Preview: Manchester United need to chew up the Toffees at Goodison Park to keep chase on Chelsea in top four pursuit; Fernandes and Ighalo key?

Preview: Manchester United need to chew up the Toffees at Goodison Park to keep chase on Chelsea in top four pursuit; Fernandes and Ighalo key?

Everton -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Goodison Park, Liverpool

Sunday 1 March 2020, KO 14:00 GMT

Referee: Chris Kavanagh Assistants: Lee Betts, Constantine Hatzidakis Fourth Official: Craig Pawson

VAR: Jonathan Moss Assistant VAR: Eddie Smart

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action on Sunday afternoon when they travel to Goodison Park to face Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have been in good form in recent weeks and are currently undefeated in their last seven matches in all competitions. The arrival of Bruno Fernandes has been great for United and with the way Odion Ighalo has played so far, goals are coming.

United currently sit three points outside the top four with Chelsea clinging on to their fourth placed position at this moment in time. However, with them facing Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday afternoon with the home side seeking to break away from the relegation places, beating Everton on Sunday will be important for United, to maintain the pressure on Chelsea win, draw or lose.

United will be entering another busy period with at least two matches each week for the foreseeable future with Derby County (away), Manchester City (home), LASK (away), Tottenham Hotspur (home), LASK (home) all coming before the first international break of 2020. United beat Club Brugge 5-0 at Old Trafford on Thursday evening, winning 6-1 on aggregate with goals from Fernandes, Ighalo, Scott McTominay and a brace from Fred.

Form: United unbeaten in their last six matches with Everton losing once in the last six – their last match. United seem to be in the zone with eight goals in their last two matches.

Manchester United: WWDWDW

Club Brugge 5-0 W, Watford 3-0 W, Club Brugge 1-1 D, Chelsea 2-0 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 D, Manchester City 1-0 W

Everton: LWWDDW

Arsenal 3-2 L, Crystal Palace 3-1 W, Watford 3-2 W, Newcastle United 2-2 D, West Ham United 1-1 D, Brighton and Hove Albion 1-0 W

Top Scorers: 71 goals scored by Manchester United this season with Everton scoring just 44. With Odion Ighalo off the mark and Bruno Fernandes’ magic, United could be set for dominant period.

Manchester United Goals: 19 – Marcus Rashford, 15 – Anthony Martial, 11 – Mason Greenwood, 4 – Scott McTominay, 3 – Daniel James, 2 – Bruno Fernandes, Fred, Own Goal, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Odion Ighalo, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Nemanja Matic, Andreas Pereira, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United seem to be on the way up again. Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo have added something to the squad since their arrival which can only get better. United have a player willing to bust a gut to get results and a striker who has the ability to do what a striker does in the box. In the last six matches, United have four wins and two draws, keeping five clean sheets, scoring 12 goals, conceding just one.

Everton Goals: 14 – Dominic Calvert-Lewin, 12 – Richarlison, 3 – Bernard, 2 – Tom Davies, Alex Iwobi, Yerry Mina, Gylfi Sigurdsson, 1 – Leighton Baines, Lucas Digne, Mason Holgate, Moise Kean, Michael Keane, Cenk Tosun, Theo Walcott

Everton are not having a great season, sitting in 11th place in the Premier League – five points adrift of United. For a club that said so much in the summer, they seem so far behind. In the last six matches, the Toffees have won three times, drawn twice and lost once, scoring 12 goals, conceding nine and keeping just one clean sheet. This makes it look like they could score against United but maybe not keep a clean sheet.

Team News: Six players could be out for United as they visit Everton with one player out of the match and two doubts. Ighalo to lead the line for United again with Fernandes pulling the strings.

Solskjaer will be missing Marcus Rashford (lower back), Paul Pogba (ankle) and Lee Grant (wrist) with the trio being the only current long-term injuries in the squad. However, Axel Tuanzebe (thigh) and Tim Fosu-Mensah (thigh) could again be missing from the squad. The manager confirmed that Anthony Martial (thigh), who was missing from the 5-0 victory over Club Brugge, was injured too, saying:

“He went off [during] training yesterday and had treatment. He reported this morning and had a fitness test. It’s not his hamstring, it’s his thigh, in and around the knee.”

Everton will be without Jean-Philippe Gbamin (thigh) who may not be back in action until April. Both Theo Walcott (knee) and Lucas Digne (muscle) could be back in action this weekend with both players having a 75% chance of recovering in time for Sunday’s match. Ancelotti will be happy with his squad going into the game as his side looks to better their Premier League position this season.

Predicted Starting XI: Ighalo leading the line supported by Daniel James and Bruno Fernandes with United seeking to chew up the Toffees?

United could go into this match without Anthony Martial, who missed the Club Brugge match. Odion Ighalo will be ready to lead the line again, and he did well against the Belgian side, scoring his first United goal. I expect Solskjaer to play three at the back again, a midfield four with wing-backs and two attacking players behind the striker, in this instance Bruno Fernandes and Daniel James because of the pace and ability offered.

Match Prediction: United have more victories over Everton but their last Goodison Park visit resulted in a 4-0 defeat so Solskjaer’s side need to get a result, keeping their current run alive.

United and Everton have played a total of 202 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1892. United have won 88 times, drawn 44 times and lost 70 times. United lost their last fixture at Goodison Park, conceding four goals in the defeat which was a devastating defeat for Solskjaer’s side. At Old Trafford this season, it was a 1-1 draw with Victor Lindelof scoring an own goal and Mason Greenwood getting the equaliser.

Prior to the defeat last season, United had an eight match unbeaten run over Everton, winning six times and drawing twice, scoring 16 goals, conceding four goals, keeping four clean sheets. United did have a twenty match unbeaten run against Everton which lasted a decade from 1995 to 2005. Solskjaer will be seeking a better result than his last visit to Goodison Park, aiming to take all three points back to Manchester, hopefully putting pressure on Chelsea.

Everton 1-3 Manchester United

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