The Red Devils travel to Goodison Park on Sunday for competing in an exhilarating league fixture against the Toffees. It’s a stirring game for both the clubs as the host are having aspirations to end the season on a high by finishing in the top half of the league table, while vibrant United would hope to start a new winning run, after their narrow disappointing loss to League leaders Chelsea in their previous game and also would wish close the gap with second placed Arsenal in table, as Gunners feature in an exciting fixture against the Blues at the Emirates and could potentially lose some precious points.
The Reds would adopt the rejuvenated 4-1-4-1 formation, as it displays the coordination of the entire team with specific roles entitled for every player. Further, it helps to have a stable defence with a holding midfielder sat back, for controlling the offensive play of opponent and on the flipside United’s full-backs and wingers could move forward and follow an attacking style of football by delivering quick, efficient crosses to the lone striker from different angles.
The outstanding Spanish keeper David De Gea would be the automatic pick in the starting team.
The back four consists of the enthusiastic left back Luke Shaw, strong centre back pair Chris Smalling and Phil Jones with experienced Ecuadorian right back Antonio Valencia.
Luke Shaw returned to the starting-11 against Chelsea, after serving the long term ankle injury. He was praised for his splendid performance in the previous game by former United player and club legend Gary Neville as: “He’s been the best attacker in the second half, it’s outstanding on his return.”
The selection headache for suitable centre back partner of Chris Smalling arose for the Red Devils coach Van Gaal, as youngster Paddy Mcnair was simply outstanding against the Pensioners in the league game, but the return of Phil Jones from ankle problem makes him a serious contender for starting against the Black Watch team.
The key holding midfield position is slotted for versatile Daley Blind, who is likely to be fit after missing the previous league game from ankle injury.
The opted central midfielders are commanding Marouane Fellaini and composed Ander Herrera.
The innovative Argentine Angel Di Maria and creative Spaniard Juan Mata would play as wingers. They are given free license by the United coach to sprint across the flanks and provide match winning crosses and assists. They show little vulnerability in tracking back the opponents, which is the only negative that they want to change to positive.
The decisive goal scorer Wayne Rooney (Captain) occupies the sole striker role.
Injury news and Suspensions:
Currently, all the United players are free from suspension, including the centre back Jonny Evans who is available for selection in the upcoming game, after serving the six match ban for the Spat with Newcastle United striker Papiss Cisse.
But, the Reds injury woes continue as Brazilian right back is ruled out for the rest of the season, with a rib damage he suffered during the under-21 game against Leicester City. Additionally, to rub salt in the wound, midfielder Adnan Januzaj limped off with an ankle problem in the same game.
The forward Robin Van Persie is in contention to be selected for the weekend’s game. The commanding Vice-captain Michael Carrick (Calf problem) has only an outward chance of featuring in this game.
Further, injured players like Phil Jones (Ankle), Daley blind (Ankle), Marcos Rojo (Groin) could return to the starting team, after having a late fitness test.
For the People’s club, all the players are free from suspension. James McCarthy and Leon Osman have enlightened the Toffees as they are likely to play. But, the integrated midfielder Steven Pienaar suffering from muscle fatigue is ruled out.
Other long serving injured players are Darron Gibson (Metatarsal fracture), Bryan Oviedo (Hamstring) and Tony Hibbert (Knee problem).
There are many tactical battles to be fought in the invigorating game between Everton and Manchester United, since the formations deployed both the teams is similar 4-1-4-1 (with a sole striker) which has the neutralizing effect in the midfield. A slight variation we could see in this game, for the man-marking role on Belgian midfielder Fellaini being Everton’s holding midfielder Gareth Barry would fulfil this role, similar to Chelsea midfielder Kurt Zouma, who was suited to this position in the previous game against Chelsea at the bridge.
So, it’s very essential for the Reds for not only by having possession and dominate the game (as they displayed previously), but also to play quick, diagonal passes and crosses by the midfielders and wingers to the striker to penetrate the defence. The powerful Fellaini should be the first target for the Reds during set-plays, as his ability to control the ball and shoot instantaneously would be the key in scoring goals.
Everton’s full-backs Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines would be happy to sit back and allow ball possession for the away team, but would utilize the opportunity to move forward during counter attacks. The threat of midfielders James McCarthy, Kevin Mirallas, Ross Barkley from long range should be sustained by United as they terrific ability to score from outside box during free-kicks (Dead ball situations). Romelu Lukaku is a key figure in the box and head crosses towards goal, so either Phil Jones or Chris Smalling should take responsibility in monitoring the forward’s movement and block the inward crosses. The pace of Aaron Lennon could also be a problem for the Red Devils, so the full-backs should be consistently watch his path and track back periodically, when ball is lost.
There would be no surprise among the fans if the game ends in a draw. Since two wonderful goal-keepers David De Gea and Tim Howard, both having great calibre to make crucial saves in important games are on show.
The sample illustration of the possible battles to be fought on the pitch:
The debutant referee for a United game this season is Andre Marriner and he takes the centre stage. His assistants are Scott Ledger and Dave Bryan. The fourth official is Robert Madley.
Both the teams head into the Sunday fixture having great momentum within their sights, as The Reds have won five of the last six matches, with only defeat to Chelsea at the Bridge. They have scored 13 goals in those six games, conceding just five along the way.
On the other side, Everton fancy their chances of winning this game, as they start in backdrop of five match unbeaten run in the league.
The previous league fixture between United and Everton at Old Trafford was a special game to remember for all the Red Devils fans, as amazing Spaniard David De Gea showed his heroics by making three crunch saves (including the penalty from Everton’s left back Leighton Baines) and ensured a precious 2-1 win for United.
Manchester United: Angel Di Maria (27’), Radamel Falcao (62’)
Everton: Steven Naismith (55’)
Overview and Players to look out:
The most anticipated Premier League weekend fixture that pops up in everyone’s mind is the battle between the Gunners and Chelsea. But, the game at Goodison between Manchester United and The School of Science is very significant, as any loss in points for either clubs could have direct impact in the points table at the top and bottom half respectively.
Enterprising Belgians to look out for:
Manchester United: Marouane Fellaini (Has terrific chest control and could haunt the Toffees by scoring the winning goal)
Everton: Romelu Lukaku (score stunning goals and turn the game upside down at any point in the game)