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Wayne Rooney: The most disrespected Manchester United legend?

In 2021 the opinion that Wayne Rooney is a Manchester United legend is not controversial, with most United fans seemingly agreeing that the now 36-year-old manager of Derby County is a legend of the club. The main reasoning behind this being that he is now United’s top goal scorer of all time, taking over Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of 249 goals after scoring his 250th goal in a 1-1 draw with Stoke City on the 21 January 2017, as reported by ESPN.  

As reported by Sky Sports, Rooney managed  this achievement within over 200 games less than Sir Bobby played, landing Rooney in the United record books for the foreseeable future. 

For many people of a similar age, Wayne Rooney is one of the key reasons they fell in love with United, with Cristiano Ronaldo leaving the club for Real Madrid in 2009, Rooney became the poster boy for United, leading many to idolise him and view him at that time as one of the best in the world, quite often mentioned in this era in the same breath as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, it was not long until controversy started to surround the striker, with rumours of him wanting to leave the club in 2010 being confirmed by Sir Alex Ferguson, quickly followed by a statement from Rooney’s team, stating the reasons behind his intended exit were not monetary but instead due to a perceived lack of ambition by the club to want to win trophies, as reported by The Guardian

Nevertheless, even after the striker’s U-turn in signing a five-year contract, the fact he wanted to force an exit out of their club stayed with United fans and is a key reason why he is disrespected when it comes to his legend status. 

It is not Wayne Rooney’s status of legend that is up for debate, but more so where he sits in the pantheon of other United legends in which he, compared to the others, may engender less respect. 

For a player who is currently United and England’s top goal scorer, lifted every trophy possible for United, and stayed with the club during one of its most turbulent periods in the post-Ferguson era as club captain, it is safe to say he quite often does not receive the respect a player who has achieved so much for one club usually generates, not just from United fans, but Football fans as a collective.

Perhaps the reason behind this is due to the controversy of 2010 and his public disagreement with Sir Alex Ferguson, or maybe because he was a product of Everton’s academy and not United’s unlike other legends such as Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, and David Beckham. 

However, it must be noted that when Rooney announced his departure from United in 2017, both the club and its fans showed a huge amount of love for the striker, as was reported by The Mirror. This public outpouring shows that overtime, the wounds of the past had healed over, and United fans had come adore Rooney, most likely due to the fact that he stuck with the club during the tenures of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal and gave his all for the club during this time.  

Football fans, however, seemingly still do not appreciate Rooney for the player he was, talk of never fulfilling his potential often the key point of debate when his name is mentioned alongside all time footballing greats. 

Manchester Evening News stated that after his performance in Euro 2004; ‘it would not be an exaggeration to say Rooney looked like he could go on to become only the fifth Englishman to win the Ballon d’Or’, proving that even after all he has achieved in the game, he is still spoken about in terms of what he has not achieved, such as winning a Ballon d’Or. 

Perhaps Wayne Rooney will always be the most misunderstood legend that United has due to his lack of personal accolades and perceived wasted potential, or maybe history will be kind to the striker, and as time goes on, fans of football will come realise just how special a player he was in his career. 

Those few United fans who still do not appreciate him, will come to realise just how lucky United were to have a selfless player like Rooney at their club in his prime. Perhaps Premier League legend Thierry Henry summarised the striker best when he stated‘You will only truly appreciate Rooney when he has retired.’

Written by Jennifer McCord

Ratings: Wan-Bissaka and Martial did well; Lindelof was poor in Everton draw

Manchester United drew 1-1 with Everton in the Premier League at Old Trafford. Anthony Martial opened the scoring in the 43rd minute of the match, scoring his first goal for the club this season, assisted by Bruno Fernandes. United should have perhaps scored more than one goal in the first half, seeking more in the second half. Andros Townsend equalised for the Toffees, after Fred lost the ball with Abdoulaye Doucoure equalising before Yerry Mina scored again five minutes from time, which was ruled offside. United needed to win this match and will go into the international break frustrated.

United started the match brightly, on the attack seeking an early goal from the game. Anthony Martial had a good chance on goal with a header, but from a few yards away from the goal, he was off target and showed his frustration. United had a few more credible attacking attempts but still did not have an early goal in the bag. Everton had some good attacking play, but were cut down quickly. In the 21st minute of the match, Edinson Cavani had a good effort on goal, but he was not able to open the scoring for United. This Everton side were holding back the onslaught so far, but would they be able to keep doing that throughout the match?

United seemed to carve out many chances going forward in this match, but were not getting anywhere. Everton had a few chances, but seemed to be out of luck in getting a goal against United. Mason Greenwood was booked for a foul in the 34th minute of the match, which seemed a bit harsh. United were still seeking to get the opener with some good attacking and more importantly, patient play. In the 43rd United took the lead in the match with Anthony Martial getting his first goal of the season, assisted by Bruno Fernandes after a good period of attacking play. United deserved that and Everton now needed to worry about which way it will go.

United continued to pressure Everton towards the end of the half, after taking the lead. It was a positive performance for the Red Devils and they had played better than they have recently, which is something to be proud of. Granted, the chances had been poor at times in this match and Everton were given too much space and respect. United ended the half with 67.7% possession, five shots on goal, of which four were on target but needed to learn from the half, which will be no easy run in the second half. Solskjaer need to get his substitutions right again, ensuring that United continue to dominate in the right areas, scoring more goals.

There were no changes at the start of the second half for either team. United seemed to continue where they left off, attacking Everton. Jadon Sancho started warming up soon after kick off in the second half as Martial, the scorer of the goal, seemed to be carrying a knock. Cristiano Ronaldo was also readying himself to come on. The substitution was made in the 57th minute of the match with Sancho replacing Martial and Ronaldo replacing Edinson Cavani. United had a great chance around the hour mark with Ronaldo and Sancho both involved but Scott McTominay, who received the ball last, could not get a shot on goal.

