United Look to Get Back on Track at Everton

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What’s the best way to put a terrible defeat behind you? One word: winning. After Sunday’s Manchester derby disaster, Manchester United took a step in the right direction with a comfortable 3-0 win at Aldershot in the fourth round of the Carling Cup on Tuesday. However, as nice as that win was, a win against a League Two side doesn’t quite compare to the boost that an away win against Everton today would provide. Goodison Park is never an easy place to play, and if United can bounce back with a strong performance against a tough team in a tough place to play, it will be a very welcome sight.

RECENT HISTORY

There was late drama in both of United’s meetings with Everton last season. When they met at Goodison Park in September, United appeared to have the three points all wrapped up, as they held a 3-1 lead going into the dying minutes. However, Everton struck twice in a frantic final few minutes to stunningly secure a 3-3 draw.

The Toffees came to Old Trafford in late April looking to trip United up in their pursuit of title #19, and they very nearly did it, holding United for more than 80 minutes thanks to a fine performance by Tim Howard. But as he has been so many times already in his short United career, Javier Hernandez was the hero, with his 84th-minute header breaking Everton’s brave resistance and giving United a vital 1-0 win.

United haven’t fared well at Goodison Park in recent times, not winning there in three trips since a 1-0 win in September 2007.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Everton

Everton tend to stutter early on before picking things up and finishing comfortably inside the top half of the table, and they look to be following that same pattern this season.

After having their season opener at Tottenham postponed due to the London riots, Everton started the season with a home defeat against QPR before picking up seven of nine points in their next three matches. That was followed by consecutive defeats at City, at home to Liverpool, and at Chelsea, in which they were outscored a combined 7-1.

The Toffees broke that three-match losing streak in their last match, and they did it in dramatic fashion, with late, late goals from Louis Saha (remember him?) and Jack Rodwell (future United star…?) giving them a 3-1 win at Fulham, who are, as United know well, not easy to beat at Craven Cottage.

Everton are always one of the more interesting teams to watch in the Premier League. They don’t spend nearly as much as many other teams can and do, but David Moyes always gets the best out of what he has, which is a credit to his abilities as a manager.

That being said, it does take some level of quality to achieve results as well, and Moyes does have some highly-talented players at his disposal. Howard has firmly established himself as one of the Premier League’s top keepers since leaving United for Everton, and it doesn’t hurt to have a strong, experienced defense in front of him led by Leighton Baines, Sylvain Distin, and Phil Jagielka.

Along with Rodwell, who’s been linked with United for quite some time, the man to watch today might be Tim Cahill. Cahill has been a consistent attacking threat for Everton throughout his time there, but all he has to his credit thus far this season is a single assist.

Manchester United

Tuesday’s win over Aldershot wasn’t what anyone would define as massive, it did accomplish a few things.

Firstly, it allowed for Tom Cleverley and Nemanja Vidic to get a valuable 90 minutes under their belts as they attempt to return to full fitness. Having those two fit and out there on Sunday could have made a real difference, but we’ll never know. As it is, it’ll be nice to see them in the starting lineup today. The sooner Vidic is back at his best, the better, but it’s fair to say that Cleverley’s return might be even more important, given how much focus there is on the center of United‘s midfield and how important consistent and continuity in that area are to success.

The match also allowed some fringe players to state their case to be considered for a start today. United’s depth up front has rendered both Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen mostly useless this season, but both scored in the win, and perhaps putting one of those two up front when they’re hungry for the opportunity and raring to prove that they’re worthy of more opportunities could provide a real jolt of energy for United. For those who might have been taking their starting spots for granted, the City defeat should serve as a wakeup call, because now’s the time for Fergie to take stock of what he has and see who his best XI really is.

One change that may come by force is on the left flank, as Ashley Young is an injury doubt due to a toe injury. If he isn’t able to go, will we see Park on the left, with Nani on the right? Or will we see Nani switch to the left with Antonio Valencia, who scored a real cracker of a goal on Tuesday, slot in on the right?

Defensively, there are many combinations that could be used, but it would appear that Vidic is a certainty. And even though there have been more than a few glaring errors over the last season-plus, it’s tough to see Fergie leave Patrice Evra out for a game like this one. However, Fabio is an option at left back, and perhaps it’s only a matter of time before Zeke Fryers gets his chance in a Premier League or Champions League game.

