Manchester United will be hoping to start the new year on the right foot, with a win over Everton at Goodison Park in the Premier League.
Everton have seen themselves stabilise their Premier League season after the advent of Sam Allardyce at Goodison Park. The former England manager is a master of mid-table teams, but it looks like he is proving himself in what is his first attempt at a job at one of the comparatively bigger clubs.
With Farhad Moshiri’s backing, Allardyce could become the long-term manager at Everton, even though he has been brought in as a stop-gap option. From one great manager to another, Jose Mourinho’s season has started to unravel real quickly.
Three draws in quick succession saw United slip to third on the table, with the title a fair distance away now. But, the fans have been more critical of the flat and toothless display by their side, especially when at home – a stark contrast to the United trademark.
Mourinho will now be looking to motivate his side enough to start 2018 with a win, at the very least. The match will not be an easy one for either side, with Everton and Manchester United likely to want to kick off the new calendar year on a positive note.
Their last encounter at Goodison Park ended in a 1-1 draw and both sides would hope they go one better on Monday. Ahead of their latest meeting, we take a closer look at the two sides.
Team News & Tactics
The injury issues seem to be easing up on Sam Allardyce. While Ramiro Funes Mori, Maarten Stekelenburg and Seamus Coleman remain sidelined for a considerable period, Ross Barkley is nearing full fitness, as is James McCarthy and Yannick Bolasie.
The latter two will be assessed before being included in the lineup. Barkley could also depart without playing a single minute of football this season for Everton, with the player linked to the likes of Chelsea and Tottenham. Idrissa Gueye should also be available for selection after recovering from a hamstring issue.
The absence of Coleman has been offset by the rise of Jonjoe Kenny while Cuco Martina has deputised well to cover for the injury to Leighton Baines. Phil Jagielka is unlikely to be able to handle a second game in three days, which means Michael Keane should partner Ashley Williams in central defence.
Wayne Rooney was rested to an extent in their defeat to Bournemouth over the weekend and the Manchester United record holder should return to the lineup to face his former club. Big Sam should ring in the rotation in midfield and attack as well, with Tom Davies likely to come in for Morgan Schneiderlin.
Oumar Niasse could come in for Dominic Calvert-Lewin, depending on the manager’s preference. Allardyce is likely to advise his team to sit deep, with the likes of Tom Davies and Wayne Rooney tasked with moving the ball forward with pace and precision whenever the opportunity of a counter presents itself.
Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Pickford; Kenny, Keane, Williams, Martina; Gueye; Bolasie, Rooney, Davies, Sigurdsson; Niasse
Romelu Lukaku is out for an indefinite period after he was stretchered off against Southampton. Jose Mourinho confirmed the news of Zlatan Ibrahimovic being out for a month, at the very least. This should see Marcus Rashford finally starting in his natural position as the striker.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan disappointed in his return to the starting lineup and is likely to not be afforded another chance and Anthony Martial should assume his place out wide. Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata should continue to start.
But, there could also be a surprise in the form of Callum Gribbin, who has trained extensively with the first-team. With the team set to play a second game in three days, Mourinho could test the youngster’s pedigree on Monday, if he does opt to rest either Mata or Lingard.
The defence held its own against Southampton, despite the visitors creating some very clear chances. Marcos Rojo should ideally return to the starting lineup, which could see Victor Lindelof being pushed to the right side of the defence, with Antonio Valencia still sidelined and Ashley Young banned for three games.
Young’s suspension could also see Matteo Darmian being thrust into the side at left-back, with Luke Shaw unlikely to play twice in three days. Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic started in the 0-0 draw and we could ideally see Scott McTominay being handed another start on Monday.
We could also see Jose Mourinho change his formation to 4-3-3 in order to bring more dynamism to the midfield and attack. In case this does happen, expect McTominay and Herrera to partner Pogba in midfield, with Gribbin and Martial on either side of Rashford.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): De Gea; Lindelof, Jones, Rojo, Darmian; Pogba, McTominay, Herrera; Gribbin, Rashford, Martial
1. Manchester United to win @ 1.75
2. Marcus Rashford to score anytime @ 2.60
3. Ovr 2.5 Match Goals @ 2.25
1. Manchester United Asian Handicap -1.5 @3.10
1. The Curious case of Clean sheets – Manchester United have failed to record a shutout in each of their last six away games in the Premier League.
2. Manager-e-Manager – Jose Mourinho is yet to taste defeat against Big Sam in the Premier League, winning 8 and drawing the other 3.
3. Good-ison – Everton have lost just one of their previous 5 matchups against Manchester United at home in the Premier League.
4. Goals Galore – Everton’s home games have so far seen an average of 3 goals per game – identical to the average number of goals seen in Manchester United’s away games so far.
5. Miser Marcus – Rashford has failed to score in his last 5 Premier League appearances.
Player to Watch
Flat, selfish, trepid – a lot has been made of Rashford’s recent performances. The player should return in his preferred role as the striker. With Ibrahimovic and Lukaku set to be out for January at least, Rashford’s performance against Everton is likely to be a huge determining factor in Mourinho’s transfer plans.
Apart from the influence in transfers, Rashford himself would be keen to show he has not lost his touch and is still the menacing presence he used to be.
Everton 1-3 Manchester United
Everton’s resurgence under Sam Allardyce is not really a surprise. Big Sam is a master of making do with what he has available and he seems to be doing the same at Goodison Park. However, their form of late isn’t much better than United, with the Toffees unable to register a win in their last 3 games.
This should be an entertaining encounter, with both teams likely to end their winless streak. Ideally, there should be no clean sheet for either goalkeeper. But, Rashford’s return to the forward line and the presence of young blood in attack should spur United on to a win.