Everton face Manchester United this weekend with both sides looking to address recent results, the hosts having wobbled since an impressive start and the pressure beginning to build on the visitors.
Here is all you need to know about Saturday’s crunch clash at Goodison Park:
Everton’s flawless four-game start to the season has been followed by three without a win, following a fortunate draw in the Merseyside Derby with defeats to Southampton and Newcastle.
The absences of Richarlison (suspension), Lucas Digne (suspension) and Rodriguez (injury) have robbed Everton of both spark and creativity during those defeats, making their perceived role of underdog on Saturday all the more understandable, though the Toffees are hopeful the latter will have recovered from a muscle problem to feature on Saturday lunchtime.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin remains in fine form and netted the club’s consolation at St James’ Park last weekend, his eight league goals the joint-most in the division alongside Tottenham’s Son Heung-Min.
Carlo Ancelotti has said that England international Jordan Pickford will return in goal despite being left on the bench in favour of Robin Olsen at Newcastle, despite the summer signing impressing on his debut with a string of fine saves.
Man United: LDWLW
After what appeared a mini-revival of some sort with a four-game unbeaten run in all competitions, the dark clouds have returned over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United following dismal defeats to Arsenal and Istanbul Baseksehir over the past week.
Their midweek loss to the Turkish champions came in shambolic fashion following two costly defensive errors, the first a ridiculous passage of play that saw Demba Ba run unchallenged through on goal to open the scoring.
Solskjaer is yet to settle on his preferred side or system and his indecision is reflected in United’s inconsistent performances, this weekend’s clash on Merseyside shaping as a crucial fixture for the Norwegian.
United currently sit 15th in the Premier League with just seven points from their opening six fixtures, another defeat potentially spelling the end for the current management with the vultures beginning to circle.
Everton 1-1 Manchester United, 1st March 2020
Everton saw a stoppage-time goal ruled out and Carlo Ancelotti was sent off following an entertaining meeting between the two sides at Goodison Park in March, a fixture which saw under-fire goalkeepers at both ends make costly mistakes.
The hosts were handed a dream start following a calamitous error from David de Gea after just three minutes, the Spanish shot-stopper hesitant in possession before firing his attempted clearance into the onrushing Dominic Calvert-Lewin who diverted the ball into the net.
United were level before half-time as the impressive Bruno Fernandes struck a low effort from outside of the area, though Jordan Pickford will have been disappointed to not have saved his bouncing strike.
Drama came late in the contest as Calvert-Lewin thought he’d won it for the Toffees, his effort deflecting in off Harry Maguire to spark wild celebrations.
However, the goal was disallowed due to Gylfi Sigurdsson’s position lying in front of the goalkeeper, the Icelandic midfielder deemed to be interfering with play, sparking a furious response from the dismissed Ancelotti.
Predicted Line ups
Everton: Pickford; Kenny, Mina, Keane, Digne; Allan, Doucoure, Sigurdsson; Rodriguez, Iwobi, Calvert-Lewin.
Man United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay, Fernandes; Greenwood, Rashford, Martial.
Who is the referee?
How can I watch?
UK and Irish supporters can watch the game on BT Sport 1, whilst US readers can view the fixture on NBCSN.
What time is kick off?
Everton – 15/8
Draw – 5/2
Man United – 13/10