Manchester United will be looking to close the gap to the top four when they travel to Goodison Park to take on Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton on Sunday.

Manchester United will be aiming to extend their unbeaten streak to eight matches in all competitions when they face off against Everton at Goodison Park in matchweek 28 of the Premier League this weekend.

Since losing to Burnley at the end of January, Manchester United haven’t tasted defeat in their previous seven games across competitions (W5 D2). In fact, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have been in fantastic form heading to Sunday’s clash, having beaten Watford 3-0 last weekend in the league, before thrashing Club Brugge 5-0 in the UEFA Europa League.

Manchester United are currently fifth in the Premier League standings, just four points below fourth-placed Chelsea, who were held to a 2-2 draw at Bournemouth on Saturday. And Solskjaer will be hoping that his team are able to capitalise on that by cutting down the gap to just one point.

Everton, on the other hand, come into the game on the back of a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Arsenal. The Toffees have significantly improved since Carlo Ancelotti took over in December and are just four points behind Tottenham in the final UEFA Europa League qualifying spot. They will be hoping to get closer to the top six with a victory when Manchester United come visiting.

The reverse fixture, played in December, ended in a 1-1 draw with Mason Greenwood cancelling out a Victor Lindelof own goal. And ahead of the latest meeting between Manchester United and Everton, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both the teams.

Team News & Tactics

Everton

Former Manchester United midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin underwent a surgery on his knee and has been ruled out for the foreseeable future. Fellow midfielder Jean-Philippe Gbamin is also sidelined, while left-back Lucas Digne will undergo a late fitness test to determine his availability. Theo Walcott has recovered from his knee injury and will be available.

Ancelotti has extensively used the 4-4-2 formation since taking over the reins at Everton and is expected to stick with the same setup when Manchester United come visiting.

In goal, there is no looking past England international Jordan Pickford while former Red Devils defender Michael Keane is likely to return after missing the last game. He will partner Yerry Mina at the centre of the backline. Seamus Coleman is expected to come back into the side as well at right-back, while Leighton Baines should continue at left-back.

Alex Iwobi is expected to be retained on the right flank for Everton while Bernard, who did not start against Arsenal is likely to get the nod on the left. Fabian Delph will be tasked with shielding the backline, sitting deep in midfield. His partner, Gylfi Sigurdsson, who enjoys a healthy record against Manchester United, will shoulder the creative responsibility.

Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have forged an excellent partnership at the tip of the Everton attack and will look to cause the Manchester United defence problems with their movement and pace.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Mina, Baines; Iwobi, Delph, Sigurdsson, Bernard; Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison

Manchester United

Manchester United will once again be without the services of star players Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba while in-form striker Anthony Martial is also a major doubt heading into the game due to a thigh injury he picked up earlier this week. Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Axel Tuanzebe are closing in on returning to the first-team.

Solskjaer has stuck with the 4-2-3-1 formation in the last two fixtures and is expected to set his team up in the same shape again on Sunday afternoon. David de Gea ought to return in goal for Manchester United after being benched for the Europa League tie in midweek.

Just a solitary change is expected in the backline, with Victor Lindelof likely to return at the expense of Eric Bailly, depsite the Ivorian’s impressive performance against Brugge. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw are all likely to be retained in the lineup.

Fred put on one of his best performances in a Manchester United shirt in midweek and is without a doubt one of the first names on Solskjaer’s team sheet week in week out. Nemanja Matic, though, could return to the lineup after being an unused substitute last time out, with Scott McTominay likely to be benched given that he has only recently returned from injury.

Bruno Fernandes has made a huge impact since arriving at Manchester United in January and should be stuck with in the No. 10 role. Daniel James should be retained on the left flank while Mason Greenwood is likely to return to the side on the right in place of Juan Mata. Spearheading the attack for the Red Devils in Martial’s absence should once again be Odion Ighalo.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, Matic; Greenwood, Fernandes, James; Ighalo

Key Stats

  • Manchester United are winless in their last two league games against Everton (D1 L1), last going longer without a victory against them between October 1988 and March 1990 (four games).
  • Everton have won four of their last seven home Premier League games against Manchester United, including a 4-0 victory last season (D1 L2). The Toffees had only won three of their first 20 against them at Goodison Park in the competition (D3 L14).
  • Manchester United have won their last two Premier League games by an aggregate score of 5-0. They last won three in a row without conceding in January 2018.
  • Since losing 0-2 against Norwich City in Marco Silva’s last home game in charge, Everton are unbeaten in six Premier League matches at Goodison Park (W4 D2).
  • In all competitions, Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has lost each of his last three meetings with Manchester United – as many as he’d lost in his first 11 against the Red Devils (W6 D2 L3).

Player to Watch

Odion Ighalo

Ighalo got off the mark for Manchester United in midweek (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Ighalo got off the mark for Manchester United in midweek (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The loan signing of the Nigerian striker on the January transfer deadline day raised quite a few eyebrows. However, since joining Manchester United, Ighalo, in little time, has shown glimpses of what he brings to the table. The 30-year-old got his first goal for the Red Devils against Club Brugge earlier this week in what was his first start for the club.

With Anthony Martial sidelined, Ighalo is set to get another start on Sunday against Everton and Manchester United will be hoping that the Nigerian will be able to build on his midweek performance and open his goalscoring account for the club in the Premier League as well.

Prediction

Everton 1-2 Manchester United

Everton saw their five-game unbeaten streak come to an end last week when they were beaten 3-2 by Arsenal. However, under Carlo Ancelotti they have shown that they can go toe to toe with any team on their day and will certainly make life difficult for Manchester United on Sunday.

The Red Devils are on a seven-game unbeaten run in all competitions, conceding just one goal during that run. The addition of Bruno Fernandes has added that missing piece of puzzle in United’s attack and despite Anthony Martial’s potential absence, they will come into the game on high spirits after the midweek thrashing of Club Brugge.

Last time Manchester United visited Goodison Park, they were trounced 4-0. However, things seem much different now for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer & co., and going by their recent form, The Hard Tackle is predicting a 2-1 win for the Red Devils on Sunday, putting them on course for a top four finish.

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