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What Was Said: Mourinho pleased with Lukaku’s work rate and what he offers for his new club

Manchester United beat Everton 4-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, returning to the summit of the league, albeit in second place due to Manchester City being the top side, in alphabetical order anyway. United opened the scoring inside the fourth minute as Antonio Valencia latched onto the ball, provided by Nemanja Matic to beat Jordan Pickford to break the deadlock. After the goal, United were frustrating to watch with Romelu Lukaku missing from close-range, his shot off target in what could have been a frustrating day for United, especially if Everton, who tried to get back into the match at times, found an equalising goal. In the second half of the match, despite Everton starting the half in a more commanding way, United found a second goal in the 83rd minute through Henrikh Mkhitaryan, assisted by Lukaku.

The former Everton hitman then scored in the 89th minute to make it 3-0 after Jesse Lingard assisted for him, beating Pickford at the near post to take United lead a bit further and send Everton back to Liverpool knowing that they have been beaten in four successive matches, conceding 11 goals at the time. That was not it for United though. Anthony Martial had just come on as the final substitution, winning a penalty after Morgan Schneiderlin slid to deny the Frenchman from scoring, catching the ball with his trailing hand, this giving United a penalty with Martial taking it, beating Pickford and seeing United score four for the third time in five Premier League matches this season. Jose Mourinho will be happy with the result, perhaps not the play over 90 minutes, but points are all that matters here and United had them in the bag.

United manager Jose Mourinho spoke to the media at the end of the 4-0 humiliation of Everton at Old Trafford talking about specific things from the match, starting with the result. Mourinho thought it could have been a 1-0 or 2-0 scoreline but boy was he wrong. The manager said:

“I always thought it would be 1-0 or 2-0, I ever thought about 1-1. The 2-0 came and then the third and fourth goal were just consequences of a team that was sad and another team that was happy. For me, the third and fourth goals were a little bit out of the context of the game.”

Mourinho then spoke about Antonio Valencia, the scorer of the first goal against Everton. The Portuguese manager was asked if the Ecuadorian always hit shots like that in training, the reply:

“Sometimes he does but it’s obviously not easy to score such an amazing goal. But sometimes he does.”

Romelu Lukaku did not have the best of days against his former side, missing what would have been a simple one-on-one and failing to latch onto chances at times during the game, but in the end the Belgian assisted Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s goal, United second of the match, scoring his own six minutes later. Speaking about Lukaku’s performance, Mourinho said:

“I would be pleased even without that work he does for the team, the way he opens spaces for us in the first half, I was more than pleased. One more goal, fantastic, one assist. But his overall work is more than that.”

Mourinho was also asked why United have been scoring so many goals lately. United scored 54 goals in the Premier League last season, which was poor by the standards set by the teams of Sir Alex Ferguson, but an improvement on Louis van Gaal’s side the season before. This season with 16 goals in five league matches, United have scored almost 30% of their goal tally from last season. Mourinho, speaking about the goal scored this season, said:

“I think the Premier League is becoming very defensive, as I’ve told you before. I think many teams try to play with five at the back plus two or three in the middle. Sometimes four in the middle in some matches. And two teams try to match each other and play the same system and it’s 0-0 or 1-0. Sometimes, when you have a little bit more space, you try in the last part of the game and they were losing 2-0 and they tried to come [at us] more and they gave us more spaces. I think it is down to that.”

David De Gea made his 275th appearance for United this afternoon, keeping his 100th Premier League clean sheet, which is some feat. It was also the 250th time United have kept a clean sheet at Old Trafford in the league, Peter Schmeichel having 68 of his own. Speaking about De Gea, Mourinho said:

“It is more difficult when you are sleeping. You don’t touch the ball for minutes and minutes and minutes and then have an important moment in the game. So it’s even more difficult and even more important.”

At Old Trafford alone this season in the Premier League, United have played three times; West Ham United, Leicester City, and Everton – scoring twelve goals, four in each match, conceding no goals and having the best start in the league since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. Fortress Old Trafford was something from the past, but this season, it is becoming a reality once again. Speaking about the form, Mourinho said:

“I’m happy. There is clearly a difference in relation to last season. We played better and we score more goals. Every match is a different match and the next one, against Burton, who come on the back of an important result against a good team like Fulham. It will be another difficult match for us.”

United face Burton Albion at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening in the Carabao Cup, their third home match in a row. United have scored seven goals in the past two matches at the Theatre of Dreams; the 3-0 victory over FC Basel in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening and today’s 4-0 victory over Everton. It will be a bad time for Burton to travel to the Theatre of Dreams with Mourinho looking to keep his team rolling ahead of their visit to St Mary’s to face Southampton in their first Saturday afternoon fixture in the Premier League next weekend. United have done well at the start of the season, dropping only two points in the Premier League, which is a shame as otherwise, they would be top of the league in their own right at this stage of the season. However, there is a long way to go and United will need to keep this kind of form week in and week out which cannot be guaranteed or expected. That is what makes football so interesting.

Report: Valencia, Mkhitaryan, Lukaku and Martial sink Everton in another 4-0 rout

Manchester United beat Everton 4-0 at Old Trafford with Romelu Lukaku and Wayne Rooney playing against their former clubs at the Theatre of Dreams. United took the lead inside the first four minutes with Antonio Valencia scoring a sublime goal, assisted by Nemanja Matic. Lukaku could have scored in the first half, one-on-one with Jordan Pickford, shooting wide of the target. Rooney had a chance to score at Old Trafford again, that also being wide of the mark.

It was the second half where United made themselves counted, scoring the second goal through Henrikh Mkhitaryan before Lukaku scored his first goal against his former club with a fourth coming from Anthony Martial, who won a penalty, striking home in his cameo. Three points for United, back to the top of the league, sharing the spot with Manchester City, which is a great start for United this season.

