Manchester United will be eager to return to winning ways when they host a resurgent Everton side at Old Trafford on Sunday evening
Gameweek 10 of the 2018-19 Premier League season will continue on Sunday, with several bigwigs of the English top-flight looking to get a move on. The final game of the day will feature Manchester United, who will be desperately seeking to get the winning feeling back when they welcome Everton to Old Trafford.
It has been a stop-start kind of a season so far for Manchester United, who have been unable to string together a run of positive results. Jose Mourinho’s men had approached the international break in a bright mindset following their comeback win over Newcastle United.
But, Manchester United have failed to end up on the right side of the result since then, following up their 2-2 draw against Chelsea last weekend with a narrow Champions League loss at the hands of Juventus. Their indifferent form in the league, meanwhile, has sent the Red Devils languishing at 10th on the Premier League table, with just 14 points.
Everton, on the other hand, are starting to find an identity under Marco Silva, which is starting to show in their performances on the field as well. While a few chinks still remain for the manager to attend to, the Toffees are certainly picking up pace, having won each of their last three Premier League outings to climb up to 8th on the table.
The corresponding fixture last season ended in a comprehensive 4-0 win for Manchester United, with Romelu Lukaku finding the back of the net against his former employers. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides on Sunday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the Premier League encounter.
Team News & Tactics
The injury woes are easing up with each passing week for Jose Mourinho, with the treatment room starting to empty up. Against Everton on Sunday, the Manchester United boss might be without as many as five first-team members, although two of these players are only minor doubts.
Those who will definitely miss out for the hosts are Diogo Dalot (match fitness), Marouane Fellaini (groin) and Alexis Sanchez (groin). Mourinho though, is hoping Scott McTominay (knee) and Jesse Lingard (groin) can make themselves available after stepping up their respective recoveries in recent days.
But, the two Manchester United academy graduates are only likely to be fit enough to make the bench, if at all. There is more good news in store, however, with Antonio Valencia available, and likely to start after Ashley Young’s underwhelming performance against Juventus.
The Manchester United captain himself is in need of some inspiration, which he can find from this exact fixture last season, when he scored a wonder goal. Apart from Valencia, the rest of the defensive unit should remain unchanged, with Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw, Victor Lindelof and David de Gea keeping their places.
Lindelof, in particular, showed exactly why he is rated so highly in the Champions League outing on Tuesday, and he now needs to continue in a similar vein. Meanwhile, Mourinho should retain the 4-2-3-1 formation once again despite the poor midweek result, which would mean Fred will have to suffice with a spot on the bench once again, with Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic likely to start.
Up ahead in attack, Lingard’s situation and the absence of Sanchez and Fellaini means the inconsistent quartet of Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Romelu Lukaku will be retained. Lukaku looks in serious need of a rest, but the injury situation continues to deprive him of some time off. But, an outing against his former side might just prep up the Belgian hitman.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; Pogba, Matic; Rashford, Mata, Martial; Lukaku
His counterpart might still be dealing with a number of injury concerns, but Marco Silva has no such predicament on his hands. Everton boast a clean bill of health, with each and every first-team player fit and available.
The latest player to return to contention for selection is James McCarthy, who has recovered from a gruesome leg break. But, the Irish midfielder will likely have to be content with a place on the bench, especially after Andre Gomes’ stellar debut last weekend.
The Barcelona loanee made a huge impression in his first ever Everton appearance, and his ability to drive forward and up the tempo of the game is exactly what Silva needs from his side. While Gomes will facilitate quick transitions, his partner Idrissa Gueye is an ideal foil for the Portuguese with his calm presence in the middle of the park.
Meanwhile, Cenk Tosun has given the Everton boss something to think about with his sprightly cameo. And, considering Richarlison has been struggling to come to grips with the task of being the focal point of the Everton attack, Silva might just opt to reinstate the Brazilian on the left flank, with his compatriot Bernard dropping to the bench.
Richarlison is not the only player who has been underperforming for the Toffees, with January signing Theo Walcott also not managing to operate at his full potential. With Ademola Lookman giving Silva a fine alternate option, the former Arsenal superstar needs to come to the party against Manchester United.
In defence, Silva has settled in on his preferred back four, with Seamus Coleman being the leader of the defensive line, Lucas Digne providing a creative outlet on the left, while Michael Keane and Kurt Zouma have struck up a formidable partnership. Jordan Pickford is the first name on the team sheet for Everton and will be hoping to extend Manchester United’s frustrations.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Zouma, Digne; Gueye, Gomes; Walcott, Sigurdsson, Richarlison; Tosun
- Manchester United have won 19 Premier League matches at Old Trafford against Everton. Only against Tottenham have they won more home games. (21)
- Manchester United have scored more goals (98) and won more games (35) against Everton in the Premier League than against any other opponent.
- Only in 2014-15 under Louis van Gaal (13 points) did Manchester United win fewer points from their opening nine games in a Premier League season than in 2018-19 (14).
- Everton could win four consecutive Premier League matches for the first time in two years.
- Everton are winless in their last 18 games against the “Big Six” sides (D5 L13).
1. Manchester United to win @ 1.72
2. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.75
3. Romelu Lukaku to score anytime @ 2.30
1. Romelu Lukaku to score 2 or more @ 8.00
Player to Watch
After a sprightly start to life as an Everton player, Richarlison has gone off the boil to an extent. The drop in form though, could also be attributed to his new role as the focal point of the Toffees’ attack, with the Brazilian struggling to come to grips with playing with his back against the goal.
The player’s record against the so-called “Big Six” sides does not inspire a lot of confidence either – he is yet to score in 13 such Premier League outings. But, against a stuttering Manchester United side, Richarlison has the perfect opportunity to break this duck and perhaps, inspire Everton to a popular win.
Manchester United 2-1 Everton
It seems as if the roles have been reversed from the corresponding fixture last season. Everton were helter skelter in the first two months of the previous campaign, while Manchester United went from strength to strength. But, that no longer seems to be the case for the two sides.
While there have been signs of a shift in form, it has been a case of one step forward and two steps back for Jose Mourinho & co. Everton, on the other hand, are getting into their groove, even if some of their players are not in the best of touch.
The Toffees might just end up taking the lead on Sunday. But, as has been the case with Manchester United of late, the hosts could end up coming back to life with their backs against the wall. This is also a fixture that sees a lot of late goals, and we predict Mourinho’s men to complete a comeback in the final ten minutes. The Hard Tackle is going for a win for Manchester United, albeit only by the odd goal.