Tricky fixture although history suggests otherwise. Everton’s history at Old Trafford over the past 10 years has been dismal, but their recent form leading up to this game suggests it will not be a cakewalk. David Moyes deserves plenty of credit for making his patched up, strikerless squad achieve what it has so far. Goes to show you can do a lot with a good stable management structure — Tottenham, kindly take note.
United’s pace setting has unruffled some previously well-oiled feathers. First there was Rafa Benitez, whose mood swings have become a case study for aspiring psychologists. Now it’s the turn of Luiz Felipe Scolari — a manager who started his managerial campaign in England by charming everyone with his balanced press briefings and blazing a trail at the start of the season. Defeat, injuries, poor football and comical defending has weighed far too heavy on the man to retain his charm. So now it’s a case of ‘we don’t get penalties’, ‘the opposition doesn’t get red cards’,
‘we fall victims to fire hoaxes in training grounds’ and such like. Indeed uneasy lies the head, whose team run the risk of losing ground to Aston Villa.
A Liverpool-Chelsea draw would suit us best. But, then we have to win the Everton game too.
Meanwhile Daniel Taylor spins a yarn on Tevez’s possible move to another club — Man City, quite likely — if murmurs in ‘close footballing circles’ are to be believed on his perceived frustrations with negotiations with United. The thing with Tevez is this: he is the quintessential United player under Fergie. Gives everything on the pitch, is adored by fans, and keeps going even when he’s not sure of his place in the side. Recent form has been outstanding and, in the offensive third of our game, he, along with Giggs, Carrick and Berbatov, have been among our best performers over the past month. I’d say sign him. A lot of the OT faithful would say sign him. But so much delay hints at something that doesn’t readily meet the eye. I don’t expect anything to come of this till May. So watch this space.
In team news, Tevez-Berbatov should continue their partnership in the absence of Rooney. Ronaldo should be on the wing, and there is a possibility of Nani either starting or on the bench. Carrick would be an automatic choice in my book, while Giggs — having played in midweek might be benched in favour of Fletcher or Scholes. Rio and Vidic would be the central midfield pairing, and since Neville played in midweek, I think Brown might get a start at right back. O’Shea would be our left back.
Predictions: I think it’ll be tight, 1-0 to United.
Also, I plan to live blog this game, live streams permitting (and technical glitches on the live blogging software not harming it). So fingers crossed on this new experiment.
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