Jose Mourinho made a few changes to his starting XI ahead of the clash with Everton at Old Trafford. Antonio Valencia was recalled into the right-back position with Ashley Young moving to left-back after his performance against Basel during the week. Marouane Fellaini replaced the injured Paul Pogba in midfield with Marcus Rashford replacing Anthony Martial on the left flank. Romelu Lukaku keeps his place against his former club, perhaps we will see how he will fare as Wayne Rooney hardly ever performed well against Everton.

United started well, getting on the attack and pressuring Everton from the off. Antonio Valencia scored the opening goal inside four minutes with Nemanja Matic getting the assist. It was a sublime goal from the Ecuadorian right-back and Jordan Pickford could do nothing to stop the shot from taking first blood. Everton’s back three, or five if you look at it that way were just not good enough to stop United in the opening stages of the match. United were breaking through on nearly every attack, just not getting a goal each time.

United kept throwing all they could at Everton despite being in full control of the match so far. Everton have had seven shots on target in their five Premier League matches this season, which shows just how poor Ronald Koeman’s side are. United had a chance with Romelu Lukaku breaking through, passing to Marcus Rashford, who could not get anything going wide in the box. United had another chance minutes later, again failing to do anything with it. Everton had a break of their own through Rooney with the United top scorer having a shot on goal, which was wide of the mark.

In the 26th minute of the match Lukaku was through on goal after an Everton defensive error, missing the target by a mile. Michael Keane looks nervous in this match and unable to deal with the attacking players of United, which could be a bullet missed for United as they were interested in the player this summer. Not worth what Everton paid for him, yet anyway. Tom Davies had a chance for Everton, breaking through the defence and getting his header on target, but was flagged for offside. United needed to get another goal before the end of the half, if just to stop Everton from getting into the game.

In the 32nd minute of the match, both United and Everton had two attempts on goal, United having one on target, which was the goal, Everton still looking for that clear-cut shot on goal. Rashford latched onto the ball in the 34th minute of the match, breaking through into the box, being crowded out and unable to capitalise on the chance he created. United had another chance with Lukaku running into the box, but Ashley Williams getting enough of the ball to allay the danger and the Belgian running out of space to get anything for United.

In the closing stages of the half, United were still one goal to the good and in control of the match. Everton were playing with their backs to the wall with United coming forward with chance after chance, pressuring the Toffees around their own box. United should have scored at least another goal in the half, through Lukaku, but you cannot have everything. There was an added minute at the end of the first half with Everton winning a free-kick after Rooney was fouled, the free-kick going straight into the hands of David De Gea, who has largely been untested during the first half of the match.

Everton commenced the second half with the kick off and almost instantly Rooney had a chance which forced De Gea into the save to deny the visitors from finding the back of the net. United dealt with the clearance to get the game going in their own favour again. Rooney could have made his ‘homecoming’ and eventful one if it was not for the best goalkeeper in the world. In the 51st minute of the match, Rashford was on the ball on the attacked, setting his shot wide of the target which was poor for him. Perhaps Mourinho needs to make a change to inject some skill, pace and power on the left flank with Anthony Martial?

In the 57th minute of the match, after a good spell of play, Rashford had the ball on the counter-attack and Morgan Schneiderlin made the foul with United given the free-kick. Lukaku had a change of boots during the break in play with United now on the attack again. Jesse Lingard was getting ready to come on approaching the hour mark, getting a team talk with the manager whilst readying himself with Rashford coming off for the Warrington-born attacking midfielder. Just after the change, Everton had yet another chance, this time through Gylfi Sigurdsson with De Gea making the save. Everton should be level now.

Juan Mata capitalised from a Pickford clearance, running into the box to play off a pass, fouled on the edge of the box, which could have been a penalty. Mata took the free-kick, striking the post with Pickford seemingly beaten. Everton made their first change with Sandro Ramirez coming on for Davies, which should see Koeman’s side throwing more at United and their defence in the latter stages of the match. Mourinho needs to bring Martial on, let him cause some problems for Everton, which could secure the win for United heading into a cagey encounter with one goal the difference for the home side.

United had a great chance to get goal number two in the bag with Lingard in the box, the ball played to him and his effort on goal still rising. United really need to seal this whilst they can, or encounter a final ten minutes which could see a mistake give Everton a goal with United earning their second draw in just over a week. Lingard had another change breaking forward, seemingly fouled by Keane then by Cuco Martina to win another free-kick, this time from the left flank. Lingard had another shot on goal, having a break from nothing with United pegged back in their own half. His shot was forced over the crossbar for a corner.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan took the corner, the ball being cleared with United gaining possession and running up the left flank, passing over to Valencia on the right and forcing through on goal. United were building for something, Matic having the shot, it just wide of the outstretched Pickford. In the 76th minute, Everton brought on Dominic Calvert-Lewin for Idrissa Gueye and United brought on Ander Herrera for Mata in the 77th. Lingard had another chance, taken out on the box, a penalty maybe, the referee did not think so.

United almost had another chance heading into the final ten minutes of the match, Everton doing all they needed to do to thwart the attack. Eric Bailly was booked for a challenge before Rooney was taken off for Kevin Mirallas. In the 84th minute of the match, Lukaku got the better of Williams, passing the ball to Mkhitaryan, who put the ball into the back of the net to take the match for United. United were two goals to the good. Martial eventually replaced Mkhitaryan in the 88th minute of the match, a bit late to create a final few minutes of goalscoring for United maybe.

United had a free-kick which Lukaku took, hit the wall with United getting the ball again. Lukaku was played in, finding the back of the net in the 89th minute, celebrating the goal with his hand on his ear. United were three goals to the good and hitting Everton hard, at last. Martial got the ball into the box, Schneiderlin with a sliding tackle to thwart the attack, catching the ball with his trailing arm, penalty to United.

Martial took the ball, sticking the ball calmly into the back of the net to take a 4-0 victory for United, their third of the season and Everton’s fourth successive defeat without scoring a goal. United were level with City at the top of the league, level on points and goal difference. Next up for United is the third round of the Carabao Cup against Burton Albion at Old Trafford before United travel to Southampton in the Premier League next Saturday.

