Manchester United ended their losing streak with a fortunate win over Villarreal in the Champions League in mid-week. Now they look to get back to winning ways in the Premier League against an undefeated Everton side.
Rafa Benitez’s side are a really unpredictable unit who could embarrass them if United are unable to improve their performances from the last few games. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side has the outside chance to head into the International break on top of the PL table, but to do so they must produce a clinical team performance.
Manchester United Likely XI
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles, Fred, Matic, Sancho, Bruno, Pogba, Ronaldo
Harry Maguire & Luke Shaw are expected to miss this because of injury. Marcus Rashford is still recovering & will return after the International break.
Everton Likely XI
Pickford, Godfrey, Mina, Keane, Digne, Townsend, Doucoure, Allan, Iwobi, Gray, Rondon
Everton have an injury crisis going on. Richarlison, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Fabian Delph, Seamus Coleman, Andre Gomes & Jean-Philippe Gbamin all ruled out for this one.
Manchester United vs Everton preview
Going into this match, Man United needs to get one thing very clear. If they produce a similarly lethargic, disappointing performance as the Villarreal game – lady luck probably won’t save them against Everton.
Rafa Benitez’s side are going strong despite injury issues & can prove to be a force to be reckoned with their slick counter-attacking soccer. The Red Devils’ have to perform much better as a team to get their mojo back at home.
Fortunately, Cristiano Ronaldo is a man in form. He lifted the team spirit with his last-gasp winner against Villarreal. He’s slowly growing more influence over United’s style and as long as CR7 gets the ball in some space inside the area, there should be plenty of goals.
Bruno Fernandes is growing in creative influence and has a very impressive record against Everton – having scored both times against them last season. He’ll aim to continue that by taking vicious shots on goal & also create chances with his sweet delivery into the area.
Jadon Sancho is starting to find his groove, but nothing can be accomplished unless he gets involved in goals. Sancho’s dribbling skills might be unplayable at times, but he has to be more decisive against Everton to finally break his duck.
Paul Pogba has experienced a slight dip in form in recent games. He’ll be intent on working his magic in midfield against Everton & use his excellent vision to create slick chances for his side. United’s front-four have to be on point against Everton, because the midfield pivot is likely to be very defensive – with Fred & Nemanja Matic aiming to ensure Everton can run through United.
Of course, Solskjaer will urge Alex Telles to romp forward after his amazing goal against Villarreal. The Brazilian wing-back possesses a sweet crossing ability, but must get into better areas to make good use of that. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is picking up form, as he’ll look to be a more influential threat by attempting better crosses.
Everton should be encouraged by what they saw from United in mid-week. Benitez will urge his side to take the fight to the Red Devils rather than just park the bus. They’ll be intent on launching pacey swift-breaks & test the hosts’ resolve.
Despite having many first-teamers injured, Everton still possesses some feisty attacking talent. Demarai Gray is proving to be one of the signings of the season, having scored 3 goals in 6 appearances so far. The young winger’s pace, dribbling ability & impressive finishing style is bound to terrorize defenders.
Salomon Rondon has plenty of experience of playing at Old Trafford. A clinical finisher, he isn’t one to waste chances if afforded too many. Andros Townsend’s dribbling ability & excellent crossing efficiency makes him another daunting prospect – while Alex Iwobi & Lucas Digne can link up to create a lot of danger on the left-wing.
United only has 1 clean sheet in all competitions this season. To improve that, they’ll have to be a significantly sturdier team than the last few games. Raphael Varane has to be flawless at the back to keep Everton quiet with his decisive challenges. Victor Lindelof also must maintain nice synch with his teammate & make clutch challenges to keep things in control.
Wan-Bissaka & Telles have a lot of work to do to neutralize Everton’s movement down the wings – while United’s midfielders also have to contribute defensively to frustrate the visitors. David de Gea has his Superman cape back in goal & will make clutch saves if needed, but too much reliance on him can be dangerous.
United have to operate as a smooth whole unit to dominate Everton. That involves moving the ball quickly, covering more ground & maintaining discipline all over the pitch. If able to do that & be ruthless in the attack, the Red Devils should head into the International break with a commendable win.
In the kind of form they’re in, I can’t see United winning this. But don’t see them losing (again) at home either. I’ll predict a 1-1 draw for this one.