United’s lead did not last. United made an error at the edge of the Everton box with the Toffees receiving the ball and running up the pitch. Demarai Gray won the ball, passed to Abdoulaye Doucoure who then played the ball into Andros Townsend, who beat David De Gea for the first time in this match. It was a shocking goal to concede, from a poor loss of the ball. United will need to start again and find a way to win this match. Everton, though, seemed to be the resurgent side. Solskjaer made his third substitution with Paul Pogba replacing Fred in the 70th minute of the match. It seemed that United will be going for all out attack, which is now needed.

Everton got the ball into the back of the net once again in the 85th minute with Yerry Mina scoring the goal. He celebrated. The Everton fans celebrated and if was ruled as offside, apparently being close to call, despite him being a good bit of distance offside. The goal was not given. United seemed to be resurgent in seeking a response but Everton seemed to be doing all they could to defend their point, which shows the level they have become as a club under Rafael Benitez. United were unable to get a winner in this game, settling for a point, which is a shame as this Everton side did not really deserve anything.

United will now have a break, at least the players coming back from injury and the ones not picked for their countries during the international break will. They will be back in Premier League action in a fortnight’s time on Saturday 16 October when they travel to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester. Four days later, they will be back in UEFA Champions League action against Atalanta at Old Trafford before welcoming Liverpool to the Theatre of Dreams four days after that – ending October away to Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League. This is going to be a big month for United and Solskjaer. A month that will need to result in some good wins.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Made a good save to deny Gray when the score was level in the first half. Was unable to stop Townsend's effort as it caught United out. Conceded again, but it was offside. Not a great game for United but De Gea did well. United need more clean sheets now though.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Played well in the attacking areas, crossing the ball well for Martial. In the mix defensively too, blocking a shot on the line. It is good to see him back after Dalot's horror show. This was his best performance for a while.

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19 Raphael Varane

Did well considering he had to make up for Lindelof again. Will be looking forward to seeking Maguire back from injury. Dealt with Everton's counter-attacking and never looked out of place.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Seemed to be scared of Everton and lost confidence whenever they attacked. Misjudged a lot in this match which will leave him behind others soon with Bailly and Jones seeking to get involvement.

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23 Luke Shaw

Glad to see I'm back, although Telles is a good option too. Played an attacking game, blocked a chance and generally defended well for United.

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39 Scott McTominay

Showed aggression against Gray and energy in the match. Got forward a few times and should have perhaps had a goal for himself.

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17 Fred

Offered some good point between the defence and the attack and could have had an equaliser. Lost the ball which resulted in Everton equalising. Was replaced by Pogba in the 70th minute of the match.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Seemed to be up for the challenge against Everton. Got a lot of involvement but did not really get a credible chance on goal. Booked in the first half and perhaps should have been substituted - maybe if Martial was not carrying a knock.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Got another assist for Martial's goal but seemed off the boil during the match. This break will give him something else to concentrate on but he will need to return rejuvenated.

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9 Anthony Martial

Scored his first goal of the season, which came at the right time for United. It will have been a major confidence booster for him and be celebrated in style. He seemed to have a knock early in the second half and was replaced in the 57th minute by Sancho.

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21 Edinson Cavani

Led the line well for United against Everton. Put in an immense amount of work in the first half, seeking to create space for his teammates and himself. Was replaced by Ronaldo in the 57th minute of the match, giving him a run out, also keeping him fresh.

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Substitutes

25 Jadon Sancho

Replaced Martial 57'. Performed excellently for United and looked to be the spark that United needed. Created chances but could not get the goal he has been chasing.

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7 Cristiano Ronaldo

Replaced Cavani 57'. The crowd were given extra energy with his introduction but it was a match that he was not going to delivery, which is perhaps why he did not start.

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6 Paul Pogba

Replaced Fred 70'. Came on to balance the attack and did just that. Had a few chances but it just did not work out for him or United.

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Goals: Anthony Martial 43′; Andros Townsend 65′

Assists: Bruno Fernandes 43′; Abdoulaye Doucoure 65′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Lindelof, Shaw; McTominay, Fred (Pogba 70′); Greenwood, Fernandes, Martial (Sancho 57′); Cavani (Ronaldo 57′)

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly, Telles; Lingard, Matic, Van de Beek

Bookings: Mason Greenwood 34′; Abdoulaye Doucoure 76′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Cavani, Greenwood and Martial lead the attack against Everton; Ronaldo, Pogba, Sancho and Lingard on the bench

Manchester United return to Premier League action this afternoon 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:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Lindelof, Shaw;

McTominay, Fred;

Greenwood, Fernandes, Martial;

Cavani

Substitutes:

Henderson; Bailly, Telles; Pogba, Lingard, Matic, Van de Beek; Ronaldo, Sancho

Everton:

Pickford;

Godfrey, Mina, Keane, Digne;

Townsend, Doucoure, Allan, Gordon;

Gray;

Rondon

Substitutes:

Begovic, Lonergan; Kenny, Holgate, Branthwaitel Gbamin, Davies, Whitaker; Dobbin

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.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: A 4-3-3 formation could change everything for Manchester United; Ronaldo, Cavani and Sancho to lead the attack?

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.

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.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Everton in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea is still the name to fill the void in the goal for Manchester United. He performed to the best of his abilities against Villarreal, despite conceding a goal eight minutes into the second half of the match. As has been seen each time he has played this season, his confidence is growing each time and he is able to find the best of his abilities once more, making many saves to keep United pushing in matches. Granted, that is not happening all over the pitch as United have a relatively weak midfield which does not control matches as they should. It does not help that Solskjaer is not using the stronger members of the team regularly.

