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Predicted XI: [4-3-1-2] Rashford and Martial to lead against Everton; Fernandes, Van de Beek, Fred and McTominay in midfield?

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

Preview: Solskjaer must find a victory against Everton or the pressure will continue to grow; the rumours are already rife

Everton -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Goodison Park, Liverpool

Saturday 7 November 2020, KO 12:30 GMT

Referee: Paul Tierney Assistants: Stuart Burt, Simon Bennett

Fourth Official: Andy Madley

VAR: Michael Oliver Assistant VAR: Constantine Hatzidakis

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.

Manchester United: LLWDWW

Istanbul Basaksehir 2-1 L, Arsenal 1-0 L, RB Leipzig 5-0 W, Chelsea 0-0 D, Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 W, Newcastle United 4-1 W

Everton: LLDWWW

Newcastle United 2-1 L, Southampton 2-0 L, Liverpool 2-2 D, Brighton and Hove Albion 4-2 W, West Ham United 4-1 W, Crystal Palace 2-1 W

Top Scorers: United need to find the form they are capable of so they can get themselves out of the rut they are in – Everton seem to be in a similar rut after their positive start to the season.

Manchester United Goals: 7 – Marcus Rashford, 4 – Bruno Fernandes, 2 – Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Mason Greenwood, 1 – Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Donny van de Beek, Harry Maguire, Own Goal, Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay

United are in a bit of dismay at this moment in time. They have lost two matches on the bounce against both Arsenal in the Premier League and Istanbul Basaksehir in the UEFA Champions League, who they had never played before and who had never won or even scored a goal in the competition. United need to work hard, keep their heads and find a way out of this mess. Solskjaer is not the only person to blame. Some so-called supporters praise the players for winning then moan about the manager for losing. If the manager is not praised for a victory then slated for a loss, the mentality seems to be wrong with these people. Patience is a virtue.

Everton Goals: 11 – Dominic Calvert-Lewin, 4 – Richarlison, 3 – James Rodríguez, Michael Keane, 2 – Moise Kean, 1 – Alex Iwobi, Bernard, Gylfi Sigurðsson, Yerry Mina

Everton started the Premier League season in fine form, winning their first four matches and drawing against Liverpool in their fifth, but losing matches six and seven. Their great form at the start of the season seems to have disappeared into oblivion and it will be something that they will need to rediscover when they face United. Last season, both fixtures against United, home and away, were 1-1 draws so they will be seeking to win this time, getting back to winning ways. United will be in exactly the same boat after two defeats in their last two matches. One team will emerge from this match with their heads held high – who will it be?

Team News: Anthony Martial back in action after suspension, Victor Lindelof a doubt with lower back injury, Jesse Lingard close to returning for United.

Solskjaer will still be without Eric Bailly (muscular) and Phil Jones (knee) for the clash with Everton on Saturday. Alex Telles (coronavirus) could still be a doubt as he will need to test negative for the virus before he can return to action. Victor Lindelof was on the bench in the defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir on Wednesday and has a lower back injury, so he will be subject to late fitness testing ahead of Saturday’s match. Jesse Lingard is getting closer to fitness after being out for a number of weeks but he could still be a doubt for this match, having a 50% chance of featuring for United. Anthony Martial is also back after his three-match suspension in the league.

Ancelotti has a few problems ahead of the visit of United to Goodison Park. Richarlison is suspended and will not feature for his club but Lucas Digne has his three-match suspension reduced to one match, so should be available. Jean-Philippe Gbamin (calf/shin/heel) and Mason Holgate (ankle/foot) have been ruled out of facing United. Seamus Coleman (thigh) has a 75% chance of facing United whilst both Andre Gomes (knee) and James Rodriguez (groin/hip/pelvis) have 50% chances of featuring for their club. Ben Godfrey (thigh) has a 25% chance if being available for this important Premier League match at Goodison Park.

Predicted Starting XI: Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford to spearhead United’s attack with Bruno Fernandes just behind in a 4-3-1-2 formation?

Solskjaer needs to find the best formation for his squad to find consistency. The diamond formation has worked against Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig but it will not work against every club and playing the same formation will become predictable. The formation will need to change during matches, when attacking and defending, which is where the gameplay tactics come in. The starting formation is not really all that important and the players need to take accountability to represent the club on the pitch as the manager can only prepare them for the match, from there it will be up to them all as individuals and as a team.