Goals: Antonio Valencia 4′, Henrikh Mkhitaryan 83′, Romelu Lukaku 89′, Anthony Martial 90+2′ penalty

Assists: Nemanja Matic 4′, Romelu Lukaku 83′, Jesse Lingard 89′

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Young; Matic, Fellaini; Mata (Herrera 77′), Mkhitaryan (Martial 88′), Rashford (Lingard 61′); Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Smalling, Darmian; Carrick

Bookings: Eric Bailly 82′

Starting XI: Romelu Lukaku to lead the line against former club Everton

Manchester United will face Everton at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon, their fifth league match of the new season. United are yet to face one of the big teams in the Premier League this season – the first being against Liverpool next month. Jose Mourinho’s side won their first three matches of the season against West Ham United (4-0), Swansea City (4-0) and Leicester City (2-0). United dropped their first points of the season against Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium last weekend in a 2-2 draw, getting back to winning ways on Tuesday beating FC Basel 3-0 in the first group stage match of the UEFA Champions League. United will be seeking another victory in the Premier League this weekend, putting Ronald Koeman into the firing line after his sides poor start to the season.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Young;

Matic, Fellaini;

Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford;

Lukaku

Substitutes:

Romero; Smalling, Darmian; Lingard, Carrick, Herrera; Martial

Manchester United and Everton have faced each other 197 times in all competitions since their first match which was played on the 24th September 1892, a 6-0 victory for Everton over Newton Heath. United have won a total of 85 matches, drawn 43 times and lost 69 times. United have a twenty match unbeaten record against Everton which lasted from the 9th September 1995 after a 3-2 victory at Goodison Park, ending with a 2-0 victory on the 19th February 2005; 19 of the matches were in the Premier League, one in the FA Cup. United last lost to Everton on the 26th April 2015, a 3-0 defeat which, the loss before that almost a year before was the final straw for United who then sacked former Everton manager David Moyes. The last four matches see United undefeated against Everton, winning twice; 1-0 and 2-1, drawing twice; both 1-1 scorelines.

Ronald Koeman sees Romelu Lukaku as Everton’s biggest threat in Sunday’s Manchester United clash

Everton manager Ronald Koeman has told his players that they must improve defensively if they are to contain former striker Romelu Lukaku at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. Everton head to the Theatre of Dreams at probably the worst time to do so. United are in good form this season, winning the first three Premier League matches this season, scoring ten goals and conceding none. Last weekend against Stoke City, United dropped their first points of the season in the 2-2 draw, also conceding their first two goals of the season. Everton, on the other hand, have not had a great start this season.

Koeman’s side have lost their last three matches, 2-0 to Chelsea, 3-0 to Tottenham Hotspur and 3-0 to Atalanta, which with another defeat seemingly on the cards at Old Trafford, will put the club in to dire straits after their biggest splurge in the transfer market in the summer. Wayne Rooney will return to his former club for the first time, which will be a big occasion for him and Everton, but the task in hand will be much tougher.

Lukaku, 24, made the move to Old Trafford from Goodison Park in the summer in a £75 million deal which could rise to £90 million. The Belgian striker has already found the back of the net six times in six matches, four of those being in the Premier League, one against Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup and the other against FC Basel in the UEFA Champions League earlier in the week. Koeman, speaking about Lukaku ahead of his side’s visit to Old Trafford, said:

“We know him really well. He’s one of the best strikers.

“I mentioned several times last season he’s a great finisher. I hope that we know how we have to defend against him.

“There are a lot of individual qualities in the players around him (at United). In the box he’s really dangerous, he’s fast, he’s strong.

“If we defend how we’ve defended in the last few games then maybe it will be his afternoon.”

Koeman added a few names to his squad in the summer, especially in the striker role, but none of which will assume the position Lukaku had the Blue’s in last season, scoring 25 goals in the Premier League. Rooney, a former Blue coming back to the club after being released by United will not be the player to fill in for what Lukaku achieved, although he is the only player to have found the back of the net for Everton in the Premier League this season with Dominic Calvert-Lewin (20) and new summer signing Sandro Ramirez (22) early in their careers to be able to fulfil such feats. Koeman, speaking in his press conference ahead of Sunday’s match, said:

“There’s no frustration now because you can’t do anything at this time,” Koeman said of failing to add another attacker.

“It is different in our ball possession if you have a target man in front. You saw with Atalanta (on Thursday), their striker (Andrea Petagna) was strong, he kept the ball, it allows the team to come up and keep the ball.

“We have different types in Dominic and Sandro. Sandro needs time to adapt to the Premier League. Yes, he has pace but he’s not physically the strongest.

“But it’s too easy to mention the strikers. Defensively we are making too many mistakes.”

Old Trafford is a happy hunting ground for Ronald Koeman, in the past at least. His Southampton side beat Louis van Gaal’s side at the Theatre of Dreams in 2015 and 2016 and a late Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty was the difference to stop Koeman from getting a hat-trick of wins in April 2017 with another 1-1 draw on the cards between United and Everton, both home and away last season. Koeman is impressed with the side Jose Mourinho has assembled this season, which must be taken as a compliment, maybe a veiled one. Koeman is expecting a much bigger test at Old Trafford this time, saying:

“It’s how you look at it – maybe it’s good that in the last three seasons I’ve had good results at Old Trafford.

“But Manchester United are really strong, a stronger team than last season and at the moment we’re not at the level we were last season.”

Preview: Jose Mourinho determined to give Ronald Koeman another afternoon to forget?

