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Preview: Everton vs Manchester United – prediction, team news, line-ups

Manchester United’s 2023/24 Premier League campaign continues at Goodison Park as they meet morally devastated Everton on Sunday. 

Confidence was at an all-time high in the Toffees camp going into the November international break after a 3-2 win against Crystal Palace fired them eight points clear of 18th-placed Sheffield United.

Idrissa Gueye’s 86th-minute winner at Selhurst Park handed Sean Dyche’s side a second victory in three league matches (D1), sending the Merseyside faithful into their dreamland. 

However, a fairytale became a nightmare during the pause, as a Draconian punishment plunged Everton back into the relegation zone. 

An unprecedented ten-point deduction for breaching Financial Fair Play rules prompted the club’s Director of Football, Kevin Thelwell, to release a statement vowing to do everything to overturn the verdict. 

Man Utd must take advantage of these uncertain times at Goodison to consolidate their top-four pursuit after winning a league-high 12 points across the last five Premier League rounds (W1, L1).

Beating Everton would fit the narrative, considering each of United’s four wins in that sequence came against sides from the bottom half of the table, including a narrow 1-0 home triumph over Luton Town last time out.

Despite moving his team within a five-point distance of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, under-pressure manager Erik ten Hag cannot afford to rest on his laurels. 

Sunday’s encounter is the final rehearsal ahead of Man Utd’s crunch Champions League fixture against Galatasaray next week, highlighting the importance of scooping up three points.

Match Preview

Everton fans have promised a raucous atmosphere at Goodison, but Man Utd’s visit doesn’t bode well for the club’s bid to respond to off-field turmoil with an unlikely win. 

Dyche’s side have only won once in their last eight showdowns against their north-west foes (D4, L3), losing this corresponding fixture in 2022/23 by two goals to one despite taking an early lead.

That defeat is one of Everton’s three reverses across the last four competitive matches against Man Utd they’ve hosted, barring a tight 1-0 victory in April 2022.

But Dyche’s utmost effort to rebuild the Goodison fortress ought to inspire confidence among his players, with the Toffees going from four consecutive home losses to three matches without losing (W2, D1).

Man Utd’s recent run of results could be an illusion. All four abovementioned wins against bottom-half teams have come by a single-goal margin. 

That’s not to mention the Red Devils have lost three of their last five outings across all competitions, including a disastrous 4-3 Champions League defeat to Copenhagen on their most recent travel. 

Against this backdrop, Ten Hag’s troops have overcome their travel sickness on the domestic front, racking up three consecutive wins in away league games after losing their first two at the start of the new campaign.

While that stands as their longest-winning run in Premier League away action since December 2020 under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, it’s worth noting that two of those three victories came against promoted sides.

Team News

Except for long-term absentees Seamus Coleman, Dele Alli and Andre Gomes, Everton boss Dyche can call upon the remainder of his squad, including former Man Utd star Ashley Young.

As for United, Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez, Jonny Evans and Tyrell Malacia are still on the sidelines. 

Luke Shaw has returned to training, but this trip will probably come too soon for him while there’s still a question mark over Rasmus Hojlund’s head.

Everton potential starting line-up:

(4-4-1-1): Jordan Pickford; Vitaly Mykolenko, Jarrad Branthwaite, James Tarkowski, Ashley Young; Dwight McNeil, James Garner, Idrissa Gueye, Jack Harrison; Abdoulaye Doucoure; Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Manchester United potential starting line-up:

(4-2-3-1): Andre Onana; Diogo Dalot, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Aaron Wan-Bissaka; Scott McTominay, Mason Mount; Alejandro Garnacho, Bruno Fernandes, Antony; Marcus Rashford.

We Say: Everton 0-1 Manchester United

Given Man Utd’s notorious lack of finishing, fending off Everton seems like Ten Hag’s best chance of taking three points at Goodison. 

Despite all the flaws at the start of the season, the Red Devils have proved well-versed in shutting out troubled teams, and we expect them to do just that this weekend.