Manchester United return to Premier League action on Saturday as they travel to Goodison Park to face Everton. Carlo Ancelotti’s side have lost their last two matches, as have Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United with both managers seeking to return to winning ways ahead of the last international break of 2020. Everton last won four matches ago when they beat Brighton and Hove Albion 4-2 in the Premier League at the start of October whereas United last won just over a week ago when they punished RB Leipzig 5-0 in the UEFA Champions League. Solskjaer will be under pressure, especially with rumours that suggest the club has contacted Mauricio Pochettino.
The thing is, the problems at the club have been endured by David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and now Solskjaer but so-called supporters of the club will always blame the current manager, not the factor that only one of the main contributors of the problems; Ed Woodward and the Glazers are the only thing that has been present during each and every problem that the managers of the club has faced. There are few players who have been present since Moyes and Sir Alex Ferguson before him so to blame one man for everything shows that people do not think about things, that just open their mouthes, which without thought is pointless.
How United have faired against Everton in the Premier League.
United and Everton have played a total of 56 times in the history of the Premier League with United winning 36 times, Everton winning nine times and the two teams drawing 11 times. United have scored a total of 102 goals; winning five penalties and scoring four of them. Everton have scored a total of 53 goals; winning four penalties, scoring three of them. United have kept a total of 24 clean sheets with Everton keeping nine. In terms of discipline, United have been shown a total of 72 yellow cards with two red cards whereas Everton have been shown a total of 103 yellow cards with three red cards being shown.
Last season at Goodison Park, which was played on the 1 March 2020, before the coronavirus lockdown, it was a 1-1 draw between the two sides with Dominic Calvert-Lewin opening the scoring in the third minute of the match and Bruno Fernandes equalising in the 31st minute, assisted by Nemanja Matic. At Old Trafford, which was played on the 15 December 2019, almost three months earlier, it was also a 1-1 draw between the two sides with Victor Lindelof scoring an own goal in the 36th minute of the match and Mason Greenwood, assisted by Daniel James, scoring the equaliser in the 77th minute of the match.
Here is my predicted starting XI to face Everton in the Premier League at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon…
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
In recent weeks, David De Gea has started to overturn his poor form and started to make waves in the right direction. After a lot of football recently, I can see why he was rested against Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday evening and after beating both Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig, United could afford a loss in the group stages, as long as they rediscover their form against the Turkish side at Old Trafford in just under three weeks time. De Gea has a lot of experience and can help United get the results that they need but his teammates will have to become better and more consistent for that to happen and that is where the worry is right now.
Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw
United need a defence that can be trusted and against Istanbul Basaksehir, that was not likely. During both goals, the defence were nowhere near their positions and poor Dean Henderson’s debut in the Champions League was hampered by conceding two goals, his first two goals conceded in his United career. Roy Keane could be right that the leadership in the team is poor, especially from the captain. United should not be caught out the way they were, definitely not twice. These players are meant to be professional. They should be playing each match like it could be their last for the club. I want to see a ruthless streak from United and the manager.
Midfield Three: Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay, Fred
The diamond midfield formation will not work against every opponent just because it worked against Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig. It is a good position to start with or even revert to but United will need to respond with different formations throughout a match, changing from attack to defence. A midfield three, behind an attacking midfielder and two forwards could give United some stability but the fullbacks will need to provide most of the width, which might cause more problems with the defence but it is something that this team will need to be able to cope with. Most of them are full internationals so it should not be that tough.
Attacking Midfield: Bruno Fernandes
Having one attacking midfielder behind the forwards is a good way to keep the ball moving forward. There will be creative players behind this position; Donny van de Beek for instance, who could look to find Bruno Fernandes or even overlap with the Portuguese midfielder taking the Dutchman’s position in the attacking play. United need to go back to basics as a win is much needed in this match in order for United to head into the international break with a bit of a high – there will be three important matches to play before the end of the month. Solskjaer will need to push his side to get what they need or the pressure will keep coming.
Forwards: Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial
It will be good to see Anthony Martial back in the Premier League after scoring a goal in each of his last two matches for the club, albeit in the Champions League. United have some depth in the forward ranks this season with Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani and Odion Ighalo, which is a good sign. Playing two forwards together with a packed out midfield could be the way to beat Everton this weekend, hopefully. Marcus Rashford has seven goals so far this season, two for Martial which is a good start but they need to be finding the back of the net as often as they were after the restart last season after the coronavirus lockdown.
Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Brandon Williams, Teden Mengi; Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic; Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood
With just three substitutions in the Premier League this season, Solskjaer will not have many options to change the match, should he need to. Dean Henderson will be back on the bench for this match with De Gea being utilised after a rest. In defence, Brandon Williams and Teden Mengi could be called upon. Alex Telles may not have had a negative COVID-19 test before the match, so might be out of action still. In midfield, Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic could be called upon should the midfield need reinforcement late in the match. In attack, Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood could add something with the Uruguayan seeking a first goal.
Written by John Walker