Match Preview: Manchester United Vs Everton
United welcome Everton to Old Trafford in the late kick off on Saturday in what, on paper, should be a fairly easy three points for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
I mean no disrespect to Everton by this and on their day they’re capable of beating anyone in the league but the fact of the matter is their injury list is huge and so many key players are missing.
Star midfielder and the main creative spark in the Everton side Mikel Arteta is ruled out until January, perhaps longer, while Phil Neville, Victor Anichebe, Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka are all also missing for their trip to Old Trafford.
To add to Everton boss David Moyes’ woes the likes of former United keeper Tim Howard, strikers Jo and Louis Saha (another former United employee) and midfielder Jack Rodwell are all listed as doubtful. With such a long list of absentees Moyes is going to struggle to put a team together at all – let alone one capable of seeing off United on home soil.
Sir Alex has a couple of injuries to worry about himself. Johnny Evans and Rio Ferdinand are both nursing knocks but may be fit in time to face Everton, while Michael Carrick and John O’Shea also look likely to sit this one out. However, although the defence may be somewhat of a makeshift one for Ferguson his squad is in a much better shape than Everton’s and United should go into this fixture confident of taking all three points.
Whenever Wayne Rooney faces Everton there is always a little extra spark in his play and indeed the atmosphere and he could well be the key man on Saturday. I’ve been really impressed with Rooney this season and the way he has stepped up to take more responsibility since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure. Everton are a well organised team and will be on Saturday despite their injured stars, but a moment of brilliance from Rooney can undo any side and he would surely love to score against his old employers.
This fixture also marks the first game of Sir Alex’s two game touchline ban following his comments about referee Alan Wiley after the Sunderland tie. Will this affect the players? It really shouldn’t in all fairness and Nemanja Vidic has said it won’t so I’m confident it won’t affect United’s performances over the next couple of fixtures.
Usually Everton are a tough nut to crack and I would be hesitant of suggesting a comfortable victory for United. However, their lengthy injury list including key (perhaps even their best?) players means that I can’t see anything other than a United victory in this one. Despite United’s Champions League obligations on Wednesday (Besiktas) Ferguson will play a full strength squad due to the fact the Reds have already made it through to the knockout stages and they should easily get past a crocked Everton.
Written by Gareth Freeman, a sports writer promoting Fairyhouse tips and Irish racing for Betfair.