Manchester United take on Everton in their final game before the latest international break. As United play at 12:30 this lunchtime, they have a chance to go top of the table with a win. Everton will look for their first Old Trafford win since the David Moyes era of 2013. Here’s all you need to know about the match:
Manchester United vs Everton Match Facts:
Teams: Manchester United and Everton
Date: Saturday 2nd October 2021
KO Time: 12:30pm GMT
Location: Old Trafford
Managers: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Rafa Benitez
Referee: Michael Oliver
For Manchester United, it looks like Harry Maguire will miss out through the same injury that saw him taken off after an hour against Villa. Luke Shaw was seen back in training on Friday after missing Wednesday’s match through illness and has been selected for England duty by Gareth Southgate. Alex Telles came off with a slight injury against Villarreal and so is a doubt. Marcus Rashford returned to light contact training on Friday but seems unlikely to feature until after the international break.
Everton look set to be without four crucial players. The dangerous partnership of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison both look set to miss out with both midfielder Andre Gomes and club-captain, Seamus Coleman both ruled out of the tie. This means it’s likely Salomon Rondon leads the line for the Toffees and Benitez sets up with a back five to cover their leaky defence. What’s worse for the Toffees is Jordan Pickford is now a doubt for the match leaving an even more unreliable option in Asmir Begovic between the sticks. Although, as Pickford has been selected for England and played last weekend, I’m not sure how serious the injury is.
- While Manchester United have only lost one game against Everton in their last twelve meetings, they have only won six, drawing five. Of those, three have come at Old Trafford.
- Edinson Cavani has scored in all three appearances against Everton last season.
- Cristiano Ronaldo is set to make his 200th Premier League appearance for Manchester United this weekend.
- Manchester United are yet to record a home win over Everton under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, drawing both times.
- Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba boast excellent records against the Toffees. Pogba has one goal and three assists in eight matches against Everton while Fernandes impresses more with four goals and an assist in just four appearances.
Manchester United vs Everton Predicted XIs
I think United will make a few changes to the side on Wednesday. I expect Wan-Bissaka to come back in as Dalot was shocking. It’s a coin toss between Telles and Shaw on whoever is fitter. I will go for Shaw in this one as Telles may need a rest after a difficult match midweek. In midfield, it’s always a tricky one to predict. Matic would work if Everton chose to play in a back five but if they opt for Iwobi, Gray and Townsend in attack, it could be a struggle. I do expect Ole to return to McTominay and Fred and change things up if they are not being challenged defensively and are struggling to create.
In attack, Lingard has shone when coming off the bench but I expect he’ll do just that on Saturday. Pogba and Bruno are almost guaranteed to start and it’s just whether Sancho starts or Greenwood. Sancho looked impressive but just not quite there whereas Greenwood could do with a rest. I think with Benitez dropping deep, a more creative player is needed and Sancho fits in nicely with Ronaldo up top. With that in mind, I wouldn’t be surprised if Cavani starts this match with his high energy pressing and plus Ronaldo played the whole 90 and looked quite tired. However, you can’t not go with Ronaldo in a high stakes game.
As for Everton, without a lot of crucial players, I expect they will go for a back five and counter. I could be wrong as Benitez may smell blood with United’s defensive issues recently but I think he will play for a draw and see what else he can snatch. I think a back five of Godfrey, Holgate, Mina, Keane and Digne will aim to hold back and hit as many long balls towards Rondon as possible. Doucoure looks a good player in both boxes and I think he will keep his place with Allan in midfield.
In attack it’s not too tricky with the lack of players Everton have. I think Townsend, Gray and Rondon are guaranteed starters. It’s just whether Benitez chooses a back four and slots Iwobi into the number 10 role. That could be the decision that defines the game. Whether Solskjaer picks Matic or McFred and whether Benitez picks Iwobi or a back five.
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Varane, Shaw, McTominay, Fred, Sancho, Fernandes, Pogba, Ronaldo
Pickford, Godfrey, Holgate, Keane, Mina, Digne, Doucoure, Allan, Gray, Townsend, Rondon
I think United have everything it takes to win this game well. They are confident on the back of a big win and know a win would take them to the top of the table. I expect United to win the game but not keep a clean sheet. I would say United lead at halftime, concede an equaliser and then react and score a couple more. Typical heart-attack United style!
Predicted Score: 3-1 to United