Manchester United -v- Everton

Premier League 2017/18

Old Trafford, Manchester

Sunday 17th September 2017; KO 16:00 BST

Live on Nissan Super Sunday Sky Sports Premier League HD

Manchester United will face Everton at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon, their fifth league match of the new season. United are yet to face one of the big teams in the Premier League this season – the first being against Liverpool next month. Jose Mourinho’s side won their first three matches of the season against West Ham United (4-0), Swansea City (4-0) and Leicester City (2-0). United dropped their first points of the season against Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium last weekend in a 2-2 draw, getting back to winning ways on Tuesday beating FC Basel 3-0 in the first group stage match of the UEFA Champions League. United will be seeking another victory in the Premier League this weekend, putting Ronald Koeman into the firing line after his sides poor start to the season.

Everton have been involved in three defeats in their last three matches; a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea, a 3-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur and a 3-0 defeat to Atalanta in their UEFA Europa League group stage clash on Thursday evening. Wayne Rooney’s return to Old Trafford will need to be a big one on Sunday for Everton, the player inspiring his boyhood club to take all three points back to Merseyside, which at this moment in time seems unlikely. United may have to dig deep in order to get the result they want, especially after recent matches between the two sides. The last match should have been United victory but a late penalty levelled the score with United earning just a point from the match. Speaking about Rooney’s return to the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday, Mourinho speaking in his pre-match press conference on Friday, said:

“I think sometimes the word ‘legend’ is used too easily but that’s not this case. He’s a real legend in the club. The numbers, they speak by themselves. He’s obviously a legend for this club and for sure he’s going to get the welcome that he deserves.

“But [we’ll] talk after the match when the players’ dressing room and my office are open for him. He doesn’t even need to knock on the door.

“I think the stadium will show him the respect that he deserves, I hope, before the match and after the match. Not during the match. During the match, he is an Everton player who wants to win the game.”

Previous Matches: Manchester United have won more matches, had a twenty match unbeaten run, but recently, it has been all to play for against Everton

Manchester United and Everton have faced each other 197 times in all competitions since their first match which was played on the 24th September 1892, a 6-0 victory for Everton over Newton Heath. United have won a total of 85 matches, drawn 43 times and lost 69 times. United have a twenty match unbeaten record against Everton which lasted from the 9th September 1995 after a 3-2 victory at Goodison Park, ending with a 2-0 victory on the 19th February 2005; 19 of the matches were in the Premier League, one in the FA Cup. United last lost to Everton on the 26th April 2015, a 3-0 defeat which, the loss before that almost a year before was the final straw for United who then sacked former Everton manager David Moyes. The last four matches see United undefeated against Everton, winning twice; 1-0 and 2-1, drawing twice; both 1-1 scorelines.

Form: Jose Mourinho’s side have had the better start to the season with Ronald Koeman’s Everton looking to get points on the board after a series of defeats

Manchester United started the Premier League season strongly with three victories in the first three matches; West Ham United 4-0, Swansea City 4-0 and Leicester City 2-0, scoring ten goals in the opening matches without reply. After the international break, United travelled to the bet365 Stadium to face Stoke City, dropping their first points of the season in the 2-2 draw but still sitting at the top of the Premier League tables based on goal difference. This weekend, after a positive result in the opening UEFA Champions League clash with FC Basel, a 3-0 victory, United will be looking to get back to winning ways in the league, intent on keeping their place at the top of the league table, of which they will be dislodged of over the weekend with United’s match against Everton being the final match of the weekend.

Everton have not had the best of starts in the Premier League this season, playing four matches so far; beating Stoke City 1-0 in their opening match of the season, drawing 1-1 all with Manchester City, which will be viewed as a good result, but them falling to straight defeats; 2-0 to Premier League champions Chelsea and a 3-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. In the UEFA Europa League, Everton had to go through the qualification stages, beating Ružomberok 1-0 in each leg (2-0 on aggregate), then going on to play Hajduk Split, winning 2-0 in the first leg, drawing 1-1 in the second, making the group stages with a 3-1 aggregate victory. However, in the first group stage match on Thursday evening, Everton continued their poor form, losing 3-0 again and heading to Old Trafford in poor form, which could be the making of a long afternoon for them.

Team News: Paul Pogba will be out of action, Luke Shaw is no longer injured and Marcos Rojo will be out for a little longer

Jose Mourinho will be without Paul Pogba for Everton’s visit to Old Trafford on Sunday. The French midfielder suffered a hamstring injury in the opening 19 minutes of the match against Basel on Tuesday evening. It has been rumoured that Pogba will be out for between four and six weeks. Many were hoping the manager would clarify the amount of time the player would be out of action for, only saying; “He is injured and he cannot play on Sunday.” Mourinho also suggested that he did not know how long Pogba would be out of action for, saying; “We know that, for a few matches, I don’t know how many, but I expect we are to play without Pogba for a few matches.” 

Mourinho did confirm that it would be a chance for other players to get a foot in the door to more playing time, saying; “That is an opportunity for others and the others are ready to get that opportunity and to perform. Of course, we feel sorry that we lose a player but we are calm and confident because it is an opportunity for people who are ready to take it.” The Portuguese manager did give an update on Luke Shaw, a player who started the new season on the sidelines, playing for the U23’s with Mourinho now saying; “He is not injured anymore so it is a question of form and it is a question of options. But he is not injured, he is recovered.”

Marcos Rojo is a different story though with Mourinho saying; “He is still in the timings of such an important injury. Everything went really well, but he’s not even training with the group in normal sessions, he’s just doing parts of it. So Marcos still has in front of him, probably, a couple of months.”

Predicted Starting XI: Marouane Fellaini to take the place of Paul Pogba against his former club as Manchester United to grind out the results at home

Match Prediction: It could be another one of those days for Everton, here’s hoping…

Manchester United 4-0 Everton

Opposition Scouting: Everton in shambles ahead of Wayne Rooney’s return to Old Trafford

Pick any of the following words to describe Everton’s last three performances: abject, lifeless, embarrassing, shambolic.

