With players like John Stones, Phil Jagielka and Ross Barkley returning from international duty with the Three Lions, Everton travel to Manchester United as both attempt to finish the season in style.
It’s been a strange season for both of these two. Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United have often been accused of failing to fulfill their potential, but the Red Devils are just four points off the Champions League spots with eight games still to play.
Everton on the other hand have been as good as anyone going forward and possess a striker in red-hot form in Romelu Lukaku. Despite this, defensive frailties have left the Toffees languishing in 12th place.
With both teams still with a lot to prove, Sunday’s game looks set to be a cracker. Here’s all the information you’ll need.
1.When is the match and where can I see it?
Kick-off is at 4pm and you can catch the game live on Sky Sports 1, with coverage starting from 3.30.
2. Team News
United captain Wayne Rooney remains sidelined with a knee problem, despite Van Gaal’s assertion that his skipper is “doing great” in his pre-match meeting with the media.
Marcus Rashford is expected to lead the line once again following his match-winning performance in the 1-0 win at local rivals Manchester City before the international break.
John Stones picked up a knock in England’s 2-1 reverse at home to Holland on Tuesday and is a doubt, and Gareth Barry is suspended for the visitors.
3. Predicted sides
Manchester United: De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Rojo; Carrick, Schneiderlin; Mata, Lingard, Martial; Rashford
Everton: Robles; Coleman Jagielka Funes-Mori Baines; Besic McCarthy; Lennon Barkley Cleverley; Lukaku
4. Reasons for Man United fans to be optimistic
- United won the reverse fixture 3-0 at Goodison Park. Goals from Schneiderlin, Herrera and Rooney eased them to a comfortable victory.
- Everton’s strengths certainly lie in attack but United look more than well equipped to deal with them. The Red Devils have conceded just seven league goals at Old Trafford so far this season.
- Three league wins out of their past four games represents decent from. Their last match was a 1-0 win at rivals Manchester City, which means confidence should be high.
5. Reasons for Everton fans to be optimistic
- Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian has looked formiddable at times this season. With 18 league goals to his name already, Everton always pose a threat when he’s on the pitch.
- Everton’s home record is worse than both Sunderland’s and Newcastle’s. Their away form however is much better; the Toffees have lost just once on the road in this league campaign.
- Everton actually have a positive record against their hosts in the last seven games. They’ve won four and lost three, keeping clean sheets in each of those victories.
6. Last five meetings
- Everton 0-3 Manchester United
- Everton 3-0 Manchester United
- Manchester United 2-1 Everton
- Everton 2-0 Manchester United
- Manchester United 0-1 Everton
7. Recent form
Manchester United – Last 5 games:
- Manchester City 0-1 Manchester United (Premier League)
- Manchester United 1-1 Liverpool (Europa League)
- Manchester United 1-1 West Ham (FA Cup)
- Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United (Europa League)
- West Brom 1-0 Manchester United (Premier League)
Everton – Last five games:
- Everton 0-2 Arsenal (Premier League)
- Everton 2-0 Chelsea (FA Cup)
- Everton 2-3 West Ham (Premier League)
- Aston Villa 1-3 Everton (Premier League)
- Bournemouth 0-2 Everton (FA Cup)
8. Manchester United’s key man
Somehow David de Gea still can’t get ahead of Iker Casillas in the Spain team.
After a shaky start to his time in England, ‘Spanish Dave’, as he is affectionately called, has won over the hearts of United fans with top performance after top performance.
United have the second best defensive record in the league and much of the credit for that must fall at the feet of De Gea.
Despite seemingly being off to Real Madrid last summer, the 25-year-old has got his head down and produced man-of-the-match displays with impressive regularity.
He’ll have to be at his best to stop a rampant Everton attack on Sunday but with Everton’s suspect back four, if he’s able to keep a 12th clean sheet of the season, United should win the game.
9. Everton’s key man
Five goals in five games shows just how good Romelu Lukaku has been in recent times.
With 25 goals in 37 appearances for the Toffees this season, it perhaps comes as no surprise he has been linked him with moves to clubs like Juventus.
While former club Chelsea struggle to keep any of their strikers fit or in form for any period of time, Lukaku is showing the Blues just what they’re missing.
As far as centre forwards go, the Belgain has it all. A frightening mix of speed and strength combined with a lethal eye for goal has made Lukaku one of the hottest properties in Europe.
On his day he can take apart any side in the league and United’s defence will have to be at their best to keep him out.
Manchester United: 21/20
*odds compiled by Unibet
11. Quote Corner
Louis van Gaal: “Still we are capable of being in the top three in the league. We believe in that. The players believe in that. We can win the FA Cup.
“So we have a lot to fight for. We have five matches at home, three away, which is also a benefit.”
Roberto Martinez: “Every time we lose the players for the international [break], we get attracted to what the players have to comment [on].
“Nothing will take us away from the concentration of the next two months.”
Who will win this one?
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