Match Prediction: 56 Premier League matches played with United winning 36, Everton winning nine and 11 matches being drawn. United and Everton will be seeking to return to winning ways.

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.

Everton 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton interested in signing Sergio Romero to challenge Jordan Pickford

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti is reportedly interested in signing Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero this summer to challenge Jordan Pickford for the number one spot at the Goodison Park club. This is not the first time that the Argentinian as been linked with an exit from United this summer with Leeds United and Chelsea also linked with the player in recent weeks – although nothing concrete has happened regarding the speculation. It could be the start of something though.

Romero was seemingly annoyed this season after David De Gea performed poorly in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea, conceding two poor goals which saw United exit from the competition. It was expected that Romero would continue playing in the competition. De Gea was then kept in the team for the remainder of the season in the Premier League, which must have irked the Argentinian goalkeeper. Romero then played in two UEFA Europa League matches; LASK and FC Copenhagen before being benched in the semi-final for De Gea with United exiting the competition.

Romero has spent five year at United, signing as a free agent in the summer of 2015 and doing well at the club, also becoming the best second choice goalkeeper in the league for the performances he has made when called upon. The return of Dean Henderson to the Old Trafford club this summer has put the cat amongst the pigeons with Henderson, 23, seeking to take on De Gea for the number one shirt at the club which could leave Romero on the sidelines looking on. The Sun has reported Everton’s interested in the Argentinian this summer.

It would make sense for Romero to leave United this summer, if that is what he wanted to do. The player has a contract at the club which expires in the summer of 2021, although United have the option to extend that for another year – which they might be forced to do in order to get a decent fee for the player. During the 2019/20 season, Romero made a total of 17 appearances for the club, playing in the UEFA Europa League, Carabao Cup and the Emirates FA Cup, conceding five goals and keeping 12 clean sheets.

The 33-year-old might well be seeking to establish himself as the number one goalkeeper at a club, which might not be what could happen at United considering the rise of Henderson, who has done well on each loan spell away from the club, spending two years at Sheffield United which saw the club rise from the Championship with the goalkeeper in the squad and finish highly in the Premier League in their first season back in the English top flight.

It would make sense if the player seeks a move to a club whereby he would be granted the opportunity to challenge the existing goalkeeper at the club, which would not only see him rise in stature but the goalkeeper he is challenging would have to do the same to win his place back, giving a club two top goalkeepers giving rotation options to keep freshness in the squad. An Everton move would be good for Romero, should he decide to leave the club this summer. His time at United would be applauded for what he helped to win; one Emirates FA Cup, one EFL Cup, one FA Community Shield and one UEFA Europa League.

Written by John Walker

Everton interested in signing Diogo Dalot with fullback not in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans

Manchester United fullback Diogo Dalot could find himself heading to Everton this summer with manager Carlo Ancelotti reportedly interested in the 21-year-old Portuguese youth international. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not seem to have any plans for the fullback, even with Luke Shaw on the sidelines for the rest of United’s participation in the UEFA Europa League.

It would also seem that Tim Fosu-Mensah is favoured over the Portuguese player after he featured in the left-back position whilst both Shaw and Brandon Williams were out of action – after all it is a position that Dalot played in at FC Porto before former United manager Jose Mourinho signed the player two years ago. It might seem unfair to some that Solskjaer does not seem to have plans for the 21-year-old.

However, as the player arrived under the plans of another manager, despite being tested sparingly, it does not mean the player will remain in the plans of the manager who takes over from the departing manager. Dalot as been at the club for more than 18 months under Solskjaer, having fewer than five months under Mourinho. His current contract expires in the summer of 2023.

This season though, Dalot has made just 11 appearances for United, scoring one goal – playing a total of 577 minutes on the pitch. The 21-year-old started seven times, coming off the bench four times. Since the restart though, he has featured once against Norwich City in the Emirates FA Cup and was on the bench, albeit an unused substitute, against both Crystal Palace and West Ham United.

In the past few weeks, Dalot had emerged as a target for Barcelona but now The Mirror have suggested that Everton are interested with a possible £10 million fee involved in the transfer. Two years ago, United paid £19 million for the then teenager, so will absorb the loss, if he is sold to Everton for the reported fee this summer. It might not be easy at Everton with Seamus Coleman in the right-back position.

