Three days ahead of Manchester United’s trip to face Real Madrid in Spain, supporters might be forgiven for having one eye on the Champions League Round of 16 clash next Wednesday. After all, this is a match between two of Europe’s most storied institutions, and a first meeting in almost a decade. Sir Alex Ferguson, José Mourinho; Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney – a selection of the world’s finest managerial and playing talent that is certain to capture global attention.
United’s players, however, can ill afford to look beyond Sunday. Not least with United fighting to regain the Premier League title from neighbours Manchester City, whose defeat to Southampton on Saturday proffers the Reds an opportunity to open up a 12 point lead.
Yet, with Everton at Old Trafford this weekend, and memories of last season’s capitulation against the Merseysiders still fresh, it is far from clear which is the biggest game of the week ahead.
United’s 4-4 draw with Everton on 22 April last season, after holding a two-goal lead with just seven minutes to spare, eventually contributed heavily to a Premier League title secured by Roberto Mancini’s City. Together with Everton’s 1-0 victory over United at Goodison Park on the opening day of the season, there is plenty of reason for concern at Old Trafford over the fixture.
Still, the expediency of two difficult matches inside a few days means that Ferguson is likely to stretch his playing resources against Everton on Sunday, with the United manager insisting that he will trust his full squad over the brace of matches. Given the demands of the European élite, it may the be the tie with Everton where Ferguson delves deepest into his squad.
“It will be different teams,” admitted the United manager on Friday.
“The team on Sunday will not be the same as the team that plays on Wednesday. I trust the squad of players I have. They are all internationals, they are all good players and there is no reason why I can’t play them. They’re all contributing in their own way and that gives us a better chance of dealing with the various competitions we’re in.
“The team is playing well, I’m pleased with their form and I’m pleased that the players we’re changing around, when I’m making different team selections, are buying into it well.”
Ferguson at least has a fully fit squad from which to pick, with only shingles-suffering Phil Jones out of contention, while Ashley Young should return to the match-day party following injury.
Javier Hernández returned late from international duty with Mexico, but there are few other fitness concerns ahead of Everton’s arrival in Manchester. Paul Scholes may only feature against Madrid with the veteran suffering from a minor knee complaint.
“So far everyone has come back fit from their excursions into the rest of the world,” said Sir Alex.
“The only one we’re waiting on is Chicharito. I’ve not had anything back that says he’s not fit so I expect everyone to be fit from their games.
“On our own front, Ashley Young is fit again, Michael Carrick should be okay and Phil Jones will hopefully be okay, irrespective of Stuart Pearce coming out and declaring he had shingles – which we thought was doctor confidence. We’re disappointed in that, but it’s not anything serious for the boy. It’s a mild condition that has surfaced but he should be okay.”
Ferguson faces a number of tough selection choices, particularly in central defence and midfield, where the balance is likely to determine success or failure over two pivotal matches. The Scot may well play just one of Nemanja Vidić and Rio Ferdinand in each of the ties, with the more sprightly Jonny Evans in outstanding form recently.
Meanwhile, Chris Smalling could feature against Everton to counter the Merseysiders aerial threat which proved so effective at Goodison Park, even if star midfielder Marouane Fellaini is struggling with a hip injury that caused the international to miss Belgium’s fixture in midweek.
Yet, it is to last season’s dramatic title-losing draw with the Toffees that many minds will turn – a significant and traumatic day in United’s recent history.
“We were 4-2 up with seven or eight minutes to go,” recalled Ferguson
“It was unexpected and we have to anticipate the unexpected in the run-in. That was a bad blow for us and it cost us the league. Everton are very experienced and, if you look at their record, they’ve only lost three games this season. They’re obviously hard to beat.”
Meanwhile, Everton will leave a decision over Fellaini until the last moment, while Phil Jagielka looks set to play in defence after recovering from a knock. Tony Hibbert and Seamus Coleman miss out again with injury.
David Moyes side arrives having secured a hard-fought draw with Aston Villa last weekend amid a run of seven games without defeat. Indeed, Moyes outfit has lost just once in the past 15 matches. Evidence enough of the challenge facing United this weekend.
When Everton scored twice so late at Old Trafford last season Moyes’ side because just the third side during the Premier League era to avoid defeat to United having been two goals adrift – a measure both of United’s failure on the day, and Everton’s late brilliance.
“You have to try to have a go at Manchester United,” said Moyes on Friday. “I don’t think you can sit back and allow them to dictate the game.
“At times they will be in possession and will get control of the match, and at those times you have to try and see it out. But whenever we can, we will try to make it as awkward as we can for them.”
