Manchester United will be looking to give their top-four chances a major and much-needed boost when they travel across the northwest to take on Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon (4pm on Sky Sports 1).
Jose Mourinho’s men were held to a draw in their previous Premier League encounter, with West Ham United escaping Old Trafford with a point. That result left the Red Devils 11 points adrift of Chelsea at the summit of standings and eight behind Arsenal in the final Champions League qualification spot. Man Utd are already massive underdogs to finish in the top four despite the fact that only 13 matches have been played.
It has undoubtedly been a highly disappointing start to the season for the 20-time English champions, but United have actually played better than their results would suggest. They were extremely unfortunate not to beat Burnley, Arsenal and Stoke City at Old Trafford, for instance, with those six dropped points perhaps set to prove decisive as the club attempts to secure a return to Europe’s foremost international competition this season.
Everton’s 1-0 reverse against Southampton last time out means they have won just one of their last eight top-flight fixtures, although Ronald Koeman’s side are still in a reasonably strong position in the table. The Merseysiders currently find themselves in seventh spot, just a single point behind United in the place directly above them.
The next few weeks could be pivotal in determining the direction of Everton’s season. A top-seven finish was presumably the aim in Koeman’s first year at the helm. It is too early in the Dutchman’s tenure for Champions League qualification to be seen as a realistic objective by anyone associated with the club. A continuation of their recent poor form could see this become another campaign of underachievement for a side who failed to reach the heights expected of them under the tutelage of current Belgium boss Roberto Martinez.
Man Utd will again have to do without captain Wayne Rooney (banned) and central defensive duo Chris Smalling (toe) and Eric Bailly (knee), although midfielders Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini are both available after missing Wednesday’s EFL Cup victory over West Ham through suspension.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan could keep his place in the starting XI after impressing in that 4-1 win, while Anthony Martial (pictured) will also hope for a Premier League recall following his own fine performance in the midweek defeat of Slaven Bilic’s side. Michael Carrick could make way in midfield, while Daley Blind is in line to replace Luke Shaw at left-back.
For Everton, James McCarthy (hamstring) and Matthew Pennington (hamstring) will be missing, while Mo Besic is a long-term absentee with a knee injury. Everton’s poor recent record could prompt Koeman to make some changes to his starting line-up, with Gerard Deulofeu, Kevin Mirallas, Mason Holgate, Ramiro Funes Mori and Tom Cleverley among the contenders to come into the side after spells on the substitutes’ bench or outside the matchday squad.
At the top of the pitch, the Toffees will be relying upon Romelu Lukaku to end his disappointing run in front of goal. The Belgium international has found the back of the net on just one occasion in his last five Premier League appearances.
Our Preview’s Everton v Man Utd Betting Tips
In our attempts to get the better of the bookmakers, we believe Manchester Utd can come out on top and collect all three points on Sunday afternoon. Mourinho’s charges have, for the most part, performed well this term and should have too much attacking quality for Everton at Goodison Park. So our preview’s betting tips’ verdict is for an away win, with Martial a tempting proposition to make the net ripple at any time.
- Manchester United to beat Everton at best betting odds of 23/20 with Betfred.
- We anticipate that Anthony Martial will score at any time at biggest odds of 16/5 (just over 3/1) with Unibet.
Greg Lea is a freelance sports writer. Read the articles that he has written at Just Bookies.