However, it is stated that Dalot could be the long-term replacement for the 32-year-old fullback which would set Everton up for the future. It would seem clear that Solskjaer is not interested in helping to develop the player with Aaron Wan-Bissaka the first choice right back with Williams able to fill in at both fullback positions. Then there is Ethan Laird, a player from the academy, who could rival Wan-Bissaka in the future.

Written by John Walker

Review & Ratings: Fernandes the player with the plaudits in 1-1 Everton draw; De Gea recovered well, Martial played well

Manchester United drew 1-1 with Everton at Goodison Park, meaning neither side has the bragging rights this season with both matches resulting the same. Dominic Calvert-Lewin opened the scoring through a David De Gea mistake with Bruno Fernandes scoring his first non-penalty goal. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will not be happy with the result with United needing to win to add pressure to Chelsea, who are still three points clear.

Everton had a great start to the match getting a goal out of nothing in the third minute with David De Gea on the ball and looking to clear it with Dominic Calvert-Lewin rising forward and De Gea clearing the ball, it deflecting off the Everton forward and into the back the of the net. Moments later, Everton were throwing everything they had at United to unsettle them then Nemanja Matic hit the Everton crossbar on an attack.

United got themselves back into the game with an equaliser in the 31st minute of the match through Bruno Fernandes, who scored his third goal of the season for his new club. Nemanja Matic slotted the ball into Fernandes’ path with the Portuguese midfielder taking a few strides with the ball before unleashing his fierce strike on goal, beating Jordan Pickford, who dived the right way to try and make the save. Great goal.

There was some late drama in the match with Everton scoring a second goal at the death of the match, which was questioned by the referee and United’s players. VAR rescinded the goal, which was met with lots of booing from the home crowd. I guess they wanted to cheat to get the win? The drama was not over after the final whistle with Carlo Ancelotti being sent off by the referee – something he deserved for his reaction.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

It was a disaster start for De Gea in conceding a goal from nothing as he left it late to clear the ball from his area with Calvert-Lewin scoring from his block which deflected into the back of the net. The Spanish goalkeeper found his feet soon after with some great saves to deny Everton from capitalising some more.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The right-back did well against Everton although the home side were pressing for much of the match, especially after capitalising from next to nothing to open the scoring. He provided United with some attacking play as they pressure Everton themselves.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The weakest defender at the club at this moment in time. Him playing gives me the same feeling as when Jones and Smalling played together. He has had good performances but seems to worry too much with Bailly a better fit. He was booked in the second half of the match.

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5 Harry Maguire

The captain did well, especially with Everton pressing and trying to get the better of United's defence. He made many headed clearances to stop them from taking the lead for a second time in the match.

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23 Luke Shaw

The left-back did well against Everton and tried to help his side get forward to try and capitalise from the match. He was booked in the first half after things got quite nasty with Calvert-Lewin.

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39 Scott McTominay

Did well, especially considering his long-term injury and the fact he does not seem to be rusty at all, especially when it comes to match fitness. He helped United in midfield and his teammates will thank him for that. He was replaced in the 72nd minute of the match by Mata.

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31 Nemanja Matic

The veteran Serbian midfield did his bit in the match against Everton. After United conceded in the third minute, he had a shot on goal, hitting the crossbar. He provided the assist for Fernandes' equaliser in the 31st minute of the match. Some commanding play from the Serbian.

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17 Fred

Fred has been a good player to have at the club for the majority of the season. He got stuck into Everton today. He was booked in the second half for a handball, giving Everton a free-kick which came to nothing. He was incensed by the booking as the ball hit his thigh, looking at the replay.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

MOTM for me. His thunderous effort on goal to equalise for United was stunning. Three goals and two assists in six appearances shows what United were missing. A great player to have in this team. United now seem to have a purpose.

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11 Mason Greenwood

The 18-year-old played well, partnering Martial in attack against Everton. Whilst he did not score, he did play well and looked to capitalise at every opportunity that he had. He is largely inexperienced but has done well this season, showing what a player United could have in a few years time. He was replaced by Ighalo in the 82nd minute of the match.

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9 Anthony Martial

The Frenchman played well against Everton and did his bit defensively also, which was good to see. However, on an attack, Martial or Greenwood were not really in positions that could have benefited some of the time, which may have cost United.

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Substitutes

8 Juan Mata

Replaced McTominay 72'. Brought on to add something in midfield with McTominay seeming tired. Could have become creator in the final minute of the match after Pickford made a great double save to debt United.

