The highflying Toffee’s take on Manchester United this Saturday as they continue to push for their highest ever Premier League finish.
At the beginning of the season, Everton flew out the blocks and went five games unbeaten. However, the Toffee’s have lost their last two games – the first against Southampton and the most recent to Newcastle.
Last week Carlo Ancelotti’s side was beaten 2-1 by the Magpies. Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored a late consolation into injury time, but Callum Wilson’s earlier brace was enough to deny Everton all three points.
Everton come into the fixture without a win in their last three games, which has meant they’ve dropped from first palace into fourth, after the opening seven games.
Manchester United are another team that are struggling for confidence. The Red Devils fell short once again last weekend, losing 1-0 to the Gunners as Pierre Emerick Aubameyang’s penalty was enough to win at Old Trafford.
United were also embarrassed in their midweek Champions League game against İstanbul Başakşehir F.K. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men lost 2-1 to the Turkish side, which rounded off a spell of really poor performances from the Red Devils.
Both teams come into this weekend’s game in poor form which could lead to a feisty game. Both Solskjaer and Ancelotti will be keen for their sides to bounce back immediately, which will produce a fascinating battle.
Interestingly, Everton are unbeaten in their last three league games against Manchester United, with both games last season ending in a 1-1 draw.
This season you could argue that Everton have been the far better side and have had some key developments in their squad. Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been at the forefront of Everton’s success, scoring eight goals so far.
His sudden boost of form could be accredited to the other summer signings – Allan and Doucoure, who have proven to be solid signings for Ancelotti and is one of the reasons for Everton’s success.
But most notably, James Rodriguez has been lighting up the Premier League, contributing three goals and three assists in just six appearances.
The Columbian is turning out to be the signing of the summer and United will need to keep him quiet on Saturday.
On the other hand, Manchester United look really short of confidence. The Reds Devils have just one point from a possible nine in their last three games and are far below where they should be in 15th place.
Wednesday night’s loss was an example of how United are beginning to capitulate and it has sparked controversy over Ole’s future.
The strange contrast is that Manchester United were on fire at the end of last season. The army of Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Antony Martial and Bruno Fernandes was turning out to be an unstoppable force; combining creativity with pace and skill you would have thought United would be difficult opponents this year.
Unfortunately, though they have been let down defensively. United have conceded 13 goals in just six games, which is worse than both Burnley and Sheffield United who took up the bottom two spots in the league before a ball was kicked this weekend.
With all this said, this weekend’s clash could spark into a goal-fest with both sides having rusty defences but electric attacks, it’s not a game to miss.
James Rodriguez is set to play despite doubts over his fitness whilst Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Mason Holgate is one of a few players available for the clash with Manchester United on Saturday lunchtime.
The boss also confirmed that Digne is available after suspension and that Seamus Coleman has recovered from his issue sustained against Liverpool, further bolstering his side’s defensive options.
Only Fabian Delph is set to miss this weekend’s match through injury alongside long-term absentee Jean-Philippe Gbamin.
Ancelotti told his pre-match press conference: “We have practically all the squad available apart from Richarlison and Delph, that had a little problem yesterday. Just for a few days he’s out, all the others are available.”
Alex Telles is still out after testing positive for COVID-19. According to Solskjaer, Eric Bailly is set to miss the next few weeks with a muscle injury.
The Ivorian last played against Tottenham at the start of October, and now looks likely to return after the November international break.
Anthony Martial has returned from his red card suspension and is expected to start against the Toffees on Saturday.
Lingard has been absent for the last few weeks and won’t feature in this weekend’s squad.
Ole said: “Jesse is not travelling and, of course, we’ve had a few injuries before”. “We’re travelling with a strong squad.” Phil Jones remains on the side-lines.