Our football writer previews the EPL encounter between Everton and Manchester United.
Wayne Rooney really went and ruined his own fairytale script on Wednesday night by picking up a daft yellow card that will see him miss this trip to his boyhood club. How poetic it would have been for Rooney to break Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time United’s goal-scoring record here.
Mourinho will be hoping to ride the wave of an impressive League Cup performance while Ronald Koeman is desperately looking for a response from his side, outplayed essentially by his former employers Southampton. There is a general lack of depth at Everton which he needs to address in the transfer window.
English Premier League | Sunday 4 December | Goodison Park | 18:00
To Win (90 Mins)
Everton 51/20 | Draw 47/20 | Manchester United 11/10
The problem that Everton possess as I have already alluded to, is that they simply don’t have an abundance of options at their disposal. Leighton Baines has come in for Bryan Oviedo and will need a few games to get back to full fitness.
James McCarthy looked woefully undershot against Swansea and was subsequently rested for last week’s game. I think he may continue on the bench as the impressive Idrissa Gueye continues to partner Gareth Barry.
Romelu Lukaku will clearly be the focal point while Yannick Bolasie looks to drive down the right-hand side. I feel that Bolasie will be their chief threat, as Luke Shaw navigates the minefield of injury doubts that pester him.
I think that Koeman has to see the futility of starting Aaron Lennon. Surely he should have seen that last week? Kevin Mirallas may be slightly enigmatic, but it’s better than knowing that you are going to get mediocrity.
Let’s see just how inscrutable Jose Mourinho is. Surely he has to hand Henrikh Mkhitaryan a start this week following a terrific display against West Ham. His selection is no doubt made easier by the absence of Rooney. Although the excellent form of Anthony Martial may cause some consternation for Mourinho.
Just trending from recent weeks, expect him to start Martial on the bench. His beloved Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice and will lead the line. I expect Juan Mata to play in behind him with Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard likely to play on the flanks.
Young English starlet Marcus Rashford may have to be content with a place on the bench while Paul Pogba returns from suspension to partner Ander Herrera in a deeper role. Pogba should do well against an Everton side I perennially chastise for lack of mobility.
I have been impressed with the almost accidental partnership of Phil Jones and Marcus Rojo. I feel that Mourinho came to it by default after exhausting every other possibility.
Verdict: Manchester United Win (11/10)
While I think United have many deficiencies - starting on the managerial level - Everton are a side without a discernible identity. They have a severe lack of options and are too dependent on the goals of Lukaku, a fact made extra tricky by the big Belgians roving eye.
I think that the combination of Mata and Mkhitaryan could be electrifying for United. Interesting side-note: arguably United’s best performance of the season came with Mourinho serving a touchline ban. It’s amazing what can be achieved without petty, tyrannical distraction.
Written by Damien Kayat @Hollywoodbets