A far-from-easy game awaits Manchester United on their return from a poor showing in the midweek Champions League game against Juventus. Having gone perilously close to defeating unbeaten Chelsea on his return to his old Stamford Bridge stamping ground, Jose Mourinho now has to pick his players up to face an Everton side that has suddenly won three games in a row and is showing a level of competence few associate with Liverpool’s second side.
A bad result here will not be the final nail in Mourinho’s Mancunian coffin, one presumes, but it would add to a pattern of underperformance that will make it hard for the Portuguese boss to stay in the hot seat beyond this season. Then again, as Everton made hard work of beating the lifeless Crystal Palace last weekend, maybe this will be a relatively comfortable afternoon for the hosts.
Manchester United vs Everton Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Everton
There are ways and means of winning three games in a row, and it can be agreed that that kind of run is something that we wouldn’t have expected from the disorganised mess that Everton were under Ronald Koeman, nor the unambitious, air-traffic-bothering tedium-fest that Sam Allardyce turned them into. Nonetheless, a three-game winning streak suddenly sounds less impressive when you know the opponents were Fulham, Leicester and Crystal Palace. Against an organised opposition, which United sort of are, Everton are yet to prove their credentials. They’ll be up against it here.
Our recommended tip: Both Teams To Score
United’s early-season form, which included a trip to Brighton where the visitors conceded three goals to a fairly limited opponent, was felt by some to be a power-play by Mourinho, demonstrating to the board that they had failed him by not signing Harry Maguire. As the weeks have gone on, and United have not tightened up at the back, it’s starting to seem like either they really are that dodgy, or Jose has really committed to the shakedown. Everton’s talented attack should manage to make hay from this situation, although probably in a losing cause. 888sport have ¾ (1.75) on both teams scoring.
The sides last met in February, when the formation sent out by Allardyce was so unambitious that lone striker Omar Niasse was practically reduced to communicating with his midfield by WhatsApp. Unsurprisingly, the Toffees didn’t get on the scoresheet that day, but the blue wall did hold out the visiting side for 57 minutes. A goal from Anthony Martial broke the deadlock, with Jesse Lingard securing the points seven minutes from the end. The match at Old Trafford was more straightforward, United scoring after four minutes through Antonio Valencia on the way to a 4-0 win.
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Players to watch: Anthony Martial & Cenk Tosun
With Alexis Sanchez likely to miss out through injury, there should be another chance here for French international Martial to convince Mourinho that he’s worth a starting place. The pacey 22-year-old was nearly the hero last weekend, scoring twice to steer his side into an improbable 2-1 lead before Chelsea’s late equaliser. His effectiveness in attack contrasts well with Sanchez, with three goals in six games compared to the Chilean’s one in seven.
Tosun arrived in the Premier League last January, a £25million price tag and prolific record in Turkey making him look for all the world like the type of player who would score a hat-trick in an FA Cup game before disappearing without trace. However, his work rate has given talented attacking midfielders like Theo Walcott, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison licence to express themselves, and he’s scored twice in his last three outings; United’s back-line will not have a restful evening here.