Everton host Man Utd at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon in the Premier League. Everton’s superb start to the season has tailed off of late with consecutive away defeats in their last two but they face a Man United side in a crisis of confidence after a shock 2-1 defeat to Istanbul Basaksehir. Can Carlo Ancelotti’s team pile the misery on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and increase the pressure on the Man Utd coach?
After some strong transfer window recruitment, Everton impressively started this season. They won their first four Premier League matches (and their first seven in all competitions) but are without a win in three now. They drew 2-2 with Liverpool, lost 2-0 at Southampton and lost 2-1 at Newcastle.
The reason for the decline is easy to pinpoint – red cards for Richarlison and Lucas Digne have seen Everton playing with ten men and missing two big players to suspensions. James Rodriguez also missed the last match with a groin problem. They have had issues in creating chances and defending in wide areas without those players.
Everton Team News
Carlo Ancelotti will again have to make do without Richarlison and Lucas Digne up his left side due to suspension. Seamus Coleman, Mason Holgate and Ben Godfrey could all be missing in defence too and that leaves big question marks in both fullback roles.
James Rodriguez should be fit to return whilst Alex Iwobi is pushing to start on the left. Jordan Pickford was dropped for the last game in goal but could be recalled in place of Robin Olsen.
At home, Everton play on the front foot but with all their issues with injuries and suspensions, Carlo Ancelotti may be satisfied with a point. An abrasive midfield trio could be used to protect the weakened backline.
Man Utd Form
Man Utd have been very inconsistent this season in terms of performance and results. After losing 6-1 to Tottenham Hotspur, they bounced back with a four game unbeaten run. During that stretch, they beat Newcastle United 4-1, Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 and RB Leipzig 5-0.
In their last two matches, the side have looked very poor and lost 1-0 at home to Arsenal and 2-1 away to Istanbul Basaksehir which puts their Champions League qualification hopes in grave danger. Solskjaer’s team are six home league games without a win but have won six games on the trot on their travels.
Man Utd Team News
Victor Lindelof was benched for the last match with a back complaint but should return to start. Alex Telles is a doubt after testing positive for Covid-19. Anthony Martial returns from a three match suspension in the league and will start upfront. David De Gea, Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay, Fred and Mason Greenwood are all pushing for recalls after being benched in midweek.
Man Utd Motivation
Man Utd need a win but there is a sentiment that Solskjaer has been setting up defensively in league games in fear of losing, both the particular match and his job. A pretty basic approach with a narrow midfield diamond and two speedy forwards to counter-attack could be seen in this match.
Everton are 8 games without a clean sheet (all competitions)
Everton have seen BTTS Yes in 7 of their last 8 matches (all competitions)
Everton have seen over 2.5 goals in 7 of their last 8 matches (all competitions)
Man Utd have won their last 6 away matches (Premier League)
Man Utd have kept 4 clean sheets in their last 6 away matches (Premier League)
Anthony Martial has scored 4 goals in his last 6 matches against Everton (Premier League)
Man Utd have seen Over 2.5 goals in 4 of their last 6 matches (Premier League)
Neither side looks convincing in defence and with Everton’s suspensions and injuries and Man Utd’s imperious away form in the league, I am going for a win for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men with the game to have over 2.5 goals.