20th August 2012
The start of the new Premiership campaign has been just as exciting as the finish of the previous one and it is only fair to expect fireworks at Goodison Park as well. Ever-improving Everton have finally properly reinforced their attack, whereas last season top scorer and arguably the biggest signing of the transfer window Robin van Persie is set to make his debut for United, so the odds are we will see a great game of football on Monday night.
Operating on a very tight budget, David Moyes has been doing wonders with Everton over the last few years, but the team always lacked some quality and strength in depth to enter the race for European places. The Toffees have done well to sign Darron Gibson and Nikica Jelavic in January, and with Steven Naismith, Steven Pienaar and Kevin Mirallas arriving this summer, they finally look completely prepared for a demanding Premier League campaign. Jack Rodwell may have left for Manchester City, but given that he was not exactly first team regular, this can be seen as a good deal for the club, especially as the money from the transfer can go a long way for a club like Everton. The Toffees had some mixed results in pre-season, and boss David Moyes has fitness worries over Marouane Fellaini and Darron Gibson before the season opener, but I have no doubts the hosts will give their best to make life difficult for Manchester United. Let’s not forget it was Everton who prevented the Red Devils from winning the title last term, as they twice came from two goals behind to earn a 4-4 draw at Old Trafford.
Even if Manchester United ended up narrowly missing out on the Premier League trophy, it was perfectly clear the squad needed to be heavily reinforced if the Red Devils were to mount a serious title challenge this term. Japanese playmaker Shinji Kagawa immediately proved he will be a great signing for the Old Trafford outfit and with Nemanja Vidic and Tom Cleverley back in action, Manchester United fans certainly had reason for optimism. However, it was when Sir Alex Ferguson signed Robin van Persie from Arsenal that the Red Devils really became serious title contenders and now the entire football world is relishing the opportunity to see Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie playing side by side. The Dutchman is expected to slot straight into the starting line-up, just like Nemanja Vidic, who is back from a lengthy spell on the sidelines, but Darren Fletcher, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans are all unavailable.
Former Rangers duo Nikica Jelavic and Steven Naismith has been reunited at Goodison Park and they are likely to improve Everton’s scoring record, in a similar way that Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa should help United score more goals this season. With both sides eager to impress in their opening game, we could see a very open game at Goodison Park.
Verdict: Over 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 1/1