De Gea needs to help solve the problem in defence, which is a weakness in the squad, even with the signing of Raphael Varane in the summer. When he is partnered with Harry Maguire, there is some confidence but Victor Lindelof was a massive weak link against the Spanish team. I believe that with De Gea being more vocal in the team, he could command the defence and bring the best out of them moving forward. I think Solskjaer could show some bravery by recognising the weaknesses in the squad and addressing them. There are may problems in this squad which need to be addressed if United are to challenge for anything this season.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw

The defence is just one of the areas that faces some problems this season. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will probably be viewed as a great signing after the performance of Diogo Dalot against Villarreal on Wednesday evening, which did not cover the Portuguese right-back in glory. United will hope they can find a buyer for the player in either January or next summer so they can strengthen the position. Dalot can be good at times and will probably earn more chances, but he needs to seek significant improvement. Luke Shaw’s absence was missed following his injury but Alex Telles scored the equaliser, despite a poor performance, which is a bonus.

Having Shaw back in the team this weekend, providing he is fit to do so, will be a major bonus. Seeing United attack with prose from the left will be good to see. This 4-3-3 formation sees Cristiano Ronaldo playing on the left-wing, so Shaw’s pace and energy will be important. Perhaps if Shaw misses out and Telles is unable to play, Alvaro Fernandez could be given a shot in this position? Raphael Varane will keep his place against Everton – being the best central defender against Villarreal but his partner, Maguire will be out of action again and perhaps Lindelof should be on the bench with Eric Bailly given a shot to earn his place in the team this season?

Midfield: Donny van de Beek, Nemanja Matic, Bruno Fernandes

The weakest area on the pitch this season is the midfield. The reason for this is having just one experienced defensive midfield; Nemanja Matic, who cannot play week in and week out throughout the season. Without him on the pitch means that we will see Fred and Scott McTominay in the pivot positions for much of the season with McTominay shining last season but Fred still on the wane. Solskjaer needs to find a way to absolve this. Donny van de Beek is hardly playing any matches, despite having more than 400 minutes under his belt this season and considering his experience, it is pointless him being on the bench.

Against Everton, United need to find a way to dominate the midfield and that would be having three midfielders in a 4-3-3 formation would go a long way to doing that. Nemanja Matic played a small role in Wednesday’s match and with the international break coming up, there is no reason why he could not start Saturday’s match. Donny van de Beek will be fit to play and will be itching to start this match given that he was frustrated to no play a part against Villarreal. Bruno Fernandes should also start and with the luxury of having Paul Pogba on the bench, he could be replaced by the Frenchman in the second half, giving him a rest too.

Forwards: Jadon Sancho, Edinson Cavani, Cristiano Ronaldo

United have a wealth of attacking talent at their disposal this season and it needs to be used in a way that will help to obliterate the opposition and allow players to play to their strengths, whilst also being rotated with other players, which will need to happen when both Marcus Rashford and Amad Diallo are both fit and ready to play a part this season. Against Everton, it is important that United get three points in the bag and keep the pressure on the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City, who will be the clubs chasing the Premier League title this season – there are other clubs seeking to keep up now but that will changes as the season grows older.

Jadon Sancho deserves to start this match, playing in his favoured right-wing position. He did well at times against Villarreal and will need to consistently get minutes under his belt if he is to find his feet at the club. When he gets his first goal or assist, he will be ready to keep them coming. Edinson Cavani should start too as he has so much to give and has been bright when coming off the bench after he recovered from his injury from the last international break. Cristiano Ronaldo have five goals so far this season and should also start, possible out on the left, which is a position he could still cut in from, causing damage in the box and hopefully scoring.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Victor Lindelof, Alex Telles; Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Fred, Scott McTominay; Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood

United can name nine substitutes in the Premier League, using three of them. Solskjaer was able to use five in the Champions League, which gave some players a run out, but not the ones that should have played – Van de Beek – which was a shame. Dean Henderson will remain on the bench but he will be seeking more football, that might perhaps come after the international break in the Champions League against Atalanta and he might not be happy with just that, seeking to put more pressure on De Gea, as he did last season. In defence, Victor Lindelof and Alex Telles could be available, despite the latter coming off injured against Villarreal.

In midfield, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Fred and Scott McTominay could bother to be called upon with Solskjaer loving the McFred pivot, which possible means they will start the match and the Van de Beek problem will rumble on through the international break and cause even more damage at the club. The Dutchman should be getting regular minutes in this squad as he could give so much for United. In attack, Anthony Martial will keep his place on the bench, as that is what he deserves. When his performances change, he will be trusted more but he needs to start making an impact. Mason Greenwood will be the other forward – and likely to get minutes.

Written by John Walker

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

Ratings: Greenwood, Maguire, Shaw, Matic, Fernandes and Dalot all did well in 4-0 victory over Everton

Manchester United beat Everton 4-0 in the final pre-season match of the summer. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side ran riot at Old Trafford with three goals in the opening 30 minutes of the match. Mason Greenwood opened the scoring, pouncing on a defensive error in the eighth minute of the match. Harry Maguire headed United into a 2-0 lead in the 15th minute after a Luke Shaw corner. It was Bruno Fernandes that stole the headlines though wit a stunning free-kick from 25-yards which beat Jordan Pickford. Diogo Dalot also scored a header in added time after Fred played the ball into the box. It was a positive match for United and will have helped them get ready for the Premier League season starting next week.

United started well against Everton in their final pre-season match of the summer, the second to be played at the Theatre of Dreams. Within eight minutes, Mason Greenwood had capitalised on a defensive error to score his first pre-season goal, which was great to see. United continued to press this Everton side, who looked dejected and out of sorts. The negative fans could well be hiding later today. United doubled their lead from a set-piece with Luke Shaw taking the corner and Harry Maguire heading into the back of the net. And by the half hour mark of the match, Bruno Fernandes took a free-kick, hitting the back of the net from distance to send a message that United were ready to take on their rivals ahead of the new Premier League season.

Harry Maguire scores Manchester United’s second goal against Everton.