PREDICTION

Winning at Goodison Park isn’t an easy feat, and you can expect Everton to come out with the intent to deny United a vital bounce-back win.

But as I said before, United will bounce back, because that’s what United do, and that’s what I’m sticking to.

Score Prediction: Everton 0-2 Manchester United

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50 Comments

  1. De Gea, Jones, Evans, Vidic, (He who shall not be named), Cleverley, Fletcher, Park, Welbeck, Hernandez, Rooney.

    Nice to see fergie “best boys” of evans and evra are once again given a free ticket and escape any punishment from last week eh.
    Just goes to show some players it seems are immune to being dropped, regardless of poor performances over how many months. Oh fergie, you can be a bloody idiot sometimes 🙄

    • I would not say that Evans is one of Fergies blue eyed boys…He just doesnt have too many options in central defence right now with Smalling injured and no cover at right back as well meaning that Jones is having to fill in there. I guess Fergie had a choice between Ferdinand and Evans to give the cold shoulder to. No prizes for guessing who it has been and quite rightly so.

      Evra though is a completely different matter. The man makes me furious every time I see his bloody name on the teamsheet. What the fuck must this guy do to be dropped?

      • I think fergie went easy on evans even keeping him at the club, such was his form for the whole of last season and much of the season before.
        I think hes gone too easy on the guy tbh, praising his form saying hes been sensational when hes obviously been anything but. Seems fergie has a liking for these sorts of players though and loves to take them under his wing. No idea why, but for me id have rather played jones and vida centrally with fabio on the right.
        There were other options there, fergie just decided to overlook them. So for what its worth, i dont think evans nor ferdinand should have been anywhere near the first team after their form so far this season.

  2. No not on tv here in england trav/ash. Ive been sitting here the whole week, thinking naturally, the game would be on sky sports or something, and no. Bloody nothing. Surely Liverpool TV, i mean ESPN, could have shown the game, but no, theyre showing about the 4th consecutive liverpool game on theirs todays 👿
    Its annoying, but look at the bright side mates, its most likely going to be a bore fest today anyway. Not the sort of thing you want to sit throughh for 90 minutes, so who knows, a blessing in disguise?

    • I guess it is due to the rule that 3 PM kick offs are not allowed to be televised live in England. This was supposed to be a 3PM kick off, however it got shifted to an early timing because of the previous troubles between both set of fans.

      • Think its something to do with fans drinking before games. Obviously the later the game kicks off, the more time there is for drinking and thus trouble is more likely to occur. With the history between scousers and mancs, well i think thats why its always usually an early kick off between us and liverpool and everton. So i hear anyway.

  3. In the words of OPTI after the derby defeat:

    I want blood and Viking-style pillaging football… no more mercy! No more excuses!!! 👿 👿 👿

    • Dont you get about 4 ESPN channels aswell that show saturday 3 o’clock games every week? We get 1 sodding ESPN channel that only ever shows 1 5 o’clock saturday game, and the 4 sky sports channels, and its apparently a rule here that saturday 3 o’clock games are banned and cannot be shown anywhere. How fucked up is that, our bloody league, our bloody team, and we cant even watch the game in the country the game is being played.
      Death to sky and ESPN i say.

  4. I have to say Jonny Evans made the mistake of pulling Balotelli’s shirt, got sent off in a match we were still going to lose by a bad scoreline even if we had 12 players. He has been by far the best defender this season. He and Rio should have been afforded protection in midfield. Balotelli,Silva and Aguero were attacking the centre and we only had Rio and Evans against 3. What did we expect? Vidic gets away with so much. Excuses are quickly made. How many times has Torres given him a tough time. Berbatov used to embarrass him all the time while at Spurs. This season he got sent off in his second game. But he will always be forgiven. Rio should have started today. It wasn’t his fault we got massacred. He was left exposed together with Evans. This one is wholly on the coaches. We can’t keep shuffling our defenders like this and expect solid performances.

  5. Well worked goal with nice intricate passes by Cleverley and Welbeck. A cross that found someone for a change by Evra.
    But did anyone notice it all started when evra received the ball in his POSITION. Previously the ball would bounce around waiting to be cleared by the centrebacks.

  6. Every man deserves a second chance redeem himself, you have to admire the gaffer for that.
    Hopefully this is wht we are witnessing and not a sign of evra and evans being undropable.

