Everton suffered a major blow to their top 4 hopes as they suffered a shock defeat to Crystal Palace in midweek, so it is clear they cannot afford any more slip ups even if they are set to face the reigning champions next. David Moyes returns to Goodison Park for the first time since leaving the club last summer and with Manchester United trailing the Toffees by nine points, the Scottish manager desperately need to win this match and prove all the doubters wrong.
Regardless of the outcome of team’s top 4 challenge, there is every chance everybody at Everton will have been delighted by the impact new boss Roberto Martinez has had this season. The Spaniard did inherit a good squad from David Moyes, but he seriously improved it with several shrewd signings and left expensively assembled Tottenham and Manchester United sides to trail in their wake. Everton suffered an unexpected slip up at the worst possible time as they had just dislodged Arsenal from the fourth position, and given the difficult fixture list, the Toffees clearly face an uphill task in an attempt to clinch the final Champions League berth. Nevertheless, having played so well against England’s top sides at Goodison, Everton have reason for optimism ahead of the clash with Manchester United, a team they already beat at Old Trafford this season. In spite of the midweek loss to Crystal Palace, the Toffees should enter the game in good spirits and I can definitely see them pouring more misery on former boss David Moyes. Captain Phil Jagielka is unlikely to feature, but James McCarthy should be recalled to the starting line-up.
While he was always going to face a gargantuan task after being trusted to replace Sir Alex Ferguson in the Manchester United dugout, David Moyes has done much worse than anyone could predict in his first season at the club. In spite of some disappointing performances, the Scottish manager looks set to remain at the helm even after the summer, but he will have to work hard on improving the current squad during off season. The Red Devils have been showing some promise of late, with home loss to local rivals Manchester City the only under-par result over the last month or so, with the team even giving Champions League holders Bayern Munich a run for their money in both legs. However, Manchester United go into the Everton clash having not been in action for over ten days and it remains to be seen if that will be an advantage or not. The break has allowed Wayne Rooney to recover from a toe problem, while former fans’ favourite Marouane Fellaini should be fit to face his former club. The Red Devils have now won their last four Premier League fixtures on the road, but I believe the good run ends here.
Everton’s impressive run of results came to an abrupt end in midweek, but there is no way the Toffees will produce another disappointing performance. And having outplayed all top sides at Goodison Park this season, Roberto Martinez’s charges look they can defeat Manchester United as well.
Verdict: Home win Everton (1)
Best Odds: 3/2
Bookmaker: William Hill