Manchester United vs Everton
Barclays Premier League (Sunday 10th February, 2013 – 16:00 KO)
Manchester United (1st)
Home record: P12 W11 D0 L1 F32 A15 Pts33
Home form: W W W W W W
Home record v Everton: P90 W50 D22 L18 F155 A87
Sir Alex Ferguson on the potential difficulty of Sunday’s encounter: “It’s a tough game on Sunday… Everton are very experienced… they’ve only lost three games this season. They’re obviously hard to beat.”
United players came through the international week unscathed. Ashley Young is fit again and available for selection. Phil Jones, who was on death’s door according to Stuart Pearce, is also back in the first team fold. Michael Carrick, who missed England’s win over Brazil, will feature. Otherwise, with the exception of Darren Fletcher, Sir Alex has a full-fit squad to choose from. Selection will, of course, be made with half an eye on Wednesday’s Champions League last 16 tie with Real Madrid.
Predicted United line-up: De Gea, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Nani, Anderson, Carrick, Giggs, Rooney, van Persie
Away Record: P12 W4 D6 L2 F18 A14 Pts18
Away form: L D D W W D
Everton manager David Moyes on his side’s Old Trafford approach: “You have to try to have a go at Manchester United. I don’t think you can sit back and allow them to dictate the game.”
Despite reports to the contrary, Marouane Fellaini should be fit to play (boo! etc). While he is their top scorer with 10 league goals, before last weekend’s match-saving double against Aston Villa, the big Belguim had gone 6 games without scoring. Tony Hibbert (calf) and Seamus Coleman (thigh) remain on the treatment table and will definitely miss out. Otherwise, like United, Everton came through the international programme relatively unscathed.
Predicted Everton line-up: Howard, Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Mirallas, Gibson, Osman, Pienaar, Fellaini, Jelavic
Recent meetings at Old Trafford
United 4-4 Everton (22-04-12), United 1-0 Everton (23-04-11), United 3-0 Everton (21-11-09), United 1-0 Everton (31-01-09)
Mark Halsey. The Lancashire official has brandished 28 yellow cards and 2 red cards in 12 Premier League matches this season. He has also awarded 6 penalties, including 2 to United – van Persie’s winner at Anfield and a Rooney effort at Reading.
2012/13 head-to-head (PL)
Goals: (United) 60 – (Everton (40)
Conceded: 31 – 30
Top scorer: Robin van Persie (18) – Marouane Fellaini (10)
Assists: Wayne Rooney (7) – Steven Pienaar (4)
Most appearances: Robin van Persie (22/3) – Tim Howard, Leighton Baines, Leon Osman, Phil Jagielka (25)
Disciplinary: 43 yellows, 0 reds – 37 yellows, 2 reds
Shots per game: 15.2 – 17.2
Average possession: 56.7% – 52.8%
Pass success rate: 86.0% – 79.3%
Best passer: Michael Carrick (79.7/87.9%) – Leon Osman (51.4/85.7%)
Despite Everton’s recent good form against United, they haven’t recorded a win at Old Trafford since the August of 1992, Peter Beardsley scoring first in a 3-0 win.
An appearance for Ryan Giggs will draw him level with Billy Foulkes on a club record 32 matches against Everton. The Welshman can also equal Dennis Law’s record of 8 goals versus the Toffees should he find the target.
Everton have dropped 16 points from winning positions this season. They have, however, also gained 21 points from losing positions. Only one side can better this record of points recovery: Manchester United (27).
Should Phil Neville feature, he will make his 300th Everton appearance. He made 386 appearances for United.
Leighton Baines has 5 league goals, only 1 more than United own free-scoring left-back, Patrice Evra. Both have scored more than any of their respective sides’ midfielders.
United have won their last 9 matches at Old Trafford; Everton have lost only 1 of the their last 13.
Score prediction: United 2-1 Everton
What do you think the score will be on Sunday?