After an unconvincing start to his tenure as Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal will need to beat a struggling Everton side to secure a third consecutive home victory. Even with Wayne Rooney missing, serving the first of a three-match suspension for kicking out at Stewart Downing, United are not lacking in attacking options – Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie would be the envy of most sides in world football. But attack isn’t the problem. United have looked vulnerable defensively all season, never more so than in their astonishing 5-3 defeat at Leicester, and it is here that Van Gaal will demand a significant improvement.
Everton won both of last season’s clashes against a United side struggling under former manager David Moyes, and should thus have no fear visiting Old Trafford.
However, Roberto Martinez’s side, like their Merseyside rivals Liverpool, have started this season in stark contrast to last campaign, when they earned a Europa League spot with their fifth place finish. The Toffees currently lie in 15th place, with just one league victory to their name, and have conceded 14 goals in their six fixtures so far, including a 6-3 demolition at the hands of Chelsea.
KICK-OFF: Sunday, 12.00pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Everton 2 (Baines, Mirallas) Man United 0, Premier League, April 2014
Man United 0 Everton 1 (Oviedo), Premier League, December 2013
Man United 2 (Giggs, Van Persie) Everton 0, Premier League, February 2013
Everton’s 6-3 defeat to Chelsea was the first time they have conceded six in a league fixture since losing 6-1 to Arsenal on the opening day of the 2009/10 season.
Romelu Lukaku’s goal in Everton’s 2-0 victory at West Brom was his 33 goal in the Premier League, but his first for a team that owned him.
This season, Manchester United have only kept clean sheets against QPR and Burnley, the two lowest scorers in the Premier League.
Wayne Rooney’s red card against West Ham was the sixth of the England striker’s career, but his in the Premier League since March 2009, against Fulham.
Manchester United injury list
Manchester United injury list
1/5 Wayne Rooney
There is uncertainty over the extent of the Manchester United captain's injury, with fears he may have suffered ligament damage to his knee during the 3-0 defeat to Everton. Unlikely to feature against West Brom and could miss the rest of the season.
2/5 Michael Carrick
Having limped off in the 4-2 derby victory over Manchester City, it's uncertain if the England midfielder will fit for this weekend. Was unable to even make the bench for the defeat to Everton.
The right-back's return to action has suffered a set-back. After making a short appearance in the 3-0 win over Tottenham in March, the Brazilian has been pushing for full fitness. However he suffered a blow to the ribs in an Under-21 match against Leicester and could miss the rest of the season.
4/5 Marcos Rojo
Having missed the games against Chelsea and Everton due to a groin injury, the Argentina international is pushing for a return and could feature this weekend.
5/5 Phil Jones
Fellow defender Phil Jones also missed the defeats to Chelsea and Evertton but the England international has returned to training after a foot complaint and could play at against West Brom.
Man United to win: 1.65
Everton to win: 4.75
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