Neither side has emerged with much credit after the first half dozen games of this Premier League season.
Big things were expected of both teams and it’s perhaps the fans on the blue half of Merseyside that will be the most disappointed.
Everton have looked a shadow of the side they were in Roberto Martinez’s first season, with record signing Romelu Lukaku particularly off the pace.
Only once, however, have they failed to find the target, against Swansea, so shoring up at the back is imperative for this one.
Defending against an in-form Angel Di Maria, Robin Van Persie and Radamel Falcao will be no easy task. Surely one from three will find the net against a side who have already shipped 14 goals in their six games.
Louis Van Gaal has defensive problems of his own of course, and only the linesman’s flag stopped West Ham from becoming the second team inside a week to come back from two goals down against the Red Devils.
Wayne Rooney’s petulance won’t have pleased his disciplinarian manager, and a further weakening of his side after the loss of their player-of-the-season thus far, Ander Herrera, gives the visitors a real chance of coming away from Old Trafford with at least a point.
Louis Van Gaal has a number of players on the verge of returning from injury, but this game comes a little too early for the likes of Chris Smalling, Michael Carrick, Phil Jones and Marouane Fellaini. How the Dutchman could do with one or two to shore up the spine of his side.
The loss of Ander Herrera with a back injury sustained against West Ham will hurt the Red Devils, as will the absence of ex-Evertonian Rooney, rightly dismissed after a shocking knee-high challenge on the Hammers’ Stewart Downing.
Seamus Coleman should return for this one after recovering from a head injury, replacing Tony Hibbert, but the trip to Old Trafford comes just too quickly for Stephen Piennar. Ross Barkley remains at least a fortnight away from contention so expect to see a relatively unchanged XI from Roberto Martinez.
Man Utd: De Gea, Shaw, Rojo, McNair, Rafael, Di Maria, Blind, Valencia, Mata, Falcao, Van Persie.
Everton: Howard, Baines, Jagielka, Stones, Coleman, McCarthy, Barry, Besic, Lukaku, Naismith, Mirallas.
- Man Utd. have scored 84 goals against Everton in the Premier League era, the most goals any team has scored against an opponent in that time.
- In the 16 times Wayne Rooney has played against Everton in the league since leaving the club in 2004, the England striker has scored in just three of those with a total of four goals.
- There has been just one goalless draw between the sides in the last 10 years.
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 9 of Man Utd’s last 10 home games in the Premier League.
- Man Utd have scored at least 2 goals in their last 3 matches in the Premier League.
Previous Head to Heads
20/04/14 Everton 2-0 Man Utd.
04/12/13 Man Utd. 0-1 Everton
10/02/13 Man Utd. 2-0 Everton
20/08/12 Everton 1-0 Man Utd.
22/04/12 Man Utd. 4-4 Everton
29/10/11 Everton 0-1 Man Utd.
Manchester United: Angel Di Maria
There are very few players that can walk through the door of the top footballing sides and immediately improve them. Angel Di Maria is one such player.
In the short space of time he has been in Manchester, his immense quality has been evident. Industrious and hard working are two pre-requisites when working for Louis Van Gaal and Di Maria has that in spades.
And the Argentine is one of that rare breed of player that genuinely scares defenders. Direct running with supreme close control, pace, power and a sprinkling of star quality. It’s an intoxicating mix.
Everton: Tim Howard
Unusual to pick a goalkeeper as a key player but entirely justified in this instance. The visitors go into Saturday’s lunchtime kick off knowing they have to shut up shop against the likes of Radamel Falcao, Robin Van Persie et al to have any chance whatsoever of keeping the score respectable, and perhaps even taking more than just a point.
Howard’s form has been exemplary thus far, though he has continuously been let down by those in front of him. Expect much of the same again as Everton’s number one faces an attacking onslaught, Howard will need to be alert, agile and at his very best if Roberto Martinez’s struggling side are to kick-start their season.
Manchester United continue to struggle for any sort of consistency both at Old Trafford and away from home. Despite the vast array of talent at his disposal, injuries have played a part in Louis van Gaal not really finding the right blend to this point.
He’ll be happy to receive an Everton side who’ve looked anything but the high-flyers they were during the last campaign, conceding the most goals in the division.
This one has score draw written all over it.