United continued to play impressively for the remainder of the first half, having a few more chances on goal. At the start of the second hale, Solskjaer made a triple substitution with Juan Mata, Paul Pogba and Fred replacing Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek and Nemanja Matic. United were still playing a good attacking game against the Premier League side, who themselves had a chance to get a goal back, hitting the crossbar through Andros Townsend. Solskjaer then made another four substitutions in the 60th and 61st minutes with Diogo Dalot, Axel Tuanzebe, Brandon Williams and Andreas Pereira replaced Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes. United possibly should have scored their fourth goal of the game soo after.

With Solskjaer seeking to give players minutes on the pitch, he made another two changes in the 68th and 69th minutes of the match with Scott McTominay and James Garner replacing Daniel James and Harry Maguire. The match seemed to be dead and buried for Everton though, who made many changes of their own but still looked dejected and out of sorts. It was a good game for Solskjaer’s side ahead of their Premier League opener against Leeds United in a week’s time. United were still creating the chances, despite the number of changes made which will give Solskjaer the vision to see which players will make his side against Leeds at Old Trafford next week. Everton will have a lot of work to do ahead of their season starting.

Bruno Fernandes celebrates after scoring a free-kick against Everton, putting Manchester United 3-0 up.

As the game was coming to a close, United were pushing Everton back into their own half once more, which must have been terrible for the as nothing much had changed since the start of the match. United seemed to be seeking a fourth goal, which had eluded them since Fernandes scored the third of the match. In added time, Diogo Dalot headed from range past Asmir Begovic from a Fred assist, which sealed a 4-0 victory for United. What a result in the final pre-season match where the majority of the first team players were back in action. Perhaps now the moaning contingent of negative United supporters will be happy, but you just know that they all be finding minuscule things to turn into massive problems, because they are never happy and live sad lives.

United will now have a week’s training ahead of the first Premier League match of the season against Leeds United at the Theatre of Dreams. United will need to do a lot better than they did last season, when they were defeated by Crystal Palace then stuttered in the league before they started to find some form. This pre-season has not been the best with the Preston North End match being cancelled last weekend and with United losing 4-2 to Queens Park Rangers, drawing 2-2 with Brentford but Beating Derby County 2-1 in the opening match f the pre-season campaign. Solskjaer will be pleased with his squad, which was toughly for the first three matches. We are still to see Jadon Sancho and Rafael Varane play for the club yet, which will be worth the wait.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Made a fair few saves in the match but I still worry about his level of performance as it has not been great for more than the last season. Still, this is a clean slate and both Henderson and Heaton will lie in wait. Kept a clean sheet on his return to action this season.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Put in a shift at right-back for over an hour. You can see by Trippier is on Solskjaer's wish list as he is a more attacking fullback but Wan-Bissaka does his defensive work well the majority of the time. Replaced by Dalot in the 61st minute.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Did well in his first pre-season outing for United. I would expect to see him and Maguire as the centre backs against Leeds next week. If Calvert-Lewin had played, it could have been different. Replaced by Tuanzebe in the 60th minute.

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5 Harry Maguire

Commanded the defence, as he has done since he signed. Scored a great header to put United 2-0 up. Great to see him back. Replaced by Garner in the 69th minute.

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23 Luke Shaw

The left-back continued his great from from last season and Euro 2020. An attacking threat from the left. Got an assist for United's second goal, taking the corner which met Maguire's head. Replaced by Williams in the 60th minute.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Was probably the standout player of the first half. He has played many minutes in pre-season so far. If he was younger, United would be ready for the new season. Replaced by Fred in the 46th minute.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Played a good game in midfield, which will have been good for the Dutchman. He should get more minutes this season and have a much better season. Replaced by Pogba in the 46th minute.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Opened the scoring, taking advantage of a defensive error to get his first goal of the pre-season campaign. Played the central role in the second half, which would give him more of a chance to start against Leeds. 90 important minutes in his legs.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Back to his best in his first appearance for the club this summer. Scored a stunning free-kick from 25-yards to put United 3-0 up against Everton. Replaced by Pereira in the 60th minute.

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Ratings: Greenwood, Maguire, Shaw, Matic, Fernandes and Dalot all did well in 4-0 victory over Everton

More of the same from the Welshman. His desire and determination are there to be seen but his end product is poor. This seems to be the case with him. He needs to change this otherwise things will change quickly for the club and he will be out on his ear. He was better in the second half and received many fouls. Replaced by McTominay in the 68th minute.

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9 Anthony Martial

He seemed rusty but put some effort into his performance. He could not get the better of Keane and Godfrey, which may have been better if he had more minutes in l=his legs this summer. Replaced by Mata in the 46th minute.

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Substitutes

6 Paul Pogba

Replaced Van de Beek 46'. Got some important minutes into his legs and did what he needed to do at times. Would like to see more this world class Pogba that his stans keep talking about. I find him inconsistent and that needs to change.

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17 Fred

Replaced Matic 46'. Not sure he is the defensive midfielder that United need but he does some good things on the pitch at times. Got an assist for Dalot's goal, which was good to see.

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8 Juan Mata

Replaced Martial 46'. Did some good things on the pitch against Everton. His passing was good most of the time and he has something to offer, even if it is late in matches.

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20 Diogo Dalot

Replaced Wan-Bissaka 61'. Played a good role after coming on. Helped to stop Everton from getting a goal and scored a great goal of his own in added time.

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15 Andreas Pereira

Replaced Fernandes 60'. He played his part in the match but pre-season Pirlo did not show up in this match.

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33 Brandon Williams

Replaced Shaw 60'. Townsend tested him at times and he fouled Iwobi, who fell badly. I feel he needs to stop with these fouls so he can better his game. A loan spell would do him well.

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38 Axel Tuanzebe

Replaced Lindelof 60'. Did well alongside McTominay in defence. Will probably be heading out on loan this week.