Yet, Everton hasn’t beaten Ferguson’s side at Old Trafford since August 1992 – the season in which the Scot captured his first league title as United manager.
In fact history augers well for United despite two poor results against Everton in succession – the Reds have won 15 of the past 20 Premier League home games against Everton, with four matches drawn.
Fans will take an extension of that fine record in a match that is far more than a warm-up for a bigger event ahead, even if it takes on a different context with Real to come next week.
Manchester United v Everton – Premier League, Old Trafford – 4pm, 10 February 2013
United (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Smalling, Vidić, Evans, Evra; Nani, Cleverley, Carrick, Giggs; Welbeck, Rooney. Subs from: Lindegaard, Rafael, Ferdinand, Büttner, Scholes, Anderson, Valencia, Kagawa, van Persie, Hernández.
Everton (4-5-1): Howard; Heitinga, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Mirallas, Gibson, Neville, Pienaar; Fellaini; Jelavic. Subs from: Mucha, Duffy, Osman, Oviedo, Hitzlsperger, Naismith, Anichebe.
Referee: Mark Halsey
Assistants: R Ganfield, A Garratt
Fourth official: A Marriner
Head to Head
Last 10: United 4, Everton 2, Draw 4
Overall: United 80, Everton 63, Draw 42
- Wayne Rooney’s recent scoring patch is underlined by some solid statistics, including a shot accuracy rate of 69.9 per cent from 56 attempts this season;
- Meanwhile, strike partner Robin van Persie has registering a goal or assist once every 80.8 minutes this season, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index;
- Michael Carrick has performed well in both defence and attack this season, leading the squad for passes completed in the opponent’s half with 755 while making 50 interceptions;
- Tom Cleverley’s all-round game has improved this season – the midfielder boasts the best tackle success rate in the United squad with 74.2 per cent from 31 attempts;
- Marouane Fellaini’s two goals versus Aston Villa last weekend secured Everton a 3-3 draw, but the midfielder has also attempted 80 tackles this season;
- Leighton Baines ranks second in the Index for crosses provided with 99;
- Midfielder Steven Pienaar has completed 701 passes in the opponent’s half this season, more than any other Everton player;
- Phil Jagielka’s tackle success rate of 87.7 per cent from 57 challenges is the best of any central defender in the Premier League.
112 thoughts on “Preview: United v Everton”
Any kind of win would surely finish the Bitters off, after todays result.
” A moment later, Martin Atkinson brings his whistle to his lips. And it’s all over! A fantastic win for Southampton, a shocking, comedy performance from Manchester City.”
C’mon. Nothing wrong with TheSheikh’s project at TheWasteLands that another billion (or two) won’t fix.
Before the game Fergie should show the players a video of Barry’s own goal on the massive screen in the dressing room and say ‘they’re a fucking joke, put them out of their misery’
What a massive let-off City have given us, going into these two games. They needed to really take advantage of our Everton-Real squeeze by putting three points on the board. Now frankly I think a draw against Everton is a decent enough result for us — put more distance between us and the bitters without jeopardising our chances in Madrid.
I think De Gea, Carrick, and Rooney have to start both games, I’d try giving RVP a rest and have him on the bench against Everton, replaced by Pea. In terms of form Evra and Rafael should start both games, but they’ve a particularly tiring job. The problem is as a younger lad Rafael is more likely to be able to handle both games than Evra, but Smalling and Jones are much more convincing deputies on the right than Buttner is on the left. Still, might have to give Buttner a run out tomorrow.
Everton will make the lads work hard the full 90 minutes too.
We will probably play shit as we tend to make life hard for ourselves.
Whether we will win is another matter.
After we play City there are 6 games left. It looks relatively easy provided we have a 9pt lead on them at this point, and we don’t lose. Presuming that the lead isn’t cut to less than 9 pts and doesn’t increase to more than 15 prior to their visit to OT, then the following permutations including best case and worst case ensue. Absolute best case scenario: we lead by 16 pts and beat them at OT: CHAMPIONS there and then. Worst case, excluding total meltdown: we lead by 9pts and lose,which means we will have to win 4 from 6, and the 6 include Arsenal away and Chelsea at home. A draw against City leading by 9 will mean 3wins are required, if City have a 100% record in their last 6 games.
There are a number of situations where we need 1 or 2 wins from the last 6. They are:
1 win will do it if we lead by 15 going into the City game and draw, or lead by 12 and win.
2 wins will do it if we lead by 15 and lose to them, or lead by 12 and draw. Or if we lead by 9 and beat them.
I think we will have a 14 pt lead going into the game at OT and will draw v City and clinch the title in the home game v Aston Villa.
City winning the title when we are suddenly holding all the cards is just unthinkable.