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Review & Ratings: Fernandes the player with the plaudits in 1-1 Everton draw; De Gea recovered well, Martial played well

Replaced Greenwood 72'. Could have scored again today. Mata set something up with Pickford making a save with the ball falling to Ighalo and Pickford making another save.

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33 Brandon Williams

Replaced Martial 89'. Came on in the final minute with three minutes of added time to be played. Got involved in an attack, which came to nothing for United.

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Goals: Dominic Calvert-Lewin 3′; Bruno Fernandes 31′

Assists: Nemanja Matic 31′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay (Mata 72′), Matic, Fred; Fernandes; Greenwood (Ighalo 72′), Martial (Williams 89′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Bailly; Lingard, Pereira

Bookings: Dominic Calvert-Lewin 41′, Tom Davies 43′, Djibril Sidibe 80′; Luke Shaw 40′, Harry Maguire 45′, Victor Lindelof 56′, Fred 70′

Confirmed Starting XI: Martial and Greenwood lead the line, Fernandes in behind against Everton; Ighalo on the bench

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action this afternoon when they travel to Goodison Park to face Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have been in good form in recent weeks and are currently undefeated in their last seven matches in all competitions. The arrival of Bruno Fernandes has been great for United and with the way Odion Ighalo has played so far, goals are coming.

United currently sit three points outside the top four with Chelsea clinging on to their fourth placed position at this moment in time. However, with them facing Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday afternoon with the home side seeking to break away from the relegation places, beating Everton on Sunday will be important for United, to maintain the pressure on Chelsea win, draw or lose.

United will be entering another busy period with at least two matches each week for the foreseeable future with Derby County (away), Manchester City (home), LASK (away), Tottenham Hotspur (home), LASK (home) all coming before the first international break of 2020. United beat Club Brugge 5-0 at Old Trafford on Thursday evening, winning 6-1 on aggregate with goals from Fernandes, Ighalo, Scott McTominay and a brace from Fred.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

McTominay, Matic, Fred;

Fernandes;

Greenwood, Martial

Substitutes:

Romero; Bailly, Williams; Mata, Lingard, Pereira; Ighalo

Everton:

Pickford;

Coleman, Keane, Holgate, Baines;

Walcott, Gomes, Davies, Sigurdsson;

Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison

Substitutes:

Virgínia; Mina; Delph, Iwobi, Sidibe, Bernard; Kean

United and Everton have played a total of 202 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1892. United have won 88 times, drawn 44 times and lost 70 times. United lost their last fixture at Goodison Park, conceding four goals in the defeat which was a devastating defeat for Solskjaer’s side. At Old Trafford this season, it was a 1-1 draw with Victor Lindelof scoring an own goal and Mason Greenwood getting the equaliser.

Prior to the defeat last season, United had an eight match unbeaten run over Everton, winning six times and drawing twice, scoring 16 goals, conceding four goals, keeping four clean sheets. United did have a twenty match unbeaten run against Everton which lasted a decade from 1995 to 2005. Solskjaer will be seeking a better result than his last visit to Goodison Park, aiming to take all three points back to Manchester, hopefully putting pressure on Chelsea.

How Manchester United could look against Everton; 3-4-2-1 with Ighalo leading the line, Fernandes and James supporting and De Gea back in the team

Manchester United face Everton at Goodison Park in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon in a bid that could put some pressure on Chelsea, especially if they fail to beat Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium in Saturday. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to keep their seven match unbeaten run in a bid to achieve a UEFA Champions League place next season. Everton could be a tough team for United to beat.

In their last match, United beat Club Brugge 5-0 at Old Trafford in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg, drawing 1-1 in the first leg just over a week ago. Goals from Bruno Fernandes, Scott McTominay, Odion Ighalo, and a brace from Fred saw United blow the Belgian’s out of the water. The confidence will be there to do the same to Everton, especially after the 4-0 defeat in this fixture last season.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Everton in the Premier League at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish number one was rested for the 5-0 Club Brugge victory with Sergio Romero getting yet another clean sheet this season. De Gea has two clean sheets in his last two Premier League matches, keeping four clean sheets in his last seven matches in all competitions with United having eight clean sheets in their last 13 matches in all competitions. Maybe now is the time that United move forward, getting the better of their opposition with the players they have in the team who all seem to be working towards the same goal, reaching the UEFA Champions League next season.