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39 Scott McTominay

Replaced James 68' Came on as a makeshift centre-back and did well, despite it not being his favoured position.

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37 James Garner

Replaced Maguire 69'. Got 21 minutes on the pitch ahead of what will be an important season for him, whether he goes on loan or stays at United.

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Goals: Mason Greenwood 8’, Harry Maguire 15’, Bruno Fernandes 29′, Diogo Dalot 90+2′

Assists: Luke Shaw 15’, Fred 90+2′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka (Dalot 61′), Lindelof (Tuanzebe 60′), Maguire (Garner 69′), Shaw (Williams 60′); Matic (Fred 46′), Van de Beek (Pogba 46′); Greenwood, Fernandes (Pereira 60′), James (McTominay 68′); Martial (Mata 46′)

Substitutes Not Used: Grant, Heaton

Bookings: Seamus Coleman 49′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Martial, Greenwood, Fernandes and James lead the attack against Everton

Manchester United welcome Everton to Old Trafford this afternoon as they prepare to end their pre-season campaign ahead of the new Premier League season commencing next weekend. United were supposed to face Preston North End last weekend but the fixture was cancelled because of a coronavirus scare which resulted in no first team players testing positive and the pre-season preparations continuing. United have spent the first half of the week at St Andrews in Scotland on their second training camp of the summer, which saw many first team players return to the club after their summer holidays. David De Gea, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Martial have all returned to training.

This pre-season campaign may not have been the best with Euro 2020 and Copa American, not to mention the Olympics all playing a part this summer but the players that played more than 60 matches last season will have had a good rest ahead of the new season commencing, which cannot be said for last summer with little rest between one season ending and a new season starting. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will see his team boosted by Jadon Sancho, who has not been pictured in training yet and Raphael Varane, whose signing has not yet been completed by the Old Trafford club. There is still hope that United will make more additions to the squad this summer, but that will result in clearing some players out of the club first, which may or may not be possible.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Matic, Van de Beek;

Greenwood, Fernandes, James;

Martial

Substitutes:

Grant, Heaton; Dalot, Williams, Tuanzebe; Pogba, Mata, Pereira, Fred, Garner, McTominay

Everton:

Pickford;

Coleman, Keane, Godfrey, Digne;

Allan, Doucoure;

Iwobi, Rodriguez, Townsend;

Gray

Substitutes:

Begovic, Tyrer; Kenny, Holgate, Mina, Nkounkou; Delph, Davies; Gordon, Broadhead, Dobbin

United and Everton have met a total of 206 times competitively since the formation of both clubs. United have won 90 times, drawn 46 times with Everton winning 70 times. In the last five meetings between both clubs, United are undefeated, winning twice and drawing three times. The last defeat to Everton was on the 21 April 2019 with the Toffees winning 4-0 with goals from Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lucas Digne and Theo Walcott. Prior to that match, United were unbeaten against Everton in the eight matches before, winning six and drawing twice. Rafael Benitez is now in the Everton hot seat and will be seeking to change the clubs fortunes after finishing tenth in the Premier League last season.

United and Everton have a long history with players featuring for both teams over the years. Currently, the only player at Everton to have played for United is Michael Keane. The 28-year-old started his footballing life at United as part of the clubs academy, alongside his brother, Will Keane. He was sold to Burnley in January 2015 before he was sold on to Everton in the summer of 2017. One of the beat known transfers from Everton to United was Wayne Rooney, who joined the Old Trafford club as a teenager in the summer of 2004. United have also signed Marouane Fellaini and Romelu Lukaku, amongst others from Everton in the not too distant past. Mark Hughes, Andrei Kanchelskis, Phil Neville, Jesper Blomqvist and Tim Howard have played for both clubs.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: Elanga, Martial, Fernandes and Greenwood to start against Everton?

Manchester United welcome Everton to Old Trafford on Saturday as they prepare to end their pre-season campaign ahead of the new Premier League season commencing next weekend. United were supposed to face Preston North End last weekend but the fixture was cancelled because of a coronavirus scare which resulted in no first team players testing positive and the pre-season preparations continuing. United have spent the first half of the week at St Andrews in Scotland on their second training camp of the summer, which saw many first team players return to the club after their summer holidays. David De Gea, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Martial have all returned to training.

This pre-season campaign may not have been the best with Euro 2020 and Copa American, not to mention the Olympics all playing a part this summer but the players that played more than 60 matches last season will have had a good rest ahead of the new season commencing, which cannot be said for last summer with little rest between one season ending and a new season starting. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will see his team boosted by Jadon Sancho, who has not been pictured in training yet and Raphael Varane, whose signing has not yet been completed by the Old Trafford club. There is still hope that United will make more additions to the squad this summer, but that will result in clearing some players out of the club first, which may or may not be possible.

Previous meetings with Everton and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Everton have met a total of 206 times competitively since the formation of both clubs. United have won 90 times, drawn 46 times with Everton winning 70 times. In the last five meetings between both clubs, United are undefeated, winning twice and drawing three times. The last defeat to Everton was on the 21 April 2019 with the Toffees winning 4-0 with goals from Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lucas Digne and Theo Walcott. Prior to that match, United were unbeaten against Everton in the eight matches before, winning six and drawing twice. Rafael Benitez is now in the Everton hot seat and will be seeking to change the clubs fortunes after finishing tenth in the Premier League last season.

