It has been a tough week for Everton, as back-to-back defeats leaves them perilously close to the relegation zone. This weekend, they welcome Manchester United to Goodison Park, as their task doesn’t get much easier in the short term. Frank Lampard is struggling to get a tune out of the squad and they are the team that has momentum going in the wrong direction. The visitors aren’t doing much better, as their Champions League hopes are on life support. Arsenal’s defeat last weekend means that there is still hope, but United need to be near perfect to finish in the top four.
Everton are now emerging as favourites for relegation, which seems mad considering the money that has been spent on the squad in recent years. They are an example of how not to build a club and even if they do stay up, the short term future looks difficult. Lampard was thought to be the man to motivate the current squad, but the performances in recent weeks have been really poor. They seem to lack discipline and are leaking soft goals two or three times each game. It looks to be the perfect recipe for relegation. The only positive has been the atmosphere at Goodison Park. Supporters will hope that will be enough to motivate a surprise result.
Manchester United are three points behind Tottenham and remain in the race for top four after Arsenal’s recent defeat. They are outsiders, but they have the talent to significantly improve their recent performances and get into the top four. This weekend offers a great chance to get back to winning ways. Every individual is playing for their future at the club, therefore there should be motivation for the players. Ralf Rangnick hasn’t been as successful as an interim manager, but he still has a chance to achieve something at Old Trafford.
- During their defeat to Burnley, Everton only conceded four shots on target, but three went in the back of the net.
- Only Leicester City (47) have conceded more goals than Manchester United (41) in the top half of the Premier League.
Despite the team’s poor position, Richarlison has started to show flashes of good form in the final third. During the week, he scored twice from the spot. This followed his good performance at the weekend, when he grabbed an assist against West Ham United. His return for the season is six goals and four assists. It isn’t fantastic, but he is starting to find form at the right time. Everton will need him to maintain his recent standards if they are to avoid relegation. He has the quality to fire them to safety and his performance in the week shows that he has the hunger for the fight. The Brazilian is one of the few players that will attract interest in the summer, therefore he has personal motivation to end the campaign strongly.
Bruno Fernandes has committed his future to the club in recent weeks by signing a new contract. He is one of the players that will be built around during another summer of rebuilding at Old Trafford. The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo probably had a negative impact in the short term, but Fernandes has managed to emerge as the key player for United once again. In 2022, he has been one of the best players in the Premier League. He won’t be giving up on the team’s fight for a top four finish, as he will want to be playing in next season’s Champions League. This season hasn’t been as good for Fernandes in front of goal, with a return of nine goals and six assists. It is likely that these numbers will increase by the end of the season. If he manages to reach ten for both, it will represent another excellent season for him personally.
Michael Keane and Allan will both return from suspension this weekend. However, Donny van der Beek will be unavailable to face his parent club, while Yerry Mina and Andros Townsend remain on the treatment table. Andre Gomes is a doubt with a knock.
Cristiano Ronaldo should return from illness. Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard are both doubts for the visitors. Edison Cavani’s return date remains unknown.
Everton are a better team at home, with their last Premier League match at Goodison Park resulting in three points. They will be hoping that they are facing another team low on confidence and the home crowd can drag them to a crucial result. However, the morale looks so low within the squad at the moment. It is difficult to see them beating a team with the talent of Manchester United. Despite the visitors own poor form, they have the players to punish Everton’s poor defence.