Defenders: Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United’s defence have done well recently in helping the club keep eight clean sheets in 13 matches in all competitions. Solskjaer used a back four against Club Brugge, playing at Old Trafford but away from home he has more often than not, recently, playing three at the back. In this game, it could benefit United having Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw, who has played well as a left-sided defender in this formation. The three-man defence could unlock the midfield, holding Everton back and letting United attack deep in their half from the start of the match. Everton have beaten United in this fixture last season but United are a much better team now.

Midfield: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Scott McTominay, Brandon Williams

The midfield is something that United have struggled with at times this season but now there is some movement here and rotation options. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams will most likely be the wing-back options if this formation is correct, as it has been away from home recently. I did expect Nemanja Matic to play in this game but the dominant display of Fred, who scored two goals against Club Brugge and Scott McTominay, who scored one, will keep them their places in the starting XI for this match. This could be the best way United deals with each match, which are all threats against their finishing position in the league. United still have two chances to reach the Champions League next season and they should keep trying for both as long as they can.

Attacking Midfield: Bruno Fernandes, Daniel James

The attacking midfield is something that has been great over the past few matches. Bruno Fernandes has made a great impact at the club, scoring two goals and assisting two goals in five appearances so far since he signed for the club. In this game, with Anthony Martial missing the last game, it could mean United have a choice of two forwards to lead the line so keeping one of them on the bench, just in case, would be the best option. In this case, having Daniel James alongside Fernandes would be the best option. The Welshman is seeking to improve his form and has done well in the last few matches. Playing alongside Fernandes could be good for him as he is still learning and has played a lot of competitive football this season and is more a player for the future.

Forwards: Odion Ighalo

Odion Ighalo will be relishing his playing time for United this season. He has almost scored goals each time he has played, finally getting there with this goal against Club Brugge on Thursday evening. The Nigerian became the first Nigerian to score for United, which is something that will give the country a lot of pride. United will be in good hands with Ighalo leading the line. The guy is confident in himself and his hold up play is pretty impressive. Granted, it may not work all the time but with confidence at a high right now, it could still work, especially against Everton, who need to be beaten and put back in their place.

Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Victor Lindelof, Diogo Dalot; Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira; Mason Greenwood

The bench will be important for United. Having players who can make an impact at a point in the game would be good, Granted, United are missing some important players right now so do not have the best on the bench. Sergio Romero will be back on the bench after his clean sheet against Brugge. In defence, Victor Lindelof and Diogo Dalot will be there if they are needed the latter can play an attacking role also. Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira could find places on the bench to strengthen the midfield, only if needed as Mata may be tired from Thursday’s match. Mason Greenwood could come off the bench in the game to help United find more goals or using his energy against Everton to keep tiring them out. Solskjaer will need a game plan to beat Ancelotti.

Preview: Manchester United need to chew up the Toffees at Goodison Park to keep chase on Chelsea in top four pursuit; Fernandes and Ighalo key?

Everton -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Goodison Park, Liverpool

Sunday 1 March 2020, KO 14:00 GMT

Referee: Chris Kavanagh Assistants: Lee Betts, Constantine Hatzidakis Fourth Official: Craig Pawson

VAR: Jonathan Moss Assistant VAR: Eddie Smart

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action on Sunday afternoon when they travel to Goodison Park to face Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have been in good form in recent weeks and are currently undefeated in their last seven matches in all competitions. The arrival of Bruno Fernandes has been great for United and with the way Odion Ighalo has played so far, goals are coming.

United currently sit three points outside the top four with Chelsea clinging on to their fourth placed position at this moment in time. However, with them facing Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday afternoon with the home side seeking to break away from the relegation places, beating Everton on Sunday will be important for United, to maintain the pressure on Chelsea win, draw or lose.

United will be entering another busy period with at least two matches each week for the foreseeable future with Derby County (away), Manchester City (home), LASK (away), Tottenham Hotspur (home), LASK (home) all coming before the first international break of 2020. United beat Club Brugge 5-0 at Old Trafford on Thursday evening, winning 6-1 on aggregate with goals from Fernandes, Ighalo, Scott McTominay and a brace from Fred.

Form: United unbeaten in their last six matches with Everton losing once in the last six – their last match. United seem to be in the zone with eight goals in their last two matches.