    • But this is evans 3rd chance already, as he really was a lucky boy to have not been sold in the summer.
      As for evra, well hes probably on about his 50th chance here, and each and every time hes shown he cant be arsed.
      So silly decision for me.

      In other news its palace in the carling cup quarters at OT. I live only 10/15 mins from palace so ive been quite a bit of them the last few years. A very decent team, with a lot of exciting youth prospects. Should be a decent game, wish it was at selhurst park though, would have loved to been there in the away end.

      • I still can’tt fookin believe that Evra actually sped forward and for once in his life actually put in a ball that resulted in end product – a goal 😆 😆 😆 . I mean how RANDOM is that – I would say once in a blue moon – but I hate fooking blue moons – obviously, but anyway no such thing as blue moons – only RED dawns and sunsets 😀

  7. Gosh we are NOT controlling this game after 1st 20 minutes – back to kick/rush and our quick passes too oft NOT reaching their mark. Under the cosh a lot in last 20 minutes. Hernandez is not able to play on the wing – OF COURSE NOT, he cannot play wide and dribble past defenders – that is not the lads game. Also we have got to cut out those DAFTLY given free kicks around the area. Everton so unlucky when they hit the crossbar with a superb executed free kick. Somebody tell me why we ever line a wall up, because they just stand there like fookin stooges, and either break ranks in the wall, or not even bother to jump! Do they practice defendng set pieces in training – makes me wonder because we are so fookin dodgy at them. Why can we not control the game after we score – slow it down and KEEP possession – somebody please explain to me?

  8. sigh..why does fergie keep picking Fletcher? and no Carrick? not even on the bench?

    for all of evans mishap against shitty…we shouldnt overlook two contributing factors namely rio who seems to be past it and fletcher who doesnt know how to play midfeild

  9. Forget Fellaini. I want Rodwell. That guy is the only one who has managed to do a number on Silva.

    If the score stays the same way it is an excellent result. I would rather lose the occasional home game and regularly win away from home; than last season’s pattern of winning every game at home and drawing practically every game away from home.

  10. another pathetic game…i understand squad rotation but our lineups these days boggles disbelief…

    • it was quite shocking without Nani, Anderson, and Young (injured) and with Evans (I don’t think he has been a very good defender except for a couple games).

      Evans and Fletcher today tried to hand Everton chance after chance with poor passes in own half. These guys are not able to play fluid football.

  11. Well that was a peformance to strike fear into the hearts of our rivals wasnt it. Play well for 20 mins keeping the ball, creating chances, get the goal, generally playing the right way and then, shock horror, revert back to united/fergie trademark style football.
    For the remaining 70 mins boot it whenever is humanly possible, struggle to create a single worthwhile chance, keep 40% possession, and hold on for dear life against a decent, but not great everton side. That makes up for the mauling last week eh.
    City, chelski and the rest beware. United are back 🙄

    • Tony your right mate – but we needed to win at all costs today, so I can live with that. Not happily but I can live with it. We needed that win and 3 points. If we buy in Jan and get our MF sorted, then I think we could do OK. But no matter what combination Fergie puts out in MF we just don’t cut it. Apart from the odd splutter I thought our defence played okay today. I’ll tell you what – I loved seeing Sir Fergie on his feet and on the touchline hollering – he hardly does that these days – but I love to see him up and ranting – hope its the start of Fergie on the touchline giving the players what for! 😉 👿 😆 😆

      • Yeah i get that mate, and i dont wish to sound like an ungrateful sod, it is a fantastic 3 points at the end of the day, im just a bit sick and tired of seeing such shite performances to go with it.
        I just cannot stand seeing us resorting to long ball, unimaginative football, where we cannot keep the ball for more than 3 passes, and seem content at sticking every man back behind the ball defending for our lives. Exactly the type of football i try to avoid watching when the likes of stoke, blackburn or wolves are playing. Anti football at its best, and you know mate from my constant outbursts i cannot stand that style of football and nor do i want my club to go with that style of play very often (its never been our way).
        I suppose after watching city and the way theyve been playing this season, i probably have come down with a case of the green eyed monster and want to see some of their stuff being played by us. Because it seems right now, its them the ones who are playing united football, and were the ones playing like city of old 🙁

  12. Mmmmmm good fight from United – but certainly no Panache to be seen. Vidic IMMENSE. Jones is always falling over every time he wins ball or tries to get past a player – the coaches should be looking at his BALANCE problems. Park stayed on his feet more today, he seems to have improved there. Rooney 1st touch not bad today – although his Vida gave Evans and Evra the biggest rollicking of their lives for sloppy defending and not being where he knew they should be. He was NOT happy that they were not getting tight on Everton’s wide men. I don’t know how we don’t all get heart attacks when we are watching United defending a one nil lead – fookin nerveracking. 😆 😆 😆

  13. The amount of points we got today at Everton (3) > the amount of points we’d gotten in our last three trips to Everton combined (2).

