English Premier League
Date: Saturday 17th October, 2015
Time: 15:00 BST
Venue: Goodison Park
One of the most-anticipated games of the weekend takes place on Merseyside on Saturday as Everton host Manchester United at Goodison Park. Two teams who are in good form over the past five games – United could end the weekend back on top of the Premier League whilst the Toffees could move into the top four.
Louis van Gaal’s side had been on a three-game winning streak before being thumped 3-0 in their final game before the international break. They are still in the top three betting picks on the free expert tips on bettingexpert for the league title but will need to make sure that, in the words of Alex Ferguson, that they are at or near the top by end of December.
For that, they need to start winning again, and Everton on recent form could be obliging opponents – Everton’s past five results have been DWDWD as Roberto Martínez’s side sit two points off the top four heading into Saturday’s fixture.
Everton were comfortable 3-0 winners in this fixture back in April as Manchester United stuttered to a top four finish in the final month or so of the season. Chelsea are the only visiting team to have lost at Goodison Park so far this season, with Manchester City coming away with three points and both Watford and Liverpool holding the Toffees to a draw.
Manchester United have lost two of their last three away league games, losing to Swansea City and Arsenal either side of beating Southampton. Aston Villa are the only side to fail to score versus van Gaal’s side at home this season but David de Gea has kept only one clean sheet in his four league games this season, conceding six goals. It will be a stretch to expect a clean sheet given United’s recent struggles but if you fancy United bouncing back from that 3-0 kicking, use the sign up offer at Paddy Power to get a bonus bet in on United for this game and for the league title as well.
Manchester City have a home game versus Bournemouth and Arsenal are away to Watford meaning United may have to win this weekend to match their fellow title contenders’ points tally. Chelsea are at home to struggling Aston Villa themselves, but start the weekend 10 points off the top.
Everton vs Manchester United Team News
Left-back Leighton Baines remains sidelines but Brendan Galloway has made an adequate start to life in the Premier League. Everton’s defence could also be without John Stones through injury again – Ramiro Funes Mori has started the past two, conceding three goals combined.
Séamus Coleman played for the Republic of Ireland over the international break and is back in line to return to right-back should Roberto Martínez wish to start the former Manchester United target.
Former United player Tom Cleverley is sidelined, as is fellow central midfielder Muhamed Bešić. Left midfielder Steven Pienaar has been out all season.
Ashley Young played left-back before the international break with Luke Shaw out for the majority of the season. Louis van Gaal has further problems in defence with both Marcos Rojo and Paddy McNair doubts heading into the weekend.
Daley Blind and Chris Smalling are likely to remain the centre-back partnership but Phil Jones could force himself into the starting lineup after featuring for England midweek.
Michael Carrick remains a doubt in midfield and is joined by Bastian Schweinsteiger and Ander Herrera. That makes Morgan Schneiderlin favourite to start in front of the back four.
Possible starting line-ups
Everton: Tim Howard; Séamus Coleman, Ramiro Funes Mori, Phil Jagielka, Brendan Galloway; James McCarthy, Gareth Barry, Gerard Deulofeu, Steven Naismith, Ross Barkley; Romelu Lukaku
Manchester United: David de Gea; Matteo Darmian, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Ashley Young; Michael Carrick, Morgan Schneiderlin, Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney, Memphis Depay; Anthony Martial
Everton vs Manchester United: Key Stats
17 – Wayne Rooney has not scored in his last 17 away Premier League fixtures since last November.
100% – Manchester United have won all four Premier League games when Basian Schweinsteiger has not been named in the starting XI, compared to only one of four when the German international has started.
550 – Gareth Barry would make his 550th Premier League appearance if he features on Saturday. Only David James (571) has played more often in the English top flight since it was rebranded in 1992.
Prediction: Everton 1-1 Manchester United