The Toffees head to Old Trafford on Sunday on the back of some of the most dreadful performances in recent memory – a 2-0 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and twin 3-0 losses to Tottenham at home and Serie A side Atalanta FC in a road Europa League fixture. Arguably, those score lines could have been even more lopsided if not for strong goalkeeping and the opponents easing off the pressure late.

For Everton fans, these woes overshadow a compelling storyline for this match: Wayne Rooney’s return to Old Trafford and Romelu Lukaku’s first time playing against his former club. Instead, the focus will be on avoiding humiliation against a Red Devils squad that looks like it will contend for the Premier League title.

Granted, Ronald Koeman will have seen and perhaps be encouraged that Stoke City managed a draw against United last week, but the two goals scored by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting equals Everton’s total from the first four Premier League fixtures. In fact, the Toffees have mustered only a single shot on target combined in their games against Chelsea and Spurs.

Koeman will be under intense pressure to generate a reaction out of his players. So far, he has struggled to find an effective formation that caters to his players’ strengths. A lack of pace and width in the attacking half has been evident, making simple possession a challenge.

Despite impressive signings in the summer transfer window that prompted now-fanciful talk of a top-six finish, failing to acquire a scoring threat to replace Lukaku is the most glaring omission.

Former Barcelona man Sandro, who netted 14 goals for Malaga last year, has struggled to adapt to English football. Rooney has shown life in his 31-year-old legs, but he can’t be expected to beat younger, faster defenders to the ball. The Toffees’ most exciting player — by a longshot — has been youngster Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who scored the game-winner for England in the U20 World Cup Final this summer. Expect to see him in the Starting XI on Sunday after being a reserve in the last two Premier League games.

That lack of a true No. 9 has made life difficult for record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson, who nonetheless delivered a goal-of-the-year contender with a stunning 50-yard looping strike against Hadjuk Split in the Europa League playoff round. New signee Dominic Calvert-Lewin, like Sandro, has gotten off to a slow start. And Belgian national Kevin Mirallas has found himself in the doghouse after complaints over the lack of playing time. Long-term injuries to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ross Barkley, and Seamus Coleman have deprived Everton of other scoring threats. Things have gotten so desperate on Merseyside that Koeman has even reintroduced out-of-favour Oumar Niasse back into the first team.

All that uncertainty and negativity has eclipsed the promising signs at the club: impressive goalkeeping by England national Jordan Pickford, steady play from former United centre-back Michael Keane, and determined workmanship from holding midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye, who always seems to be around the ball.

Everton’s best performance this season came against Manchester City in a 1-1 draw at the Etihad, but that was aided by a questionable red card to Kyle Walker late in the first half. Ironically, even though they were ahead 1-0, the Toffees seemed to crawl into a defensive shell, inviting 10-man City to attack, which eventually led to a Daniel Sterling equalizer eight minutes from time. In the end, Everton were lucky to walk away with a result.

The Manager

High hopes greeted Ronald Koeman in his second season on Merseyside following last season’s seventh-place finish. Having remade the team he inherited from Roberto Martinez, thanks to the deep pockets of co-owner Farhad Moshiri, he is now struggling to find the right combination of players and is up against a fan base rapidly losing confidence that he is the right man to help Everton break through to the top six and lift trophies. Questions are being asked whether Koeman is trying to shoehorn players into a formation and system they are not built for. The former Barcelona defender may point to a difficult run of fixtures to start the season – a fair point with City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and United in their first five games – but fans want to see results or at least competitive contest against the top sides.

Ones to Watch

The previously aforementioned Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been the spark behind Everton’s best performances. He set up Rooney’s goals against Stoke and City and his blazing quickness will create problems for most Prem back lines. The 20-year-old signed from Sheffield United for £1.5 million in 2016, which looks to be a steal. He has not featured in the starting XI in two of Everton’s last three dismal showings, but he almost has to get the nod against United.

Another youngster who raised eyebrows last year but has not seen as much time on the pitch early this season is midfielder Tom Davies, the 19-year-old Everton Academy graduate who produced a dazzling end-to-end break and finish against City last year. His hustle and pace would be a welcome addition at Old Trafford.

Predicted Starting XI

Match Prediction

Even the most die-hard and glass-half-full Everton fans would be hard-pressed to predict a positive result at Old Trafford after the last three games have shown little ability to compete with teams of United’s quality. Rooney will want to make a statement in front of Jose Mourinho, showing that he can still compete, and Lukaku will also hope to show Everton what they let go. In the end, United just have too much firepower for the Merseysiders. I’ll say Everton 1-4 Manchester United.

Written by Alan Brody

Mourinho: “I have to admit we played better football in some other matches”

Manchester United were held to yet another draw at home to Everton in the Premier League. The visitors opened the scoring through Phil Jagielka in the 22nd minute after a mistake from David De Gea not coming to collect the ball from the cross, Jagielka scored by sticking his leg out from an Ashley Williams header, with his back to the goal, beating the Spaniard. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was United’s saviour yet again in his first game back a three-match suspension. The Swede scored from the spot in the 94th minute after Williams handled the ball in the box, receiving a red card for stopping a goal scoring opportunity. Manchester United dropped another two points at home after the 0-0 draw with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday afternoon. United have drawn twelve times in the Premier League this season, three of those away from home; (two 1-1 draws and one 0-0 draw). Nine have been at Old Trafford (six 1-1 draws and three 0-0 draws).

Paul Pogba came on at half-time and changed the game in a sense, where United had the ball a lot more, but were not creating many chances, like they should be. The players were rushing when it came to the end product. Luke Shaw and Henrik Mkhitaryan came on for Ashley Young and Michael Carrick inside the 65th minute but did not really change anything in all fairness. Same old United failing to take their chances and dropping crucial points at home, which has happened nine times this season just at Old Trafford. United travel to Sunderland on Sunday to face David Moyes’ relegation-threatened side, who are in a more precarious position than they have been over recent seasons. United need to be taking all three points, or the advantage they find themselves in at this moment in time, will soon be taken away leaving Jose Mourinho’s side to put all their eggs in one basket and aim to win the UEFA Europa League.

