Sunday 28th October 2018
Everton take the short trip to Old Trafford this Sunday to take on Jose Mourinho’s out of sorts Manchester United side. The Blues are now beginning to settle, enjoying three wins in three and keeping two clean sheets in the process. This recent run of good form has seen the Toffees rise to eighth. For United, its a turbulent time to say the least, not helped by Tuesday nights 1-0 defeat at home to Juventus, in which they were comfortably second best. The Red Devils are sure to be eager as ever to bounce back and put the midweek result to the back of their minds.
Last weeks performance against Palace highlighted everything that Marco Silva is slowly integrating into his side. Even though the game didn’t see the Blues at their best, what it did indicate was the side beginning to find a way to win ugly. Right from the start the pressure on the ball when not in possession displayed a fitness that has been sorely lacking in recent times, seeing the Eagles back-line constantly pressured into mistakes and the loss of the ball. Another huge positive was the defensive solidity of the side, apart from the penalty and the two big chances off corners that were conceded, the Blues managed to limit Palace to any other real clear-cut opportunities. Thirdly, the capability of the team to keep playing right the way into the final minutes, which was in no small part, down to Silva’s inspired substitutions. The constant effort to search out the win and ultimately clinch the much needed three points in a game that had been otherwise very close displayed a degree of character within the set up.
The only real down side of last Sundays performance was the vulnerability of Everton off corners. Not just Sunday, but a consistent feature this season for the Blues has been their struggles to deal with set pieces, although its early days under Silva and a defence that is still learning each others game, its obvious that this is an area that needs drastic improvement and quickly.
The injury list is now a much shorter one for Everton. After seeing the long awaited debut of loanee Andre Gomes last weekend, fans may this weekend experience big money signing, Yerry Mina’s first appearance after spending the duration of last weeks game on the bench. However the game will be too soon again for James McCarthy as the Irishman continues his recovery and youngster Baningime also remains out.
After a shambolic first half against Newcastle two weeks ago, United’s performances in the league have considerably improved since. Coming back to win the game against the Magpie’s 3-2 in a resurgent second half to then drawing 2-2 away at Stamford Bridge last week where they had every right to feel hard done by, after being on top for long periods and conceding a late equaliser courtesy of Ross Barkley. Whilst the current situation around the Reds remains far from ideal, one thing that has been displayed in their last few league outings, is a willingness to fight.
Last weeks game once again saw United under perform in a first half where Chelsea dominated proceedings. However, the second half was a whole different story which saw Anthony Martial spearhead the reds revival, scoring a brace. The winger displayed a real desire to get up and down the wing and run at the Chelsea back-line whenever possible, showcasing his ability on the ball. Although United ultimately drew the game, before tensions boiled over on the touch-line, the second half performance of the Reds was one the side can hold in positive light.
Heading into Sunday, United will be eager to put the midweek defeat to Juventus out of their minds and relieve the weight once more off Mourinho’s shoulders. Considering their last two league results and the record that the Toffees hold away to the big six, there is no reason why the Red Devils shouldnt be feeling that this could be a perfect opportunity to kick-start their campaign.
United do have a few injuries to worry about going into the weekend. Marcos Rojo will definitely miss the game as the defender recovers from a knock, Jesse Lingard remains out with a groin strain aswell as Alexis Sanchez. Also missing out will be Antonio Valencia after the defender had minor surgery. Young right back Dalot will too be absent whilst Marouane Fellaini and Scott Mctominay are both slight doubts and will continue to be assessed.
Going into the game, Everton will see this as an ideal time to come up against a Manchester United side enduring a torrid time. With the Toffees recent run of form and new-found solidity, fans will be feeling more confident about their trip to Old Trafford, than they perhaps normally would. United will be desperately hoping for a good result. Three points would see the Reds leapfrog Everton and possibly elevate them to sixth.
Can Marco’s men put the under-performing Reds to the sword or will United once again see off Everton at Old Trafford?
Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; Pogba, Matic; Rashford, Mata, Martial; Lukaku.
Everton: Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Zouma, Digne; Gueye, Gomes; Walcott, Sigurdsson, Bernard; Richarlison.
Manchester United 1-1 Everton.