Everton are currently 7th in the Premier League, after 3 wins, 4 draws and a loss. They sit just 3 points behind Manchester United and both teams have a +4 goal difference. Both teams have scored 12 and conceded 4.
This means that if Everton get an all too familiar win at Goodison Park today, they will leapfrog Manchester Untied into 3rd, or possibly 4th is Spurs beat Liverpool in the early kick off, then goal difference will dictate the standings.
The Merseyside Blues come into this game unbeaten in their last 7 games. Their last Premier League game was at home to their arch rivals Liverpool, who they drew 1-1 with.
The result saw Brendan Rogers get sacked and Liverpool hire Jürgen Klopp as manager, so that back fired.
At Goodison, the Toffee’s have won the last 3 games against Manchester United but their home form this season has not been great.
In 4 games at home, Everton have drawn 2, lost 1 and won 1, which was against Chelsea.
Everton made a huge signing this summer. They transferred Gerard Deulofeu in, from Barcelona, on a permanent deal, for only £4.2 million. The winger really impressed in his loan spell last season.
The biggest danger man for the Toffee’s, in terms of size and goals tally, is Romelu Lukaku. The big Belgian has 5 goals and 2 assists in the first 8 Premier League games this season.
For years now, Lukaku has been tipped as a huge talent, and it seems that since moving away from Chelsea, he’s been able to develop and mature as a top striker. People may forget that despite being an established Premier League striker, he’s still only 22 years old.
Another young star shining under Roberto Martínez is English attacking midfielder Ross Barkley. He has 2 goals and 3 assists this season and has been an excellent midfield feeder to Lukaku.
Barkley has evolved into a strong footballer whose composure and natural skill make him a very dangerous person to play against.
With 2 goals and 2 assists, Arouna Koné has been one of Everton’s top performers, despite being subbed on or off in every Premier League game this season. His rapid pace has proven to be lethal against tired defenders late in the game.
Chelsea transfer target John Stones could be injured for the match up. This would mean that Everton’s new Argentinean centre back, Ramiro Funes Mori, would probably start alongside Phil Jagielka.
Everton are also expecting to be without: Steven Pienaar, Tony Hibbert, Leighton Baines, Tom Cleverley and Muhamed Bešić.
There are two key battles that Manchester United need to stay on top of, in order to prevent another humiliation. The first is the Lukaku v United’s left centre back.
Who ever lines up next to Chris Smalling will have Lukaku all over them from the first whistle. Smalling will need to come across and enforce some tight man marking on Lukaku otherwise the big man will be able to bully his way past Daley Blind or Phil Jones with ease.
The second battle will involve United playing in the exact opposite fashion to how they did against Arsenal, and that’s by having a midfield presence.
Schneiderlin and Carrick are expected to start today which should provide some much needed protection for the defence.
Carrick was dire against Arsenal; it was as if he wasn’t even on the field. This will have to change against Everton’s strong attack.
The introduction of Schneiderlin will provide some necessary defensive midfield work. His battle will be to keep Ross Barkley away from the box.
This match up will almost certainly result in a booking for the Frenchman and possibly some Everton free kicks in dangerous areas but, most importantly, the opposition will not be allowed to free roam to the box.
19 year old Brendan Galloway and 21 year old Tyias Browning have been manning the Blue’s full back position, and their inexperience could be prayed upon by Juan Mata and Memphis Depay.
Anthony Martial, if given space, could prove to be the difference maker with his pace and dribbling against the comparably slow Phil Jagielka.
Gareth Barry will prove to be a huge pain to Wayne Rooney, who’ll be looking to get onto the scoreboard again. Everton’s Premier League veteran is a master at snuffing out attacking midfielders, which is a position that Rooney is already struggling with.
Predicted scoreline: Everton 2-2 Manchester United
The match kicks off at Goodison Park at 15:00.