just to get a win.

Manchester United - Everton - Premier League(Ash Donelon / Manchester United via Getty Images)

Sancho’s cameo was bright

Sancho has been charged with making United’s attack more urgent in finding a winner.

It is clear that his confidence is growing and there was one particularly impressive moment when he left Ben Godfrey for dead on the left.

A first United goal is still missing – and a late chance was missed – but the signs are good and Solskjaer yesterday underscored his confidence in the winger.

This was another step in the right direction, despite another disappointing collective team performance and a poor result.

Manchester United - Everton - Premier League(Matthew Peters / Manchester United via Getty Images)

United missed the chance to get to the top

United went into this game knowing that if they won they would reach the top of the league.

With Liverpool and Manchester City facing each other tomorrow, it was an opportunity to make up for at least one title rival.

United began as a team with the bite between their teeth before the performance snaked and the flatness of the crowd reflected that.

In the end, there should be no escape action like the drama during the week against Villarreal and this great opportunity was missed.

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