Jose Mourinho on Luke Shaw, who he criticised this week, had a reported crisis meeting with the player, and put him back into his squad against Everton. Shaw played 25 minutes, but the manager still felt that something was needed from him. Mourinho was speaking to Shaw on the pitch at Old Trafford and decided to share the conversation with the media after the match, he said:

“I tell you because I told him already: he had a good performance which was his body with my brain. Because he was in front of me and I was making every decision for him.

“And the communication was possible because we were very close but I was thinking for him. When to close inside, when to open, when to go in there, when to press the opponent.

“I was making every decision for him and at this level we need the fantastic body he has to play football, the fantastic physical qualities he has, the very good technical ability he has but he cannot play with my understanding of the game, he must understand the game, he must think and he must accelerate the process because 21-years-old is old enough to have a better understanding of the game.

“But his contribution was good, he improved the team, he gave us immediately after 30 seconds he was in a scoring position or an assist position. It was good for him, he goes today with a positive feeling because his performance was very positive and I’m happy with what he gave us.”

Mourinho spoke about Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who saw a perfectly fine, or at least it looked like that, goal disallowed for being offside, then scored a last-minute penalty to level the score. The manager said:

“We start going through the wings and putting the ball in the box and one cross one goal, disallowed. Wrong, but I repeat I don’t have a bad feeling at all because it was a difficult one for the linesman.

“So I’m not disappointed in him at all and I told him that already, no problem for me.

“We had more chances and we hit the post, Zlatan had a free header over the bar and we tried everything and the goal arrived, so we know by the points point of view it is not so important, zero point or one point, it doesn’t make a huge difference.

“But it’s a good feeling for the boys not to lose.”

Mourinho also gave his overall reflection of the result, the second draw at Old Trafford in three days, this time being able to find the back of the net. He said:

“The performance was not very good but the spirit in the second half was phenomenal. And with some players really in trouble, some by the physical point of view, some others clearly with the confidence levels low and difficult to perform better. They fought until the last second and with a VAR, we win this game 2-1 because it was not an offside.”

Mourinho has no criticism of the match officials, perhaps he has learned not to speak about his frustrations in public, saving that for a more private area where he will not be hung, drawn and quartered y the media, ahead of a witch hunt by the Football Association. Mourinho said:

“It was a difficult one for the linesman. I am not a critic of him at all. When the VAR comes, it will help everyone, especially them, especially the linesmen and the referees. If they (the video assistant referee) has any doubts, then the advantage should go to the team that attacks. From what I saw just now on the computer, it was not an offside but they are the experts. But even so, if there is a big doubt, it is a goal. But again, I repeat I’m not at all a critic of the linesman, not at all. I just think it will be welcomed by everyone, especially them because for them it’s not good when they make mistakes, even little ones like this one.”

Mourinho also spoke about the deja vu feeling at home with United drawing their ninth match this season, nearly half of all matches played there in the Premier League. He said:

“I have deja vu in many things but I have to admit we played better football in some other matches. Did we have chances? Yes. Not a dozen, a few. Did we hit the post as always? Yes. Did the opponent goalkeeper play very well as always? Yes. Did one decision go against us? Yes but I want to repeat again, I don’t want to blame him. Was the opponent ultra defensive as always? Yes but we didn’t play very well. We had some players in trouble, especially by the confidence point of view. Some guys are suffering a little bit. But the spirit was good, the pride was there, the Manchester United way of fighting was there, especially in the second half that followed a first half that was not good at all.”

Report: Late Zlatan penalty earns a draw for United against Everton

Manchester United stopped Everton from taking all three points with a last-minute penalty by Zlatan Ibrahimovic to earn a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in the Premier League. It should have been a victory for United, though, with the Swede’s goal in the 71st minute being disallowed due to him being offside. Looking at the reply, he was onside, so yet another error by an official has cost a victory this season, not only for United but many of the Premier League teams. The officiating this season is a shambles, but week after week, nothing seems to change. The Football Association and PGMOL need to start taking notes and making changes.

Jose Mourinho made three changes from the side which drew with West Bromwich Albion on Saturday with Daley Blind, Ander Herrera and Zlatan Ibrahimovic all returning to the starting lineup replacing Antonio Valencia, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Anthony Martial, the latter two being on the bench this evening. United started well with a chance coming inside the first four minutes through Rashford, which won a corner for United – that amounted to nothing. Moments later, Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a chance to score, but the play was broken down by Ashley Williams with a block. Promising signs, but more to be done to break the deadlock.

Jesse Lingard saw his speculative effort from 25-yards drift wide inside the twelfth minute of the match. United had been playing well, seeing more of the ball in the Everton area. Everton then went in to a spell where they advanced into the United half of the pitch, threatened, but nothing convincing. Rashford got through on goal, although he was offside, seeing his shot deflected by Joel Robles.In the 21st minute of the match, Kevin Mirallas was found in space, shooting goalward from a difficult angle, with David De Gea getting a touch for an Everton corner, which Phil Jagielka scored with a decent strike with his back to the goal. 1-0 to Everton.

Just before the half-hour mark, Lingard was manhandled by Mirallas which resulted in a free-kick being awarded to United. Daley Blind took the kick, forcing a save from Robles, with Herrera coming in for the rebound, hitting the crossbar from a tight angle. The chances have been there for United so far, but they still trail 1-0 from that surprise Jagielka goal. Everton could have capitalised once again in the 36th minute with Romelu Lukaku on the advance, deciding to go alone and try to double their lead, leaving an advancing Mirallas in the cold. Lukaku’s shot struck Tom Davies, who was adjudged to be offside. Attack over for Everton.