United and Everton have a long history with players featuring for both teams over the years. Currently, the only player at Everton to have played for United is Michael Keane. The 28-year-old started his footballing life at United as part of the clubs academy, alongside his brother, Will Keane. He was sold to Burnley in January 2015 before he was sold on to Everton in the summer of 2017. One of the beat known transfers from Everton to United was Wayne Rooney, who joined the Old Trafford club as a teenager in the summer of 2004. United have also signed Marouane Fellaini and Romelu Lukaku, amongst others from Everton in the not too distant past. Mark Hughes, Andrei Kanchelskis, Phil Neville, Jesper Blomqvist and Tim Howard have played for both clubs.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Everton in their pre-season friendly at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: Tom Heaton

Tom Heaton will be more match fit than David De Gea ahead of this match with the Spaniard not featuring for Spain at Euro 2020 and last playing for United on the 26 May in the Europa League final, losing on penalties to Villarreal with De Gea failing to save a penalty and missing his. Heaton has played in all three friendlies, playing 90 minutes against Brentford a week and a half ago. He has done well, showing his ability against both Derby County, the only match United have won this summer, and Queens Park Rangers, despite the 4-2 defeat. He even showed good signs against Brentford in the only match to be played at Old Trafford so far this summer, ahead of the Everton clash. It is possible that the former academy goalkeeper could start against Leeds United.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United have gone through the summer with a weakened defence with the trio of Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw on an extended break after being involved in Euro 2020, with England reaching the final but losing to Italy on penalties. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will probably start at right-back again, which is a positive as he has done well this summer, especially with his assist against Brentford. Lindelof and Maguire could partner in the centre of the defence, with them giving 45 or even 60 minutes to give them a chance of featuring against Leeds, which might be a must depending on when Rafael Varane’s deal gets completed. Luke Shaw should start at left-back, if he is fit and able to, as he was a stand out player last season and at Euro 2020.

Midfield: Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba

United have problems with the midfield. Nemanja Matic is the only experienced defensive midfielder at the club which is a major worry as Fred and Scott McTominay are not the answer in the pivot role, unless the formation will be changed once Rafael Varane has settled into the squad? United need another player to fill the void as Matic cannot play as often as he once used to. He has played in pre-season matches this summer and has done well. He could perhaps play alongside Paul Pogba in this match with the Frenchman able to play for 45 or even 60 minutes, getting him ready for the new season, unless his head is elsewhere, which may no longer be the case with the news about Lionel Messi and Paris Saint-Germain.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial

Mason Greenwood is the only player in this trio that has been involved in all three pre-season matches that have been played this summer. He has played in the wide positions and as the main striker in the team and is yet to be involved in a goal this summer, which is a minor worry. Bruno Fernandes has not played yet, returning to training last week and being involved in the training group in Scotland earlier this week. I feel that he could give 45 or even 60 minutes in this match, which would be a big help ahead of the Leeds match next weekend. Anthony Martial has not played this summer but has recovered from injury. This season could be a good one for the Frenchman. It will be a make or break season for him. He needs to provide what United need, not hide away.

Forwards: Anthony Elanga

Anthony Elanga has done well so far this summer, despite a recent injury, continuing from the last Premier League match of the season when he scored his first senior goal for the club. Solskjaer seems to have a dilemma to sort out with the teenager, who has great pace, great ability and seems to fit into the first team this time. This has happened before with Marcus Rashford, who is out of action until at least October and Mason Greenwood. Could Elanga be the next academy graduate to grace the first team? Right now, he is doing everything that he needs to do in order to develop, which is what everyone wants to see. I believe that he can offer something to United this season, either starting the low key matches or coming off the bench.

Substitutes: David De Gea, Lee Grant, Matej Kovar; Phil Jones, Diogo Dalot, Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe; Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Daniel James, Donny Van de Beek, James Garner, Scott McTominay

It was anticipated that Solskjaer would have had Edinson Cavani, Jadon Sancho and Rafael Varane for this match but both Cavani and Sancho have not yet returned to training and Varane has not yet completed his move to United. It is likely that the squad that trained in Scotland earlier this week will be the squad to face Everton, perhaps with some surprises – perhaps not. David De Gea, Lee Grant and Matej Kovar could be available in goal. Phil Jones, Diogo Dalot, Brandon Williams and Axel Tuanzebe could be available in defence. In midfield, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Daniel James, Donny van de Beek, James Garner and Scott McTominay could be available. There might not be any experienced attacking players on the bench.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Solskjaer to test his United first team against Everton to get them ready?

Manchester United -v- Everton

Pre-Season 2021/22

Old Trafford, Manchester

Saturday 7 August 2021, KO 12:45 BST

Manchester United welcome Everton to Old Trafford on Saturday as they prepare to end their pre-season campaign ahead of the new Premier League season commencing next weekend. United were supposed to face Preston North End last weekend but the fixture was cancelled because of a coronavirus scare which resulted in no first team players testing positive and the pre-season preparations continuing. United have spent the first half of the week at St Andrews in Scotland on their second training camp of the summer, which saw many first team players return to the club after their summer holidays. David De Gea, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Martial have all returned to training.

This pre-season campaign may not have been the best with Euro 2020 and Copa American, not to mention the Olympics all playing a part this summer but the players that played more than 60 matches last season will have had a good rest ahead of the new season commencing, which cannot be said for last summer with little rest between one season ending and a new season starting. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will see his team boosted by Jadon Sancho, who has not been pictured in training yet and Raphael Varane, whose signing has not yet been completed by the Old Trafford club. There is still hope that United will make more additions to the squad this summer, but that will result in clearing some players out of the club first, which may or may not be possible.

United’s first team is starting to come back together after the summer break.

Solskjaer has been boosted by the return to training of David De Gea, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Anthony Martial, who have been missing this summer because of Euro 2020 and in Martial’s sake, his return from the injury that ended his season prematurely last season. Edinson Cavani is still yet to return to the squad for training, which should happen before Saturday’s match, if it has not happened already. United will be back to full strength before a ball is kicked in the Premier League, which is a good thing after a turbulent pre-season campaign so far. United have won one match, against Derby County, were defeated by Queens Park Rangers and draw with Brentford.

