Preview: Manchester United to solve midfield and attacking problems against Everton?

Manchester United -v- Everton

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Saturday 2 October 2021, KO 12:30 BST

Referee: Michael Oliver Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett

Fourth Official: Paul Tierney

VAR: Stuart Attwell Assistant VAR: Harry Lennard

Manchester United return to Premier League action on Saturday as they welcome Everton to Old Trafford. United last won in the league when they beat West Ham United almost a fortnight ago, losing to Aston Villa at the Theatre of Dreams last week. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side desperately need to get back to winning ways in the league despite sitting a point away from the top spot although four other teams share the same number of points that United have at this stage of the season. If United let their position slip now, they will find it much harder to get back in the mix when it matters. Keeping the challenge up is much-needed right now.

United got back to winning ways against Villarreal at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening, coming from behind to win the match in added time. United conceded a goal in the 53rd minute of the match and Alex Telles struck seven minutes later to equalise. United struggled to find a winner, despite being resurgent for large periods of the second half. Cristiano Ronaldo, assisted by Jesse Lingard, scored the winner in the very last minute of added time to get all three points in the bag for United, which was a must after the defeat to Young Boys a fortnight ago. United need to get back to winning ways in the Premier League at home this weekend.

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WLLWLW

Villarreal 2-1 W, Aston Villa 1-0 L, West Ham United 1-0 L, West Ham United 2-1 W, BSC Young Boys 2-1 L, Newcastle United 4-1 W

Goals: 5 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 4 – Bruno Fernandes, 3 – Mason Greenwood, 2 – Jesse Lingard, 1 – Fred, Alex Telles

Assists: 7 – Paul Pogba, 2 – Bruno Fernandes, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, Luke Shaw, Raphael Varane

Everton – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WLLWWW

Norwich City 2-0 W, Queens Park Rangers 2-2 (8-7 penalties) L, Aston Villa 3-0 L, Burnley 3-1 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 W, Huddersfield Town 2-1 W

Goals: 4 – Demarai Gray, Andros Townsend, 3 – Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Abdoulaye Doucouré, 1 – Lucas Digne, Alex Iwobi, Michael Keane, Richarlison

Assists: 3 – Abdoulaye Doucouré, Andros Townsend, 1 – Allan, Tom Davies, André Gomes, Demarai Gray, Alex Iwobi, Richarlison

Previous meetings with Everton and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Everton have met 58 times in the Premier League. United have won 37 times, drawn 12 times and the Toffees have won the remaining nine matches. United have scored a total of 108 goals, winning five penalties and scoring four of them. Everton have scored just 57 goals, winning four penalties and scoring three of them. The Red Devils have kept 24 clean sheets with the Toffees keeping nine. Discipline has been an issue in this fixture with United players receiving 76 yellow cards and two red cards and Everton players being shown 108 yellow cards and three red cards.

There has been a long history of players to have played for both United and Everton. The likes of 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 but the most successful player of them all was Wayne Rooney. He was sold to United for £25 million as an 18-year-old in the summer of 2004 and started to break the records from his debut against Fenerbahce when he scored a hat-trick. Before he rejoined Everton in 2017, he became United’s all time top scorer.

Team News: Six players on the sidelines for Everton with three out of action for United. Pickford is a doubt too, which could be a blow for the Toffees.

Marcus Rashford (Shoulder), Amad Diallo (Thigh) and Harry Maguire (Calf) all look set to miss the visit of Everton to Old Trafford this weekend. Luke Shaw, who was injured against Aston Villa last week missed the victory over Villarreal and is a 50% chance of featuring against the Toffees this weekend. Alex Telles came off on Wednesday evening with a knock, so he could be a doubt for this match too, but nothing has been confirmed about the intensity of his injury. Other than this, United will have many options ahead of their Premier League encounter that they must win this weekend heading into an international break.

Andre Gomes (Calf), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (Thigh), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Thigh), Fabian Delph (Shoulder), Seamus Coleman (Thigh) and Richarlison (Knee) have all been ruled out of the clash with United at the Theatre of Dreams this weekend, which is a blow for Everton. Jordan Pickford (Shoulder) is currently being assessed and has a 50% chance of being available for the match against United. With the number of key players out of action, United will have a good chance to take advantage of the Toffees, but with the shape that United are in at this time, Everton will be seeking to take some advantage of their own.

Predicted Starting XI: A 4-3-3 formation could change the attacking landscape for United if Solskjaer is trusting of his players and is willing to let them show their strengths.

Solskjaer needs to find a solution for United’s toothless attacking, which was shown against Villarreal on Wednesday evening. Considering the availability of players in the squad, there does not seem to be many flair substitutions nor the chance for players to go out and play to their strengths. For large spells of the match, it was boring and United should be utilising a swashbuckling attacking style to blow away the opposition. This did not happen and United hammered on the door for each and every minute they could, finding a winner in the very last minute of added time, which was entertaining but not something that will happen all of the time.

I think David De Gea will keep his place in goal for this match as he has been doing well and no change is really needed there. That may change after the international break when United will be back to playing in both the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw should return to the fullback positions with Raphael Varane and Eric Bailly partnering in the centra midfield positions. A three-man midfield of Donny van de Beek, Nemanja Matic and Bruno Fernandes could work well, giving more emphasis on the attack. Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani and Jadon Sancho leading the line could be god for United too.

Match Prediction: United and Everton are neck and neck in the Premier League at this stage of the season – they won’t be a pushover and hopefully, United will not either.

Last season, United beat Everton 3-1 in the fixture at Goodison Park after Bernard opened the scoring for the home side in the 19th minute of the match. Bruno Fernandes scored a brace, equalising in the 25th minute, assisted by Luke Shaw, scoring again seven minutes later, assisted by Marcus Rashford. Edinson Cavani gave United a two-goal cushion five minutes into added time, assisted by Fernandes. At Old Trafford it was a 3-3 draw with Cavani opening the scoring in the 24th minute, assisted by Rashford, Fernandes putting United 2-0 up, assisted by Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the 45th minute. Abdoulaye Doucouré got one back in the 49th minute.

James Rodríguez equalised for Everton in the 52nd minute, assisted by Doucouré, which gave United more work to do. Scott McTominay put United ahead again in the 70th minute, assisted by Shaw before Dominic Calvert-Lewin equalised for his club, who did it for the second time in this match, this time in the fifth minute of added time, assisted by Michael Keane. United will be seeking to get one over Everton this time, in a similar fashion to the friendly victory against the club in the summer in which Mason Greenwood, Harry Maguire, Fernandes and Diogo Dalot all scored. It was a poor result for Everton and hopefully this will be the same.

Manchester United 2-1 Everton

Written by John Walker

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About editor 2195 Articles
I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.