Last season was the first time since the 2007/08 season that Manchester United defeated Everton in both clashes between the two teams in the Premier League and Jose Mourinho will be looking to maintain that on Sunday afternoon when he returns from a touchline ban to stand face to face with Ronald Koeman on the Goodison Park touchline.
The Toffees were frustrated last weekend as they were beaten by Southampton with Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley amongst those singled out for criticism after poor displays. It’s now three games without a win for Everton, who have only won one of the last nine matches in all competitions as the distance between them and the top five continues to grow after costly defeats to the likes of Bournemouth and Burnley, alongside a thrashing from Chelsea.
Mourinho’s side have finally found some form and are currently five games unbeaten in all competitions. A midweek victory over West Ham was much more convincing than their draw in the league at the weekend against the same opposition. The Red Devils have had more success away from home of late, following a convincing victory over Swansea, and will want to put up a fight to retain sixth place and not become separated from the top five.
Everton predicted starting XI Manchester United predicted starting XI
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There is likely to be only one change for Everton, with Aaron Lennon likely to drop to the bench after an ineffective display at St. Mary’s last weekend, with Gerard Deulofeu waiting in the wings. Kevin Mirallas will also come into contention, and Ross Barkley must produce to retain his place.
Mourinho faces a number of decisions, with left-back continuing to be a headache. Luke Shaw and Daley Blind played 45 minutes each and may displace Matteo Darmian, with the Portuguese boss not keen on any as long-term options. Henrikh Mkhitaryan also impressed and will come into contention but still struggles for gametime, with Anthony Martial’s brace likely to have earned him a place alongside Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic in attack.
Suspensions and Injuries
Arouna Kone and James McCarthy are both back in action on the training field for Everton but whether or not they will be fit enough to feature on Sunday remains to be seen, with Koeman unlikely to take any risks with two players who have been out for a while. Darron Gibson and Tyias Browning are also being closely monitored but are unlikely to make a comeback. Muhamed Besic is the only long term injury, with a return not expected until February.
Wayne Rooney is the only new absentee for United as he serves a suspension having picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against West Ham. He will be joined watching on from the stands at his former club by Chris Smalling, whose broken toe is nearing a recovery, and Eric Bailly who is now back in training but will not be risked for this fixture.
This one could go either way, with Everton in poor form but more than capable of putting up a challenge if they turn up. Manchester United will have to go out and prove a point this time round to show that they are capable of mounting a challenge for the Champions League by beating one of the league’s better sides, and it’s likely that they may finally live up to expectations. Manchester United win.
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