Man Utd host Everton in the English Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday night. The hosts sit in 2nd place in the table with a three point gap to Man City at the top. Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton side are four points off Liverpool in fourth and will hope to close maintain their challenge for Champions League qualification.
Man Utd Form
Man United thrashed Southampton 9-0 in their last match having played against ten men for 84 minutes and then scoring their final three goals when Saints went down to nine men late on. That response puts to bed any concerns about a genuine blip having drawn 0-0 at Arsenal and then losing 2-1 at home to Sheffield United.
Prior to that, United that won 10 and drawn three matches in a superb run of form in the Premier League. With favourable fixtures ahead, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team will again be looking at a title charge.
Man Utd Team News
Man Utd have a doubt over Edinson Cavani up front as he has a swollen ankle. He is doubtful for this match and will probably miss out so Anthony Martial should start up front. Paul Pogba was rested for the Southampton thrashing but should return to play in midfield in this match.
Luke Shaw was taken off at half-time of that match to rest him (with Fred dropping to left-back) and he will start ahead of Alex Telles. At centre back, Eric Bailly may come in to partner Harry Maguire to freshen up the side.
Man Utd Motivation
To win. A draw would be a poor result with how well Man City are playing. United have been struggling at home this season against teams who sit back in a low block. They will have seen Everton’s recent run of form when taking the lead and being able to absorb pressure so a fast start and trying to get an early goal is key.
The Toffees have been in very good form since December, besides two notable off days, and are just four points off the fourth Champions League place. They beat Chelsea, Leicester, Arsenal and Sheffield United in December.
Everton have been quite inconsistent in the five matches that have followed. A shock 1-0 loss at home to West Ham after an 86th minute goal was a blow but Everton responded by winning 2-1 at Wolves. A somewhat fortunate 1-1 home draw against Leicester was next before two goals in the final 17 minutes to loss 2-0 at home to Newcastle.
In their last match, Everton won 2-1 at Leeds in a disciplined performance to control the attacking threat of Marcelo Bielsa’s team.
Everton Team News
Everton have two major injuries to deal with as Allan is still out, though is nearing a return in the defensive midfield role. Jordan Pickford missed the last match with a rib injury but he has been making constant howlers and is no loss in his current form. Robin Olsen plays in goal.
Josh King made his debut in the last match from the bench and James Rodriguez was an unused substitute in a tough away game. Carlo Ancelotti may again go with Alex Iwobi in preference to him for the game at Old Trafford.
Ancelotti has had success recently but playing quite defensively against the bigger sides and frustrating them. He may be tempted to recall Michael Keane and to play Ben Godfrey at left-back to give a tall, narrow backline. If Iwobi is selected ahead of James Rodriguez then you can tell that they are going to play on the counter attack.
A draw would be seen as a very good result and though they may not actively settle for one from kickoff, they may play for a point in the second half if they have something to protect.
Man Utd have lost 1 of their last 16 PL matches (W11, D4)
Man Utd have lost 4 of their 11 home PL matches
Man Utd have kept 4 clean sheets in their last 6 PL matches
United have seen over 2.5 goals in 4 of their last 5 home PL matches
Everton have won their last 4 away PL matches (6 unbeaten)
Everton have seen over 2.5 goals in 4 of their last 7 away PL matches
The Toffees have won 6 of their last 9 PL matches
The most logical result would be a home win but Everton have every chance of taking a point from this match considering their form and confidence and United’s tactical issues against resolute defences.