I completely agree. We should should should win to deliver KO blow..,
But the good thing about the Soton result, is that even if we draw we extend the lead to 10 points….
THAT will surely enter the players minds, and they will surely take to foot of the gas as they half think Madrid.
I think its gonna be 1-1. I hope I am wrong,,,
You might well be right. It’s going to be clear now to the players that Everton is the less important game, which they probably already thought but City pulling three points nearer would have raised the stakes. I’d be worried that a lot of the players who get picked for tomorrow (Hernandez, Nani, Kagawa etc — that sort) will know then they’re probably not starting in Madrid and will feel very second tier.
Fergie is going to try to win both, but I’m sure Real is his priority. Apart from calculations about trophies and titles, how can his competitive psychology not be obsessed right now with the challenge of a high-profile clash with Mourinho and Ronaldo?
sadly bman i think you are right in your assertion that SAF and his psychie will be obsessed with real – oh but i would just rather him play the best 11 tomorrow and get 3 points
Don’t think important is the right word. Plenty in the squad who haven’t won a trophy with us and they will all know the league is our best chance. Madrid game is a prestige game they’ll all want to play in, and hopefully they’ll try to play their way into the team. A couple of times this season Fergie has said that he is ‘forced’ to pick a player because of a previous performance. Chance to start in the Madrid game should be extra motivation.
Madrid managed to rest Ozil, Khedira, Di Maria and Alonso whilst also taking Ronaldo, Higuain and Benzema off early and bring Pepe back from injury. I imagine Fergie will want to do something similar (I expect to a lesser extent), and he’ll be accused of prioritising the CL, but I think he wants to win it all. We were embarrassed in Europe and at home last year and I’m sure he wants to set both of those right – he’s not the type to settle. We have a virtually fully fit squad – the deepest in our league – and Fergie’s rotation usually works.
Rooney will likely play every minute of both games. RVP was brought of at HT vs. Italy – I don’t think Fergie will have a problem starting him in both games. Carrick’s not going to get a rest. Cleverley only played a half in midweek. If those 4 start I don’t think we’ll have a problem vs. Everton. Also consider they are two very different opponents and, beyond the key players, the strongest XI would be different anyway.
It won’t happen but we really owe these cunts a good tonking after last year. They are the ultimate game raising bastards though so it’ll be another arse clencher.
What we have here is Ferguson placed in a situation where what is perhaps a personal goal that will bring him huge short-term gratification: beating Real in the first leg, conquering his most friendly and deadly rival Mourinho, and the perhaps-one-day returning prolific rather than prodigal son, Ronaldo could be a bit at odds with most supporters would feel is best for us and for the club: stretching our league lead to a near impossible to catch 12pts.
Great as it would be to beat Real, if we lose the league it will hardly compensate for losing the league. Indeed, winning the European Championship will hardly compensate for letting City overhaul us as per last year. If we throw the league away having stood 9pts ahead with a game in hand with a dozen games to go, it would be hard not to think of this season as one of the most ignominious in our history, even if we beat Real and there are other good things like Van Persie winning the golden boot etc.
After City’s result I’d take a draw with Everton. It’s quite likely that Everton can beat us even with a full strength United team, so I’d rather Fergie rested his star players. United would still have a strong team and a draw could be a likely result too.
I think your logic is flawed. We can’t allow anything to generate hope for City, Ed after last season. Beat Everton whatever it costs– because if we do we are practically home and dry in the league and play Real with huge morale boost — not with more energy in reserve but morale my what it could be.
This is a real bummer for me. I shall be ensconced in the press box at the Soccer City Stadium in johannesburg watching my country against Burkina Faso in the Nations Cup final and will be trying to follow this match on BBC website.
I do not care a jot about Madrid in midweek. I want that title back from City asap! And I desire a proper tonking for Everton. They wrecked us last season and I still have nightmares of that match. I sincerely hope we have our strongest team out there. Why can’t these players play two high octane matches in three days? Whats that all about?
So what do we think about Fellaini? I think he’s fine and they’re just playing silly buggers
Yeah of course he’s fit.
Hope the league doesn’t go like the Superbowl, we (like the Ravens) go 16 pts ahead and City claw it all back (as the 49ers nearly did), but we win it in the last 5mins of the last match (Ravens again, City missing a penalty in the last minute — as when the niners were on the Ravens five yard line). Fergie proclaims it his greatest league championship victory ever, but we have already either died of stress or committed suicide or gone insane and do its just too late for us to enjoy.
I’m pretty sure that’s the only way we do things these days
How is that a bummer???
Fergie needs to beat Real to prove that it hasn’t been all downhill for United since Ronaldo left.
