Derby win at Manchester City has been a timely boost for Louis van Gaal’s men who return from the international break eager to continue their push for the European places as they prepare to host inconsistent Everton on Sunday afternoon.
Red Devils recovered from a four-match winless run in just the right time with their derby win at the Etihad Stadium. Having been knocked out of the Europa League by Liverpool, Manchester United drew 1-1 with West Ham in the Emirates FA Cup and then lost 1-0 to West Bromwich in the Premier League and the 1-0 triumph will have been a much-needed morale boost for Van Gaal’s team. Marcus Rashford was the man of the hour once again as the 18-year-old England forward struck after 16 minutes to hit his third goal in four Premier League appearances for the club. Manchester United youngster has been turning heads ever since he made his surprising senior debut and has gone from strength to strength to prove his huge potential and vast talent. Rashford is expected to lead the line of attack once again against the Toffees, whose striker Romelu Lukaku has recently been linked with a move to Old Trafford. Manchester United are sitting in sixth place in the standings one point behind Manchester City in fourth spot, so the game against Everton will be of great significance for Van Gaal’s men who are eager to clinch the top four finish and get back to UEFA Champions League next season.
Phil Jones remains a doubt, while Ander Herrera and Ashley Yung could return to the squad after shaking off their groin problems.
Wayne Rooney is expected to get back to training next week, while Bastian Schweinsteiger has sustained a knee injury on international duty and will be unavailable for the Sunday’s match.
Roberto Martinez has been subjected to a lot of pressure lately and a trip to Old Trafford could prove to be a crucial match for the Everton manager. Toffees have struggled for consistency all season and the exciting, attack-oriented football has not been enough to persuade the fans, who are not satisfied with the current situation. Back-to-back defeats to West Ham and Arsenal have pushed Everton to 12th place in the standings and Roberto Martinez will be urge to make a positive result at Manchester United that could even save his job. Toffees will be encouraged by their fine on-the-road form ahead of their visit to Old Trafford as they have lost only once away from Goodison Park in the Premier League all season. Everton have recorded their first win at Manchester United in 21 years three years ago when Bryan Oviedo scored a late goal to seal the win and visitors will be hoping for another memorable result on Sunday. All eyes will be set on the Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku who is the Premier League’s third-top striker with his 18 goals so far. Former Chelsea forward has hit five goals in last five matches across competitions and has been in fine form during international duty for Belgium as well.
Bryan Oviedo is in line to make his return after missing last two games for Everton through illness, while John Stones is also expected to be available for selection.
Steven Pienaar, Tony Hibbert and Tiyas Browning are ruled out through injury, while Gareth Barry serves his two-game ban. On the other side, Kevin Mirallas is back from suspension and could be involved in Sunday.
Key Factors to Consider
- Everton won three of their last 5 meetings with Man United
- Red Devils are coming off from their only win in last five matches
- Everton have lost only one Premier League away game this season
- Toffees have won last four games on the road
- Man United are winless in their last two matches at Old Trafford
Everton are having a lot of problems, but their impressive away record this season offers plenty of optimism ahead of the trip to Old Trafford. Manchester United are keen to build upon the win over City and will be eager to make additional push for Champions League places. Hosts want to use the momentum and should be backed for a home win.
Verdict: Home win