David Moyes takes his Manchester United side to Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon, his first return to the blue half of merseyside since leaving the toffees in the summer. The reds go into the game nine points adrift of the opposition, knowing that only a win will keep even the bleakest hopes of finishing in that fourth Champions League spot alive. Moyes himself is expected to get a hostile reception from the home support after last summers antics and the Scotsman will be determined to silence them.
The headline team news for Manchester United ahead of Sunday’s late kick off is that Wayne Rooney is fit again and available for selection following his toe injury. Marouane Fellaini is also available to return to his old hunting ground after shrugging off a calf injury but unfortunately Rafael Da Silva is out of contention with a thigh problem. Jonny Evans is also still unavailable with his long term calf injury and Robin Van Persie of course is still restricted to the sidelines. Taking all this into consideration, here is the side Moyes may pick when returning to his old club:
David De Gea is again a certainty to start in the United goal and has undoubtedly been one of United’s stand out performers this campaign. The 23 year old is likely to have a busy afternoon on merseyside and will have to keep his wits about him in what promises to be a hostile atmosphere.
With Rafael Da Silva unavailable I would expect the manager to opt for the reliable Phil Jones in the right back position. Chris Smalling should almost certainly get the nod in the centre of defence after his admirable performance in Munich and Nemanja Vidic is likely to partner him as United will look to cope with the strength of Lukaku. Patrice Evra is then sure to be a starter at left back meaning United would line up with the same back four which took to the field in The allianz Arena.
David Moyes has a fully fit midfield to pick from on Sunday and I expect him to go with Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher in the centre of the park like he did in Munich. Juan Mata is a certainty to return to the side and after his brilliant recent form and the manager will of hopefully learnt that his best position is in that number ten role. Shinji kagawa also deserves to start after his recent good form but unfortunately the manager is likely to go with Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck on the flanks with their workrate considered when dealing with the threat of Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines.
With Wayne Rooney apparently fully fit again following his toe injury he will more than likely start up top as it is fully evident he is Moyes’s main man. I expect Juan Mata to of course tuck in behind him and Danny Welbeck to come inside on occasions from his wide left position.
Predicted Starting XI
Jones, Smalling, Vidic, Evra
Valencia, Mata, Welbeck