Manchester United will travel the 33 miles to Goodison Park to take on Everton in the Premier League on Sunday evening. It will be the first time this season that United have kicked off at 7pm on a Sunday – hopefully not the first of many. Thursday and Sunday matches are a pain.
Erik ten Hag’s side beat Omonia Nicosia 3-2 in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening in Cyprus with Marcus Rashford scoring a brace and Anthony Martial scoring his third goal of the season in just 103 minutes of action so far. A win is much-needed in this fixture.
Everton last played on Saturday 1 October where they beat Southampton 2-1 with Connor Coady and Dwight McNeil scoring the goals. Frank Lampard’s side have been in good form this season, having more draws than wins (four to two), also losing two matches so far this season.
Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1
Dalot, Varane, Martinez; Shaw;
Antony, Fernandes, Rashford;
Goalkeeper: De Gea
David De Gea seems to be the best choice right now for United in goal with Tom Heaton untested in the goalkeeper position and Martin Dubravka suffering an injury before returning to the bench against Omonia Nicosia on Thursday evening.
Erik ten Hag will need someone that he can trust in goal against Everton as they will be seeking to get three points from United after seeing them concede six goals against Manchester City last weekend. Dubravka needs to start soon and Thursday’s upcoming match could be the time.
For now, I thing De Gea will continue to play in goal for United in the Premier League until his competitors in the position can be tested in a match that would not be too costly to make mistakes in, if that is what happens. De Gea knows Everton and where their threat comes from.
Defenders: Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw
The defence is a work in progress at this time. Diogo Dalot has been having a good season but against Manchester City last weekend, he did not get much from the match. Thursday was a moot point for him too. Luke Shaw should start with Dalot, completing the fullback positions.
Shaw seemed to bring more to the left-back position when he came on in Thursday’s match and it would be good to see him bring out the form he had prior to Euro 2020 in the summer of 2021. That would be good news for United, having two decent left-backs in the squad.
Raphael Varane came off injured against City last weekend and missed Thursday’s match. He will be subject to a fitness test ahead of this match and I think he might just get through it. If he is fit to start, he should play alongside Lisandro Martinez, who has been a mainstay in defence this season.
Midfield: Casemiro, Eriksen
The two-man midfield area has a few different partnerships that can be utilised this season. The best at this time could be Christian Eriksen and Casemiro. The Denmark international has been one of the best signings for the club this season, having three assists so far.
Casemiro has not played a lot of football this season for United, seemingly trying to transition from life at Real Madrid to life at United, playing a different style of football under Ten Hag. He started against Omonia on Thursday and had a good game, although he did not shine.
But he just needs to do the job he is capable of and did that when needed as the Cypriot side were not as attacking as City were days before. Everton could be different though and he and Eriksen could form a good partnership. The likes of Fred and Scott McTominay could also be involved.
Attacking Midfield: Antony, Fernandes, Rashford
This trio is responsible for eight goals and four assists so far this season. Antony has some work to do in order to turn more of his chances into goals this season. He is a talented player and his interplay will be good when he really gets going, but more is needed from him.
Bruno Fernandes has not performed to his own standards this season. He has one goal and one assist so far this season and is capable of doing a lot more. Finding that form he has when he signed for United almost three years ago is key for United to perform at a high standard.
Marcus Rashford has been positive this season. He started with a goal against Liverpool then a brace against Arsenal and changed the game against Omonia on Thursday with another brace. He has to start against Everton – a team he has not yet scored against in his senior career.
Anthony Martial has played just 103 minutes of football this season, playing 45 minutes against Liverpool, 31 minutes against Manchester City and 29 minutes against Omonia Nicosia. In that time he has three goals and one assist – giving him a goal contribution every 26 minutes.
Those figures are good reading and make him a starting candidate for United against Everton, a team he has scored seven goals anded three assists against in 13 matches, winning eight, drawing four and losing just once. He could be rejuvenated this season.
Martial has looked like a completely different player this season, shining in pre-season but suffering an injury which kept him out at the start of the season before succumbing to injury again. Now that he is back, he needs to propel himself into the French World Cup squad.
Substitutes: Dubravka; Lindelof, Malacia; Fred, Pellistri, McTominay; Ronaldo, Sancho, Elanga
Ten Hag will be back to naming just nine players on the bench in the Premier League on Sunday, able to use five of them throughout the match. I would expect to see Tom Heaton cut from the squad with Martin Dubravka on the bench once again, waiting for his debut for the club.
In defence with Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka out of action, Victor Lindelof and Tyrell Malacia could be available. This would leave the trio of Fred, Facundo Pellistri and Scott McTominay in the midfield with Donny van de Beek also on the sidelines at this time.
In attack, Cristiano Ronaldo could be back on the bench after failing to get his 700th club career goal on Thursday evening, despite having plenty of chances. Jadon Sancho could also be there with Rashford likely to start. Anthony Elanga could also find a place on the bench against Everton.
Written by John Walker