Manchester United will travel to face Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon in the first kick off of the day. United seemed to put themselves into a difficult position after failing to beat Leicester City last weekend but Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace has left the door slightly open.
Ralf Rangnick’s side will need to get some good form going against Everton, who are themselves contending for a place in the bottom three of the Premier League table after their 3-2 defeat to Burnley, who are also relegation contenders this season.
At the time of writing, United sit in seventh place, level on points but behind on goal difference to West Ham United, who have played one match more than United thus far. Everton sit in 17th place in the league with 25 points, one more than Burnley – who have a better goal difference.
It is going to be a tough end to the season for United, who will want to achieve UEFA Champions League football next season but could also find themselves in the UEFA Europa League or even the UEFA Europa Conference League – it could be better to sit out of European competition altogether.
Previous meetings with Everton and their connections with United.
United and Everton have met 59 times in the Premier League. United have won 37 times, drawn 13 times with Everton winning nine times. United have scored 109 goals, winning five penalties and scoring four of them. Everton have scored 58 goals, winning four penalties and scoring three.
United have kept 24 clean sheets with Everton keeping nine. Discipline has been an issue with United players receiving 77 yellow cards and two red cards and Everton players being shown 109 yellow cards and three red cards. United need to be better in this match.
Mark Hughes, Andrei Kanchelskis, John O’Kane, Phil Neville, Jesper Blomqvist, Tim Howard, Louis Saha, Darron Gibson, Marouane Fellaini, Michael Keane, Tom Cleverley, Romelu Lukaku and Morgan Schneiderlin have all played for United and Everton and Donny van de Beek is on loan there now.
The most successful player to play for both United and Everton is Wayne Rooney, who was sold to United for £25 million in the summer of 2004. Before he rejoined Everton in 2017, he became United’s all time top scorer, scoring 253 goals for the club and 53 goals for England.
Here is my predicted starting XI to face Everton in the Premier League at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon…
Goalkeeper: David De Gea
David De Gea will probably see out the remainder of the season as the first choice goalkeeper at United. I would not imagine Dean Henderson getting a look in unless United capitulate and make it impossible to break into the top four, which could actually happen.
The Spanish goalkeeper may have lost his place internationally but there is still much for him to compete for this season. He’s one of the players that is determined to help United out of the mess that they are in but it would be great if other players stood up too.
United need to win each of their remaining matches to have a good chance of earning UEFA Champions League football next season and that is something that will be tough to achieve. Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur could capitulate though – here’s hoping.
Defenders: Diogo Dalot, Raphaël Varane, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles
United’s defence needs to find its inner steel – with is something that is really hard to find this season. Players need to stick up for each other and work together on the pitch to find achievement. Diogo Dalot should keep his place and Alex Telles should replace the injured Luke Shaw.
Raphaël Varane should remain in the team as he is perhaps the best defender at the club this season and does what he does rather silently showing his professionalism time and time again. The Frenchman is at the right club and will want to achieve, even if a trophy is off the cards.
Harry Maguire has been a target this season, especially for the England fans, but despite some terrible performances, he has recently put his foot down and was perhaps one of the standout players against Leicester City last weekend. It should be a good season ender for the captain.
Midfield: Scott McTominay, Fred, Bruno Fernandes
United’s midfield has it’s problems too. There is no real defence in the positions and the creativity is not the best. But United need to continue with what they have in the hop the summer will solve some problems. Scott McTominay should keep his place as his passion and determination shows.
Fred should start in the midfield as he does do things that United need, especially scoring his fourth goal of the season against Leicester. The Brazilian is a player that is a target of frustration by those on social media but inside the stadium he’s playing, as long as he performs he is applauded.
Bruno Fernandes was the player furthest forward at times against Leicester last weekend and it was safe to say it did not work for United. He is a player that has everything in his locker to achieve for United, but having an actual striker ahead of him is important.
Forwards: Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba
United’s forward line is great on paper, even with some players out on loan and on the sidelines through injury. Jadon Sancho has risen this season, after starting out in disappointing fashion but with him no stranger to scoring and assisting, his season end should be much stronger.
Paul Pogba played on the left-flank against Leicester and whilst it did not work, I expect to see him in the same position against Everton. United need to win and with Pogba, that might be tough as he does not seem all that interested in performing this season now there is nothing to win.
Cristiano Ronaldo missed the 1-1 draw with Leicester last weekend and he was missed, especially with Edinson Cavani on the sidelines through injury too. This shows that United need more attacking players at the club. Ronaldo will be seeking to end the season in style with more goals in the bag.
Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Victor Lindelöf, Phil Jones, Aaron Wan-Bissaka; Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, Hannibal Mejbri; Marcus Rashford, Anthony Elanga
Rangnick will need to get his substitutes right in this match. United also need to fight for the outcome that they want, rather than tweeting apologies during the remainder of the weekend and seeking to do better in the next match. Time is running out to get points on the board.
Dean Henderson will remain on the bench for this match. Victor Lindelöf, Phil Jones and Aaron Wan-Bissaka will be available in defence. In midfield, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic and perhaps Hannibal Mejbri should have some involvement, if required.
In the attacking ranks, if Cavani is unable to be involved, it will leave United with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Elanga on the bench to try and change the game. I would like to see some talented youth players implemented into the squad before the end of the season.
Written by John Walker