Richard Scudamore, BSkyB and possibly the Manchester City hierarchy would have enjoyed this spectacular. No parking of the bus here; maybe at 4-2 to Manchester United the home side needed the José Mourinho mentality. But then hindsight is a wonderful thing. Both teams contributed to an open affair with fine goals and outstanding performances.
Everton started well with their central midfield United products – Phil Neville and Darron Gibson – coping well with Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick. Marouane Fellaini, dropping off Nikica Jelavic, helped and the Belgian's heading strength allied to Jelavic's aerial power was utilised as an outlet when Everton defenders won the ball. With Wayne Rooney also supporting his own midfield and dropping short of Danny Welbeck, both teams were set up in similar fashion.
United stuttered early on as Everton played with no fear and Jelavic struck after fine work by Steven Pienaar had created the opportunity for the cross.
For the home side Rooney found space behind Neville and Gibson and in front of Everton's centre-backs and slowly the direct Antonio Valencia began to gain a better supply. Rooney, stretching his neck muscles to score,'s gave a fair return for an equal first half, as United recovered from an unsteady opening.
Welbeck's brilliantly placed finish came after United went forward with more intent after half-time. Scholes was further advanced and Rafael da Silva and Patrice Evra took every opportunity to support the attack. It looked as though the superb combination between Jonny Evans and Welbeck to supply Nani's goal was chipping United towards the title.
United were lifted, with Rooney's link-up work with Welbeck accurate and explosive. They have developed an understanding and here it disturbed Everton's centre-backs. Fellaini's volley was first rate and the game opened up yet more and flowed with all that space in midfield and no negativity from either side.
Like all great forward partnerships, Rooney and Welbeck enjoy and are inspired by each other's success. They play with each other, not in isolation. They are not selfish for themselves but greedy for each other. Their awareness of their partner's movements is key: when Rooney comes short Welbeck will be more advanced and getting in line ready to pass the ball off to the spinning Rooney. A centre-back marking either of them is dragged towards the ball and space opens in the channel behind. With Sylvain Distin drawn towards Valencia, who stayed out wide in true United tradition, the acres of space on the right wing deep in the Everton half were exploited.
United used every available inch of width in the manner of Steve Coppell and Gordon Hill, Andrei Kanchelskis and Ryan Giggs. Hugging touchlines keeps full-backs edging off the cover and this makes the space infield. Rooney's vision can exploit much tighter defences than the one he faced here.
But Everton's resilience was admirable. Jelavic and then Pienaar's terrific finish spoiled any possible premature United celebrations. The home side's advantage disappeared with their open attacking policy. Unless you are a United diehard it would be churlish to criticise such rich entertainment.