I’m really looking forward to Man Utd v Everton tomorrow night. I think it’ll be a cracking game and it’s so well poised. Everton are, all of a sudden, on fire going forward with 7 goals in their last two games, including a 4-0 win over Stoke. Whereas Man Utd are also scoring goals but conceding a fair few too and not getting the required results. So the pressure is on Man Utd to win this game. They have to do so.
Everton, in contrast, are going into this game with much higher confidence than Man Utd- and much less pressure. I think that will benefit the blues, but what is also exciting is that Lukaku, Barkley, Deulofeu, Pienaar and Mirallas are all playing really well and linking up together. It’s a real selection headache. Less than 2 weeks ago I wrote on here about how Everton needed to improve their wide play and that their wingers were underperforming. But not now, since then they’ve all stepped up and had a big impact on Everton’s attacking play. Hence going from two 0-0’s in a row to scoring 3 and then 4 in the next two games.
Man Utd have a lot more pressure on their shoulders and less in-form attacking players. Only Wayne Rooney is on fire for them; none of Kagawa, Valencia, Fellaini or Welbeck strike fear in you at the moment (if ever anyway). Van Persie has a chance of returning so obviously would be a big threat, but even still I think Everton have more creative power in their side and have more in-form attacking players in the team as a whole.
I’m an Arsenal fan and Arsenal of course play Everton on Sunday. In that Everton side I will be fearful of Lukaku, Deulofeu, Barkley, whichever one of Mirallas or Pienaar plays and even Coleman provides a concerning threat. Whereas when we played Man Utd a few weeks ago, it was just Rooney and Van Persie. Yes, two special players and better than any of Everton’s individual players currently, but when you look at who’s getting the ball to them there is no concern there.
Yes Man Utd won but they only had two shots on target the whole game, they won because of their defensive organisation, not through creating chances for Van Persie and Rooney or any great attacking threat. Man Utd won’t have that park the bus mentality against Everton, they’ll open up more. So I think the likes of Barkley, Deulofeu and Lukaku will have more room and more opportunity than Arsenal’s attacking threats to cause danger and create opportunities. The opportunity is there for Everton, I really hope they go for it and attack Man Utd to seize that chance.
Of course it’s not all about attacking but is Man Utd’s defence even better than Everton’s? Smalling, Vidic, Evans and Evra. Really? They can be got at and aren’t as reliable at centre back as Everton’s Jagielka and Distin are. I think what stops teams from getting positive results at Old Trafford more is fear factor and Man Utd’s reputation as winners. It’s not all about player quality of course, there’s tactics to consider as well. But I think Martinez has proved himself to be every bit as tactically astute as David Moyes is, if not more.
Prediction: Man Utd 2-3 Everton