Wayne Rooney returns to his old hunting ground as Manchester United host Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Two teams with contrasting midweek stories, Manchester United play hosts to Everton on Sunday. The Red Devils jogged their way to a comfortable 3-0 win over FC Basel, a performance that somehow left Jose Mourinho fuming. Everton, though, were handed a rude awakening on Thursday at the hands of Atalanta.
Despite spending upwards of £150 million, the Toffees were undone by the Serie A side, who had left Europe mesmerised with their football last season and has continued on the same path by the looks of it. Ronald Koeman’s side will be looking to shrug off the 3-0 defeat with a good performance at Old Trafford.
United will also be determined to please their own manager after Mourinho was left far from happy at their performance towards the end of the midweek match.
The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the fixture.
Team News & Tactics
The Red Devils will rue the absence of Paul Pogba, who pulled his hamstring and is set to miss a few weeks of action. Ander Herrera is the likely contender to take over the spot but as recent events as shown, the Portuguese boss might choose Marouane Fellaini ahead of the Spaniard.
Elsewhere, Victor Lindelof put in a good shift during the midweek and could be in with a shout to make his Premier League debut. Luke Shaw is also back in contention but could still be left out by the manager as he would prefer to start players with form and momentum in their favour.
It was the defensive frailties that cost United three points against Stoke, something that Jose Mourinho would look to rectify. United’s attack looks menacing and the stage is set for Romelu Lukaku to score against his former side on Sunday.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Jones, Blind; Herrera, Matic; Mata, Mkhitaryan, Rashford; Lukaku
Ronald Koeman has no fresh injury headaches to deal with. But, the Toffees boss has a whole another challenge in front of him. Two defeats in two matches – both 3-0 drubbings – will have put questions marks on the side’s ability to challenge for a place in the top 6, despite a season of heavy spending.
Phil Jagielka was very error-prone in the 3-0 loss to Atalanta
Dominic Calvert-Lewin has impressed in his displays and could return to partner Wayne Rooney upfront, who would be looking to mark his emotional return to Old Trafford with a good performance.
While Ross Barkley, Ramiro Funes Mori, Yannick Bolasie and Seamus Coleman all remain sidelined, Morgan Schneiderlin should also be in line to face his former club.
Ronald Koeman should ring in some changes after back-to-back losses and it will be interesting to see how the Toffees fare at Old Trafford, a ground that has recently been one of the better travels for the club.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Martina, Keane, Williams, Baines; Gueye, Schneiderlin; Rooney, Klaasen, Sigurdsson; Ramirez
1. Romelu Lukaku to score anytime @ 1.80
2. Corners in First 10 Minutes – YES @ 1.50
3. 2nd Half Result – Manchester United @ 1.57
1. Romelu Lukaku to score 2 or more @ 4.33
1. After facing Mark Hughes, who stretched his unbeaten run against Jose Mourinho to 4 games, the Portuguese must now face Ronald Koeman, who has the highest standing record, with Jose Mourinho facing the Everton boss more times (5) without winning than any other adversary.
2. Everton has fewer away wins (1) in 2017 than Sunderland (2) in the Premier League at this point.
3. Wayne Rooney has a poor record against Manchester United – losing all four of his previous encounters against his former side.
4. Main man – Gylfi Sigurdsson has been involved in six goals (3 goals and 3 assists) in six matches against Manchester United so far.
5. Romelu Lukaku needs two goals on Sunday to become the first player to score six times in the first 5 Premier League matches of his Manchester United career.
Player To Watch
It has to be Ander Herrera. Old Trafford’s new favourite and seemingly Jose Mourinho’s favourite as well, there are rumours of the dynamic between the player and the coach not being the same anymore. However, Mourinho now needs someone to step up and allay the potential effect Pogba’s absence will have.
Herrera has been dominant in midfield for United thus far and a good performance on Sunday, if he is picked, will go a long way in repairing the report damage in dynamic between Mourinho and the player.
Manchester United 3-0 Everton
The going has gotten tough for Ronald Koeman and all signs point towards it becoming even tougher. Their failure to sign a Romelu Lukaku replacement – Sandro Ramirez is going to take time to settle – has already started showing its effect on Everton’s fortunes.
And on Sunday, against the team against whom Everton has lost the most Premier League matches in their club history, the Toffees could make it a hattrick of 3-0 defeats. Romelu Lukaku is primed to score against his former opposition. We expect the Belgian to score in a comfortable win for United.