The first match of the Premier League weekend sees Manchester United host Everton. It is a contest that will have ramifications on the battles at both ends of the table. The home side will want to cement their position in the top four and they have an opportunity to move into third with a win, even if it could only be for a few hours. Sean Dyche will know that he can’t afford to write off any game and this is an opportunity to record another positive result against one of the top six.
The last week has been a mixed one for Manchester United. They were thoroughly outplayed last weekend by Newcastle United and they didn’t deserve anything from that game. During the week, they weren’t at their fluent best against Brentford, but they managed to record a crucial victory. The team will also take a lot of confidence that they managed to keep a clean sheet without Casemiro. It was an important victory and they will want to follow that up with another three points this weekend.
Everton are on the right track under Sean Dyche. It isn’t champagne football, but the team are scrapping for every point. On Monday, it would have been easy to fold after Abdoulaye Doucoure’s red card and Tottenham’s goal. Instead, the team rallied and they were the better side for the rest of the game, getting their deserved equaliser. If the Toffees do go down, it will not be without a fight and they are a dangerous opponent for Manchester United.
Since the resumption of the Premier League after the World Cup, Marcus Rashford has scored 11 times. No player has scored more during this period.
Demarai Gray is Everton’s top scorer with four goals. Only two other current Everton players have scored more than once in the Premier League this season.
Since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford has stepped up to become the main man at Old Trafford. His recent form has been exceptional and it is cementing him as one of the best players in the world. It may seem too soon to give him such a status, but his form has been breath-taking and he is showing a level of consistency that is very impressive. During the week, it was Rashford who scored the crucial winner. This season, he now has 28 goals across all competitions with 15 of those coming in the Premier League. Rashford has stepped up and he looks to be the primary goal-scorer that Erik ten Hag will build around. Everton will set up to be stubborn and restrict the space given to Rashford. However, he has shown time and time again that he can still carry a huge threat when teams try to shut him down.
The statement signing made by Everton last summer was Amadou Onana and he has been one of the standout performers in the squad. That doesn’t say a lot, as the team have been poor for long periods, but he is starting to perform consistently for Sean Dyche. He is averaging 3.7 tackles or interceptions per ninety minutes. Onana has battling qualities in the middle of the park, but he can also be an outlet in attack. The 21-year-old can win flick ons and offers a threat at set pieces. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him add to his single goal in the coming weeks. He is currently averaging 1.26 shots per ninety minutes, but he is getting more and more involved under Dyche. Against Tottenham, he had three shots, two of which found the target. Off the ball, he made 11 ball recoveries. It was a very impressive performance and was crucial in helping Everton battle to a point. His physicality will cause problems for Manchester United, who will still be missing Casemiro.
Luke Shaw was taken off with an injury during the week and he will be a big doubt for this weekend. Christian Eriksen is closing in on a return, but the match against Everton will come too soon. Casemiro will serve the final match of his suspension. Alejandro Garnacho remains on the sidelines.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is back in training, but Sean Dyche has yet to put a timescale on his return to the pitch. He could feature this weekend. Abdoulaye Doucoure will serve the first match of his suspension.
This is going to be another tricky test of Manchester United. They should have enough quality to get the three points as the match is at Old Trafford. Everton will try to unsettle the home side and Casemiro’s absence means that they are likely to have chances. However, the form of Marcus Rashford should be enough to get the win for Erik ten Hag.
Manchester United 2-1 Everton