Heading into the final five minutes of the half, Herrera saw another chance not fall in United’s favour with his strike being denied by the fingertips of Robles once again. Everton immediately went on the attack through Mirallas, which was thwarted, luckily for United, who had been caught sleeping a few times in the first half of the match. The first half ended with United still trailing with a lot to do. Many won’t see the positives in the first half as they just want to remain negative all the time. The United fan base is turning into the Arsenal fan base they have mocked for years, just not seeing what they have become.

United started the second half with an attack, but not fluid enough on the attack, or able to capitalise on it. Everton then recovered the ball, went on their own attack, which did not come to fruition. Daley Blind was replaced by Paul Pogba at the start of the half, a different kind of substitution, but one which would allow the extra man going forward, and probably a temporary change with other players coming on later in the half. United found another chance to get something from the match, this time with Paul Pogba heading against the crossbar, the second time United have struck the woodwork tonight – bad luck.

Ashley Young was booked just before the hour after Mirallas decided to play a drop ball, instead of giving it back to United, then Young clattering into him, putting him on the floor, which was not as bad as the challenge on Lingard earlier in the match, which saw only a free-kick given, no booking for Mirallas. In the 63rd minute of the match, after Fellaini could have equalised for United, Henrikh Mkhitaryan was being given his orders ahead of his introduction in the match. United were on the attack again, trying desperately to get something from the match, but it just was not going their way. Michael Carrick made his way for the Armenian in the 65th minute.

Luke Shaw made his return from exile in the 65th minute, replacing Young, who seemed to be carrying a knock. Almost instantly Shaw was on the attack for United, which again did not come off for the home side. United had now been reshuffled, it was time to go out and get something from this match. United scored through Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 71st minute of the match, but Scott Ledger, the linesman ruled him as offside, which was the case, fractionally so. United went immediately on the attack again, Fellaini could have scored again, but it was not to be. Shaw has done well for United from his introduction, cutting out a goalward shot off the line.

United were doing all they could to find an equaliser, after being robbed by the officials once again, but nothing was going their way. Jesse Lingard was the latest to fire a shot in, only for it to be blocked by Gareth Barry. Everton have seemingly done a smash and grab at Old Trafford, dropping back deep to retain their lead, which is something Tony Pulis might learn from – he just defends a draw in the same manner. With a few minutes of normal time remaining, Rashford saw his goalbound effort blocked, with Everton going on the attack again, being dispossessed and United getting back into their stream of attacking.

United were giving Everton a game, but it was one of those nights, again, for United. Zlatan had a chance to get an equaliser, but his effort was fired over the crossbar. It was a late affair for United, who were awarded a penalty after Ashley Williams denied Luke Shaw from scoring, blocking the ball with his hand. Williams was sent off and Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired the penalty into the back of the net, in what should have been the winner for United. It was another draw at Old Trafford, the seventh 1-1 draw at home this season. United may not have got the result they needed, but it was an avoidance of their fourth defeat in the league this season. Sunderland next!

Goals: Zlatan Ibrahimovic 90+4 penalty

Manchester United: De Gea; Young (Shaw 65), Bailly, Rojo; Blind (Pogba 46′); Herrera, Carrick (Mkhitaryan 65′), Fellaini; Lingard, Ibrahimovic, Rashford

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Darmian, Fosu-Mensah; Martial

Bookings: Ashley Young 57′

Team News: Shaw on the bench; Ibrahimovic and Herrera back!

Manchester United take on Everton at Old Trafford in the Premier League this evening. Jose Mourinho’s side will be looking to put Saturday’s 0-0 draw against West Bromwich Albion behind him with his side earning a victory at home, not a ninth home draw of the season, or even a defeat. Ronald Koeman’s side will be looking to bounce back from a defeat to Merseyside rivals Liverpool, beating United, which could be the third time he will have done so at Old Trafford since coming to the Premier League. United will be boosted by the returns for both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ander Herrera after sitting out the last three and two matches respectively. United, though, will be without Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, and Juan Mata, due to injury.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Young, Bailly, Rojo; Blind;

Herrera, Carrick, Fellaini;

Lingard, Ibrahimovic, Rashford

Substitutions:

Romero; Darmian, Fosu-Mensah, Shaw; Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Martial

Everton:

Robles;

Holgate, Williams, Jagielka, Baines;

Barkley, Gueye, Davies, Barry, Mirallas;

Lukaku

Substitutions:

Stekelenburg, Valencia, Calvert-Lewin, Lookman, Pennington, Kenny, Williams

United and Everton have met 196 times going back to the late 1800’s. United have won 85 matches, drawn 42 and lost 69. Everton got the better of United on the 26th April 2015, winning 2-0, but in the four matches played since then, United have won three and drawn one, the meeting at Goodison Park earlier this season in which Marouane Fellaini came on in the latter stages of the match, gave away a penalty which saw United’s 1-0 lead turn into a 1-1 draw, a low point of the season. Jose Mourinho’s side will need to be at their best after Saturday’s dire result, ensuring that Everton and Sunderland on Sunday are beaten, keeping the chances of a top-four finish in the Premier League on the cards, but still having a chance in the UEFA Europa League, which commences again a week on Thursday.

Preview: Luke Shaw to return in order to prove himself against Everton

Manchester United v Everton

Old Trafford, Manchester

Premier League 2016/17

Tuesday 4th April 2017; KO 20:00 BST

Live on BT Sport 1HD

Manchester United will battle Everton in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening. At the weekend, Everton were beaten 3-1 by Merseyside rivals Liverpool at Anfield and United drew 0-0 at Old Trafford against West Bromwich Albion, which will see both teams wanting to get something positive from the match. United have drawn eleven matches in the Premier League this season, eight of which were at Old Trafford, which is not great, but after the last three seasons, it does show an improvement. United have lost three times in the league this season, one defeat less than league leaders Chelsea, which is not bad, but the defeats in the first nine matches this season seem to have defined United, not to mention the matches which they were winning but ended up drawing, or the matches which were draws with United not even being able to score a goal. Worrying times, but not as worrying as it has been since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. United will need to find something and fast, or another match which just breeds frustration instead of excitement will see more negativity return. Yes the #MourinhoOut brigade, that was for you.