    The performance was far from mind-blowing, but look at the big picture. Last season, we got eight points total in our away matches against West Brom (3), Bolton (1), Stoke (3), Liverpool (0), and Everton (1). This season, we picked up 11 from those matches.

  14. Cleverley is made of glass – he will not make it I don’t think with his injury problems continuous, I don’t think he will get too much playing time because of persistent injuries. Shame really. Lets hope he can overcome them – but it is looking dodgy don’t you all think?

    • Don’t be so negative. He almost jogged off, so it could just have been a precaution. Nothing from Fergie yet.

      • Dunno about that mate, just think hes been a bit unlucky. The injury he got from davies was unavoidable, i mean a big lump practically jumping directly onto your leg is going to hurt anyone.
        And todays injury, from what i saw, was probably more precaution, he just put his weight down on his leg rather awkwardly. But he jogged off in the end so hopefully, as opti says below, he’d back for our next game, because this kid is already probably one of our most important players at the minute.

  15. I think we can excuse the manner of the victory. We are going through a bad patch. Hopefully with the return of Vidic and Cleverley we can build a string of good results and close the gap with City and qualify for the second round in Europe.

  16. Bloody hell. Arsenal 5 Chelsea 3. This is a crazy Premier League. Five goals CONCEDED at home without even being a man down. No matter how bad our season goes at least we have the Auld Enemy Chelsea to laugh at.

    I have always had a soft spot for Arsenal so I am glad they are getting their season on track.

    Funny to see even with Mr Vilas-Boas Chelsea still have a self-destruct button. First QPR now Arsenal.

  17. Cleverley is so important to us its ridiculous…we played fantastically at the start and when he went off it ended abruptly, hope he finally gets rid of his injury problems.

      • It looks like Tom Cleverley just twisted his ankle as he went to play a long ball forward – there were no Everton players near him when he went to ground.

        No confirmation from Gaffer

  18. Fletcher and Evans were our worst performers.

    Welbeck, De Gea, and Cleverley our best.

  19. Sir Alex Ferguson says Cleverley felt his ankle but is likely to be fit for their Champions League game in midweek

    Not so good news for Chris Smalling, though. He is out for a month

    Ashley Young is sidelined for around two weeks.

    • Fantastic news regarding cleverley.
      Not so great regarding the other 2. Looks like weve got to put up with more calamity defending from evans for a while then 😡