Obviously, fitness is a major issue for United ahead of the opening Premier League clash with Leeds United a week on Saturday, which will be a big match for United. The entire squad has not really featured together this summer, and will get a chance to do that on Saturday, providing there is a suitable level of fitness ahead of the match. It is hoped that Jadon Sancho will feature for the first time with United against Everton, who will be seeking to end their pre-season campaign with a victory this summer. It will be good to see the supporters back inside Old Trafford once again, after the clash with Brentford last week with a bid to end what was last season with matches being played in empty stadiums, which was a terrible experience most of the time.

Previous meetings with Everton and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Everton have met a total of 206 times competitively since the formation of both clubs. United have won 90 times, drawn 46 times with Everton winning 70 times. In the last five meetings between both clubs, United are undefeated, winning twice and drawing three times. The last defeat to Everton was on the 21 April 2019 with the Toffees winning 4-0 with goals from Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lucas Digne and Theo Walcott. Prior to that match, United were unbeaten against Everton in the eight matches before, winning six and drawing twice. Rafael Benitez is now in the Everton hot seat and will be seeking to change the clubs fortunes after finishing tenth in the Premier League last season.

United and Everton have a long history with players featuring for both teams over the years. Currently, the only player at Everton to have played for United is Michael Keane. The 28-year-old started his footballing life at United as part of the clubs academy, alongside his brother, Will Keane. He was sold to Burnley in January 2015 before he was sold on to Everton in the summer of 2017. One of the beat known transfers from Everton to United was Wayne Rooney, who joined the Old Trafford club as a teenager in the summer of 2004. United have also signed Marouane Fellaini and Romelu Lukaku, amongst others from Everton in the not too distant past. Mark Hughes, Andrei Kanchelskis, Phil Neville, Jesper Blomqvist and Tim Howard have played for both clubs.

Predicted Starting XI: Tom Heaton to start in goal; Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw to start in defence; Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes to start in midfield with the latter playing in the number ten role; Anthony Elanga to lead the line against Everton?

Solskjaer has seen the likes of Tahith Chong, Nathan Bishop, Will Fish, D’Shon Bernard and Facundo Pellistri leave the club on loan since the pre-season campaign started and the likes of Teden Mengi, Hannibal Mejbri and Shola Shoretire have not been involved in the training camp at St Andrews in Scotland for the first few days of this week, so his squad will look more of a first team squad. It would be wise to start many of the major players in the squad, at least for the first 45 minutes of the match, which will give many of them chances to start against Leeds United next weekend as the Premier League starts for the 2021/22 season, which is much-awaited. United will be seeking to change the way they started last season, which cost them big time.

Tom Heaton should start in goal again, with David De Gea getting 30 or 45 minutes in the second half of the match to see if he can be in contention to feature against Leeds. In defence, Aaron Wan-Bissaka will probably play much of the match, featuring in pre-season so far with Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw playing their first minutes of the summer. Nemanja Matic could start in midfield with Paul Pogba, which might work well. Mason Greenwood could start on the right with Bruno Fernandes in the middle and Anthony Martial returning from injury on the left. Anthony Elanga should start as the main striker in the match as his pace and ability will cause a few problems. The bench might be void os many attacking players, but will be good enough.

Match Prediction: Winning is not the point of this match with fitness the main importance. But United will be seeking to get a good result at Old Trafford ahead of the Leeds United match a week later.

Solskjaer has stated that he wants to start this season such different to last season. The coronavirus pandemic effectively made it difficult to continue last season with such a short break between the UEFA Europa League finishing and the new Premier League season starting. United did not do well at the start of last season, which effectively ended their title chances, despite looking good around the Christmas period and seemingly mounting a title challenge, which seemed to end by the start of 2021. This season, Solskjaer has a better team with the arrival of Jadon Sancho and Rafael Varane, who will both improve the squad ahead of what will be an important season for both Solskjaer and United.

Everton have played two pre-season matches so far this summer with the clash with United being their third. United will be seeking to win at Old Trafford, seeing as they failed to find the winner against Brentford a week and a half ago. It would be good to see United get a win a week before the Leeds match which will give some positivity over the coming week to get ready for the 2021/22 season, which is going to be a challenge with the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea all seeking to run the race for the Premier League title and United will need to be amongst the fight for the trophy. Many will be looking forward to seeing fans in their numbers at the Theatre of Dreams for this match, which could help change things this season.

Manchester United 2-1 Everton

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Cavani, Fernandes and McTominay score in 3-3 Everton draw; defence needs to improve, De Gea’s mistakes will be costly

Manchester United drew 3-3 with Everton at Old Trafford in the Premier League. It was a game of two halves for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side. Edinson Cavani put United ahead in the 24th minute of the match with Bruno Fernandes doubling the lead with a sublime goal in the 45th minute. Everton got back into the game four minutes into the second half with Abdoulaye Doucoure getting a goal but three minutes later James Rodriguez had levelled United’s early lead. Scott McTominay scored what seemed to be a winner for United in the 70th minute of the match but in the last minute of added time, Dominic Calvert-Lewin levelled the score for Everton with David De Gea making two costly errors; Doucoure’s goal and Calvert-Lewin’s goal.

United started on the front foot against the Toffees. There was some early chances for United but they gained nothing from them. It was in the 24th minute of the match when United took the lead. Edinson Cavani was the goalscorer with the ball coming off his head once again – a favourite trait of his against Everton this season. Marcus Rashford delivered the ball towards the middle which took former United academy player Michael Keane out of his position. Cavani was waiting behind the defender and he headed his effort into the back of the net – he was never going to miss from there. It was another cracking goal for the Uruguayan who has become the number one striker at the club this season.

United were at that stage of the game the better team with Everton seemingly out of the fixture at 1-0 down. In the 45th minute of the match, United looked to be heading into the break with a two-goal cushion. Bruno Fernandes found space 25-yards from goal and instead of playing in Aaron Wan-Bissaka, he decided to send a curling effort towards the top corner of the goal, hitting his target and scoring his 18th goal of the season. Robin Olsen was at full stretch to try to deny the Portuguese midfielder from scoring but he could only watch the ball fly past him and into the top corner. It was a good goal for the player and a good scoreline for United at the time. Perhaps Everton would show up in the second half of the match?