Manchester United: WWDWDW

Club Brugge 5-0 W, Watford 3-0 W, Club Brugge 1-1 D, Chelsea 2-0 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 D, Manchester City 1-0 W

Everton: LWWDDW

Arsenal 3-2 L, Crystal Palace 3-1 W, Watford 3-2 W, Newcastle United 2-2 D, West Ham United 1-1 D, Brighton and Hove Albion 1-0 W

Top Scorers: 71 goals scored by Manchester United this season with Everton scoring just 44. With Odion Ighalo off the mark and Bruno Fernandes’ magic, United could be set for dominant period.

Manchester United Goals: 19 – Marcus Rashford, 15 – Anthony Martial, 11 – Mason Greenwood, 4 – Scott McTominay, 3 – Daniel James, 2 – Bruno Fernandes, Fred, Own Goal, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Odion Ighalo, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Nemanja Matic, Andreas Pereira, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United seem to be on the way up again. Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo have added something to the squad since their arrival which can only get better. United have a player willing to bust a gut to get results and a striker who has the ability to do what a striker does in the box. In the last six matches, United have four wins and two draws, keeping five clean sheets, scoring 12 goals, conceding just one.

Everton Goals: 14 – Dominic Calvert-Lewin, 12 – Richarlison, 3 – Bernard, 2 – Tom Davies, Alex Iwobi, Yerry Mina, Gylfi Sigurdsson, 1 – Leighton Baines, Lucas Digne, Mason Holgate, Moise Kean, Michael Keane, Cenk Tosun, Theo Walcott

Everton are not having a great season, sitting in 11th place in the Premier League – five points adrift of United. For a club that said so much in the summer, they seem so far behind. In the last six matches, the Toffees have won three times, drawn twice and lost once, scoring 12 goals, conceding nine and keeping just one clean sheet. This makes it look like they could score against United but maybe not keep a clean sheet.

Team News: Six players could be out for United as they visit Everton with one player out of the match and two doubts. Ighalo to lead the line for United again with Fernandes pulling the strings.

Solskjaer will be missing Marcus Rashford (lower back), Paul Pogba (ankle) and Lee Grant (wrist) with the trio being the only current long-term injuries in the squad. However, Axel Tuanzebe (thigh) and Tim Fosu-Mensah (thigh) could again be missing from the squad. The manager confirmed that Anthony Martial (thigh), who was missing from the 5-0 victory over Club Brugge, was injured too, saying:

“He went off [during] training yesterday and had treatment. He reported this morning and had a fitness test. It’s not his hamstring, it’s his thigh, in and around the knee.”

Everton will be without Jean-Philippe Gbamin (thigh) who may not be back in action until April. Both Theo Walcott (knee) and Lucas Digne (muscle) could be back in action this weekend with both players having a 75% chance of recovering in time for Sunday’s match. Ancelotti will be happy with his squad going into the game as his side looks to better their Premier League position this season.

Predicted Starting XI: Ighalo leading the line supported by Daniel James and Bruno Fernandes with United seeking to chew up the Toffees?

United could go into this match without Anthony Martial, who missed the Club Brugge match. Odion Ighalo will be ready to lead the line again, and he did well against the Belgian side, scoring his first United goal. I expect Solskjaer to play three at the back again, a midfield four with wing-backs and two attacking players behind the striker, in this instance Bruno Fernandes and Daniel James because of the pace and ability offered.

Match Prediction: United have more victories over Everton but their last Goodison Park visit resulted in a 4-0 defeat so Solskjaer’s side need to get a result, keeping their current run alive.

United and Everton have played a total of 202 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1892. United have won 88 times, drawn 44 times and lost 70 times. United lost their last fixture at Goodison Park, conceding four goals in the defeat which was a devastating defeat for Solskjaer’s side. At Old Trafford this season, it was a 1-1 draw with Victor Lindelof scoring an own goal and Mason Greenwood getting the equaliser.

Prior to the defeat last season, United had an eight match unbeaten run over Everton, winning six times and drawing twice, scoring 16 goals, conceding four goals, keeping four clean sheets. United did have a twenty match unbeaten run against Everton which lasted a decade from 1995 to 2005. Solskjaer will be seeking a better result than his last visit to Goodison Park, aiming to take all three points back to Manchester, hopefully putting pressure on Chelsea.

Everton 1-3 Manchester United

copyright: JW