  20. I’m sorry, is Chelsea the new Arsenal? I have to say, this season, none of the trio of United, Arsenal and Chelsea look anything close to winning the league. I never rule anything out but, even I would be totally shocked if any of them top City. This may sound like a U-turn because it is. City to me are still a joke but United have now become more hilarious in the last 4 weeks. Where did we get this self destruct button? City have been obeying all the basic laws of football. Consistent line up, logical and complimentary roles, consistent tactics. There’s nothing suprising about City. They were in excellent form last season at the beginning, just like this season. They have been very consistent with minimal rotation. Yes they beat us thoroughly. But not because we have a bunch of mediocre players. We literally shot our own selves in the foot. We didn’t contain them last season. We matched them and beat them. With pretty much the same players. We were clearly superior, even with not so convincing tactics. Because we played with protection in the middle. Our attack was poorly and illogically constructed and coordinated, but we got it right defensively. This season we decided to defeat both our own attack as well as defence. We played the same illogical attacking tactics and decided to apply illogical defensive tactics for a more balanced form of suicide. How idiotic is that?
    Arsenal have an attack that is well capable of winning the league. Same as Chelsea and United. But the defences of the trio have been awful. But whilst some of the reasons are identical, there are marked differences as well. United actually have the best defenders in the league. We have the best holding midfielder in the league. But we simply decided to do away with that role. Chelsea have a new young boss, who’s anything but that. He has absolutely no control of his players. He is also unsure of his players, so he keeps changing his team every week, particularly in defence. Arsenal really have genuinely poor defenders. They also have a suspect holding midfielder. But most of their problems are due to perennial injuries and poor planning during the summer.
    The common denominator is the frequent shuffling of defenders and consequently a poor defence. Arsenal’s reasons are perhaps logical currently because they have been suffering injuries. Chelsea’s reasons, whilst irrational, are perfectly understandable because of a fearful coach with no control of his dressing room. United’s reasons are simply illogical. Not suprising, because logic is not the buzzword at Old Trafford. Vidic got injured a long time ago.during the first game of the season. Smalling was fit, Jones was fit, Evra was fit and Evans was fit. They all did well when they played together. Suddenly for no apparent reason, we decided to mix it up. How about Smalling at right back? Oh wonders, he’s actually quite good there. Okay let’s try Jones there. Wow, Mike, you’re a genius, he’s amazing. Hello Mr Manchester United Doctor. Did you say one of the twins is fit? Does he have a ring? No? Okay thanks. Hey Mike,doc says one of the lil buggers is fit for at least 60min, I think it’s Fabio. Can we play him next game.
    Bottom line is all these teams have defensive problems. But for United in particular, the opposite actually ought to be true. We have on an individual basis, the best defenders in the league, even back ups, can play for City,.Arsenal or Chelsea. We have the best holding midfielder in the league,but that post has been extinguished. Logic demands that we should have the best defence in the league and for a long time we did, when we obeyed the laws of defence. All these factors have played right into City’s favor. They have good defenders but a very average holding midfielder in Barry. Okay, he’s not average but he’s not as good as Carrick,Lucas or Mikek in that role. In fact he’s their weak link and they always play Toure deep as well to create a double pivot. We even assisted them by releasing our own anchor straight into their hands. We didn’t even bother to replace him. So whilst everyone else is pushing the self destruct button, City have simply continued where they left off, doing the exact same thing with the same people. Bayern exposed them for their defence and midfield weaknesses. Real Madrid and Barca will massacre them. They are still a joke, but this season, .Last Comic Standing has new improved contestants.

    • If city are a joke to you, what does that make us, clown shoes? I think I’d offer City a little more begrudging respect after they annihilated us and the fact they are still undefeated. I said before the season started that Chelsea and Arsenal were poseurs or pretenders and I stick to that. Too many problems with both of them and too many egos to control as well. As for us, well it’s going to be a tough season but you never know, Fergie has worked magic before. This time however he has far less to work with in certain areas of the pitch.

      • City is a joke. Besides their easy start to the season, like I said before, they will only win if they go undefeated. Once they lose their first game, they will slowly but surely implode and begin in-fighting.

        Wait and see. When the tough gets going, Man City gets stuck.

  21. We may have good individual defenders but as a unit our defensive line is absolutely nowhere near as good as it used to be. Jones may be good going forward but he has showed incredibly poor positioning at times this season. Smalling I agree is a class act-probably our second best centre back after Vidic. So God knows why we put him as a full back. The twins cannot stay fit. Which leaves us without a natural right back. And the less said about Evra the better.

    Manchester City at least manage to keep their back line fit and their full backs are twice as good as ours and Kompany is an absolute beast and Lescott is pretty solid and experienced. Not to mention that in Mancini they have a coach who understands how to get a team to defend.

    We’ve been leaking goals for the last two seasons. And while our defence used to be very good, its meanness was exaggerated because no team would dare attack us when they knew they could be exposed to a Ronaldo-Rooney counter attack.

    I am not too concerned about our central defence if they could only stay fit. My preference would be Smalling-Vidic. Evans is a better player than he is given credit for but mentally he is quite fragile and needs a commanding defender alongside him. Unfortunately we no longer have defensive leaders. Vidic is too busy focusing on his own game. Rio and Evra are a disgrace for their role in our suicide against City. De Gea is green.

    People need to stop underestimating City. How can you possibly call them a joke? Yes they spend money like it is going out of fashion. But they are no longer a team of prima donnas. They are hardened mercenaries who want to win the league. In Toure and Silva they have the best midfielders in the league. Their strike force is as good as anyone’s. Their defence is solid and stays fit. Their manager is very impressive. Every season they get better. I would put them in the same category as Mourinho’s Chelsea and Wenger’s Invincibles. IE a serious threat to our domestic dominance and capable of winning the league for the next few seasons unless we get our act together.

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