At the end of the first half, Dominic Calvert-Lewin had a bog chance in added time with Everton sending the ball over the top with Wan-Bissaka switched off from the attack, playing the forward onside. He got one-on-one with David De Gea but saw his effort reach the wrong side of the post. That was a big miss for the Toffees. There were no changes at the start of the second half. United saw another effort on goal saved by Olsen. Fernandes was wiped out by Tom Davies but he managed to find Cavani in some space. He then reversed the ball to Luke Shaw who was 18-yards out from the goal. He hit his strike, which was a good one and forced a fully stretched Olsen to palm his effort away from danger. That could have been a good goal for United.

Everton got themselves back into the match four minutes into the second half. Davies got the ball in behind Harry Maguire which was picked up by Calvert-Lewin. He got to the by-line and scooped the ball into the middle which was poorly palmed away by the Spanish number one. Abdoulaye Doucoure then pounced on the ball, beating De Gea in close-range with the goalkeeper once again looking at a mistake which could become costly for United. Everton then got another, levelling the scoreline just three minutes later. Lucas Digne sent the ball into the box, which was kept alive by Doucoure. He then fizzed the ball back to James Rodriguez, who had a poor first half, firing a fine volley into the back of the net. What a poor defensive showing by United.

United would have to weather the storm that Everton would bring to them after levelling the score, which could be a difficult period of time for them. There were a few opportunities by both teams after the score was levelled but nothing to really change the game. United got themselves ahead in the 70th minute of the match through Scott McTominay. The Scotland international won the first ball despite having five defenders around him, flicking his header. The ball looped towards the bottom corner and Olsen lost his footing. He got two hands on the ball but it found the bottom corner, putting United in the lead once more. United will not be too upset about the goalkeeping as it put them back in front, despite being in a winning position at the break.

It seemed like it was going to be a narrow win for United, going into added time, which is dangerous territory. All was going well. Solskjaer decided to bring Axel Tuanzebe on for Mason Greenwood in the third minute of added time, to use some of the time up. He was booked in the fifth minute of added time which also saw Everton level for the second time in the match. Calvert-Lewin took the opportunity to share the points in the match, which feels more like a defeat than a draw. De Gea was poor for the goal, not really cutting it out of making much of an attempt to make the save, seemingly leaving fate to decide whether it was scored or not. This was his second error in the match and a costly one for United. Ir was not good enough from him at this stage of his career.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Played well in the first half with Everton not doing much to talk about. However, at the start of the second half, an error by him saw Doucoure get a goal back for the Toffees. Conceded a second minutes later, which he will not be happy about. A third goal was conceded in the last minute of added time with De Gea not making much of an effort to deny Calvert-Lewin.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Got another assist for Fernandes' goal fo the game. He did well at times in the match, especially on Everton's left.

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2 Victor Lindelof

Got the better of Richarlison at times. He seemed to be impenetrable at times in the match but it was his error that Everton pounced on, scoring from that.

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5 Harry Maguire

Will be disappointed with a draw that feels like a defeat. He desperately needs a player with pace and ball control as his partner. Bailly might have been different if he was fit but there is little point in thinking that way. It was not a defeat. It was a costly result but we must keep moving forward here. He did get the better of Calvert-Lewin up to that final goal.

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23 Luke Shaw

Got an assist for McTominay's goal which seemed, at the time, to be the winner. He played well again and seems to be retaining his form. He will be disappointed but West Ham should now be in their sights.

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39 Scott McTominay

Scored what should have been the winner. He played a good game and gives his all at every chance he gets to represent this club. He will be unhappy with the draw though.

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6 Paul Pogba

Played well against Everton and did what he needed to do. United took the lead through Cavani in the 24th minute of the match. However, within 15 minutes of that, Pogba had suffered an injury and he went straight down the tunnel for treatment. He was replaced by Fred in the 39th minute of the match.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Had a good game against Everton. Not involved in any goals but in terms of getting himself noticed, he did what he needed to do. It was a tough game, especially after the start for Everton in the second half. He was replaced by Tuanzebe in the third minute of added time. Got the better of Digne through his participation in the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

The Portuguese magnifico pounced on a great ball at the end of the first half and did what he did best with it - finding the back of the net to put United 2-0 up going into the break. In the second half he came close to scoring again, sending the ball over the crossbar instead. It was a shame that he did not score the goal that was over the crossbar. United really needed a cushion of goals in the second half.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Provided the cross which assisted Cavani's opening goal. He switched from the right to the left to do that. He failed to find the back of the net with the score at 2-2. He needs to find some form and sort out his judgement, which needs improvement.

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21 Edinson Cavani

Provided the first goal of the game, getting the better of Keane to nod United into the lead. He positioning, ability and desire are second to none at this moment. What a great signing he was.

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Substitutes

17 Fred

Replaced Pogba 39'. Went wide with a shot, which was a shame. Rodriguez's goal was partly down to Fred not seeing him in space, which could have been averted.

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38 Axel Tuanzebe

Replaced Greenwood 90+3'. Came on three minutes into added time. Was booked the same minute that Everton levelled the score for the second time.

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Goals: Edinson Cavani 24′, Bruno Fernandes 45′, Scott McTominay 70′; Abdoulaye Doucoure 49’, James Rodriguez 52’

Assists: Marcus Rashford 24′, Aaron Wan-Bissaka 45′, Luke Shaw 70′; Abdoulaye Doucoure 52’

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Pogba (Fred 39′); Greenwood (Tuanzebe 90+3′), Fernandes, Rashford; Cavani

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Telles, Williams; James, Matic, Van de Beek; Martial

Bookings: Luke Shaw 73′, Axel Tuanzebe 90+5′; Michael Keane 80′

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW