Goodison Park, Liverpool
September 11, 2010; 5:15 PM IST – Live on ESPN
Manchester United travel to Goodison Park to play first of three big matches in a grueling eight-day period. With Rangers and Liverpool in line, Sir Alex will be hoping to gain maximum points from this fixture. The game will be under a greater spotlight, as Wayne Rooney returns to his boyhood club amidst problems surrounding his private life.
Everton boss David Moyes would be keen to turn around the worst start for Everton in eleven years, as his team has managed only one point in the first three games of the new season. Their only point came against lowly Wolves at home, while they have suffered away defeats to Aston Villa and Blackburn in the other two games.
Sidelined until Christmas!
Although Everton started the season rather unfamiliarly with almost no injury concerns, they have suffered a major blow as starlet Jack Rodwell has been ruled out until Christmas following an ankle injury incurred at Villa Park. Luis Saha will also be missing the game, after he lasted only ten minutes of his international return for France, but club-captain Phil Neville is fit and expected to be involved.
Manchester United, on the other hand, will be hoping to go top of the table , with Chelsea and Arsenal not playing until later in the day. Sir Alex would be hoping for an improved performance from his team’s last two outings at this ground. Last season, his team was completely outplayed in a 3-1 defeat ,while they could only manage a draw the season before.
United would welcome the return of Rio Ferdinand, who has been out with injury since the end of last season. After initially being ruled out till the end of September, Rio has made recovery ahead of schedule, much to the delight of the fans and his manager. On the other hand, United have suffered a setback with Michael Carrick being ruled out for three weeks due to an Achilles problem. Anderson suffered a knock in midweek while playing for the reserves and is not in the squad for this game. Brown and Neville are also nearing first team return, while Hargreaves continues to be a long-term absentee.
Probable Starting Line-ups
Key Match Facts
1) Everton are unbeaten at home since November, when Liverpool beat them 2-0.
2) United have not lost away from home since their defeat in the corresponding fixture last season.
3) Wayne Rooney last scored an away goal in the league at the Emirates in January.
4) Cahill is two short of a century of Premier League goals.
TheHardTackle’s Player To Watch Out For
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
All eyes would be on him for more reasons than one. He is expected to get a hostile reception from the Everton faithful as they still cast their eyes upon him as a betrayer. The alleged claims of infidelity on Rooney would also provide a cause for the raised voice of the home fans. Rooney dealt with the pressure brilliantly while playing for England, but this is a different cup of tea all together. Everton defenders might find difficult to cope with him if he continues his last week’s form.
Man to watch out for more than one reason
The Red Devils will be looking to build on their good start to the season. Everton will find it hard to score, with their top strikers out due to injury and Ferdinand back for United.