United have another chance to take advantage of their poor season after Arsenal and Manchester City drew 2-2 at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon, which with their two games in hand, could help them lead their chase on Liverpool in the fight for a top-four finish this season, which is the minimum Jose Mourinho’s side need, or they will need to ensure they go all the way in the UEFA Europa League, in order to get that UEFA Champions League place next season, with the club banking on that to ensure their finances remain topped up. Saturday’s match was poor with United failing to score, but with Tony Pulis’ side putting in that tactical domination again, playing more men behind the ball than in front of it. That sort of playing pathetic in football. What is the point in playing for a draw, when you could go out and aim to win the match? I am sure Mourinho knows that he has problems to solve, but the fact that some are suggesting it was time he was sacked is getting pretty pathetic. I wonder if these were the same people who brought those ‘UNTED’ scarves with Mourinho’s face on during December 2015!

Match Officials: Mike Dean again! This should be fun…

Neil Swarbrick will referee the match, his seventh involving Manchester United during his career as a referee, two of those matches were this season; the 3-1 victory over Swansea City on the 6th November 2016 in the Premier League and the 4-0 victory over Wigan Athletic in the Emirates FA Cup. During those matches this season, Swarbrick booked two United players, both in the victory over Swansea; Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Juan Mata. The assistant referees for the match will be Constantine Hatzidakis and Scott Ledger and the fourth official will be Bobby Madley.

Form: United looking to remain unbeaten, the Baggies looking ahead to European possibility?

Manchester United: Manchester United still sit in fifth place in the Premier League, five points adrift of Manchester City in fourth and six points adrift of Liverpool in third but with one game in hand over City and two in hand over Liverpool. United sit just above Arsenal, whose supporters have been mocking United for occupying sixth place for more than 100 days, which is funny now they find themselves there after a poorer season than the last – decline seems to get like this. United have had a better season than the last three, losing only three matches in the league this season, one less than Chelsea, who are likely to win the Premier League this season. United have drawn 11 matches, though, which is a worry, but after last season will be seen by many as an improvement.

Everton: Ronald Koeman’s Everton side have had a good season. They currently sit in seventh place in the Premier League, just a point behind Arsenal, but the North London club have two games in hand over their challengers for a place in a European competition next season. Romelu Lukaku is the top scorer in the Premier League this season, but that has not propelled them into a place where they can challenge. Seventh might be where Everton finish this season, but it wil be a place where they can define their future, especially after reaching the early days of a new stadium in the city. Koeman will want to beat Mourinho at Old Trafford, but hopefully, Mourinho will want to beat Koeman, ensuring his side does just that.

Former Reds: Friends become foes…

Morgan Schneiderlin is the only former Manchester United player involved in the Everton squad this season and he looks set to miss the match through injury. The French midfielder signed for United from Southampton in the summer of 2015, boosting United’s midfield at the time, but after a season of woes, and a new manager coming the following summer, it did not work out at United for Schneiderlin, who was sold during the January transfer window along with Memphis Depay, who went to Lyon and shortly after, Bastian Schweinsteiger was released from his contract for him to make a move to the MLS,  now playing for Chicago Fire. Tom Cleverley was an Everton player after leaving United in the summer of 2015, with Schneiderlin seemingly taking his place in the squad, doing so again at the start of 2017. Cleverley was loaned to Watford, which that deal being made permanently last week, which will commence from the summer.

Who are the Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion Top Scorers this season?

Manchester United: 26 – Zlatan Ibrahimović, 10 – Juan Mata, 7 – Anthony Martial, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, 5 – Jesse Lingard, Wayne Rooney, 3 – Marouane Fellaini, 2 – Michael Carrick, Chris Smalling, 1 – Daley Blind, Own Goal, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Antonio Valencia

Everton: 22 – Romelu Lukaku, 5 – Ross Barkley, 4 – Seamus Coleman, Kevin Mirallas, 3 – Enner Valencia, 2 – Leighton Baines, Gareth Barry, Arouna Koné, 1 – Yannick Bolasie, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Tom Davies, Idrissa Gueye, Aaron Lennon, Ademola Lookman, James McCarthy, Matthew Pennington, Morgan Schneiderlin, Ashley Williams

Team News: Three players out through injury, two returning from suspension and Luke Shaw will be involved

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ander Herrera will be a welcome boost in the squad as they both return from suspension. Luke Shaw will now be involved in the squad fresh from the criticism after a summit meeting between him and Jose Mourinho took place on Monday. Wayne Rooney returned to action against West Bromwich Albion at the weekend and Paul Pogba was involved in a five-a-side training session after the match, which just leaves Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Juan Mata on the sidelines, all of whom will be out for a “long-time” according to the manager. Everton manager Ronald Koeman has bigger problems with seven players set to miss the visit to Old Trafford. Yannick Bolasie, Muhamed Besic, Ramiro Funes Mori and Seamus Coleman are all out for the long-term and Aaron Lennon, Morgan Schneiderlin and James McCarthy will be major doubts for the match.

Previous Meetings:

Manchester United and Everton have a history stretching back to the 24th September 1892. During that time, a total of 196 matches have been played between the two sides with United winning 85, drawing 42 and losing 69. The last defeat to Everton came at Goodison Park on the 26th April 2015 in which the home side won 3-0 with goals from James McCarthy, John Stones, and Kevin Mirallas. There have been four matches played since that defeat with United winning three and drawing the last meeting, earlier this season at Goodison Park with Marouane Fellaini giving away a penalty late on which levelled the score for the home side. On Tuesday night, both teams will be looking to get something from the match, with Mourinho’s side the ones that really need to stand up and show just what it means to win at Old Trafford.

Starting XI Prediction: Who is going to start against Everton?

Predicted Score:

Manchester United 2-1 Everton

copyright: JW