It hasn’t been downhill though. United would still have lost to Barca in those 2 finals even with Ronaldo playing.
This os exactly the twisted logic I am afraid of….
If its “likely that Everton can beat us even with a full strength United team” (at home, mind you) then wouldnt it even be LIKELIER that Madrid can beat a full strength Man Utd team away at the Bernabeau????
In which case, then wouldnt you be better off playing the odds and focusing on the game that is easier to win, which in this case is clearly the game at OT versus a side that is currently 6th in the league?
Play the best 11 we have available every game until the Title and Cups are won, why save anything for the next pre-season.
De Gea, Rafael, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Jones, Cleverley, Valencia, Giggs, Rooney, Van Persie.
Amos, Anderson, Smalling, Hernandez, Carrick, Welbeck, Nani
Very stong team, Fergie was just taking the piss
But Jones and Clev in the middle, jesus fucking christ why ffs
Thought Carrick was injured when I saw that line up. Thank god he’s on the bench. Guess we’ll see what Cleverley is made of without Carrick taking care of him. Assume Jones is in there to handle the Pienaar/Baines threat as with Bale vs. Spurs.
Fellaini starting for Everton with Anichebe over Jelavic. Glad we have Vidic in there to handle that threat.
Welbeck and Rio almost certainly starting in Madrid
We’ve got to absolutely terrorise Phillip Neville, he is clearly no longer a full back.
Saying Distin might be injured for Everton in the warm up and Heitinga coming in… he was awful against Villa.
Soon we are going to know what has a greater hold over us, the reality or the myth. The reality is we stand on the brink of putting ourselves in a position where we can win the league 2-4 weeks before the end of the season. But then there is the myth: that we are good enough to beat the best in Europe and win the CL, maybe the Treble yet again.
Let me be clear: if City come to OT and our lead has been cut to 6pts or less, they will know that if they beat us the league title is ON for them. And bet the house on them because they will have the momentum.
So, I am hoping for a 12 pt lead at end of the match with Everton. Thinking a draw is good enough is missing the point and the moment completely.
3 league defeats in 34 games says it will be an excellent result if we beat them this afternoon
I’m desperate for a win to get that 12 point gap but I’m quite calm with today’s game.
Come on United.
I know, it’s a nice change!
I think this is a bad move by fergie. I think united will drop points today regardless of the team they put out. Fergie should have rested players
Giggsy!!!! keeps his scoring run
Get in there!! 23 seasons in a row of scoring! Amazing!
I find it pretty embarrassing that we made that hairy nob look so good at the start of the season that fergie’s had to bring in jones to man-mark him at home… Imagine if we played west ham and had someone following Carroll around the field all game..
i see no one has mentioned that miss by rvp yet…
Jones is playing well today. For once.
Or heskey ffs
Jones is the new Park
Jones is playing well but he’s one tackle away from a booking at the minute
Vidic is looking back to his old self
We need to offer more in attack. Wednesday is not going to be pretty!
Van Persie looks a bit jaded to me…
We’re going to need a few goals today!
too many mistakes creeping in to united’s play
Poor set piece delivery
Eh… I wouldn’t be too worried yet. He hasn’t scored for a couple of games. For someone as prolific as him that must be pretty frustrating. He was gonna have a dip in form sooner or later, and if this bad form it’s pretty damn good.
Very poor so far.
Fellaini is such a goofy cunt. I can’t believe there are folk on this forum who think he’s united quality
What a pass from rafael
Get in robin you jaded cunt!!
Great play Rafa!! A good bit of luck!
RVP scores again.
Some brilliant defending from United
Vidic in particular, and Raf
Fuck this…thats fucking mentality of relegation prone teams.
Champs play to fucking win…especially against fucking Everton.
Smetimes, rarely, you play for a draw tactically, but then you put your best players to achieve that goal.
Rssting players because you believe you cant get what you aim is for fucking shite teams….NOT befitting a team like United…
Could not agree more!
Can’t help but marvel at Vidic when he plays like this
Also that Giggs fellow might have a future in this league
Apparently Carrick on for jones soon… Probably an Everton goal soon after.
Still wouldn’t play him vs Madrid though. Been slow on the turn today and kompany was shown up for that several times vs Madrid this season
Defending really well today… deserve a clean sheet.
All for letting Smalling get some game time but is it really a fucking bright idea disturbing the defensive unity with ten minutes to go…
Very professional effort… good result.
now to get mullered on wednesday
Jones/Evans injured or rested for Wed?
Great 3 points! 12 points clear with 12 games to go. If we don’t, again, go on to win it then it would be the biggest collapse ever.
Not looking forward to Wednesday! :gulp:
Where were Fellaini and Baines
Did a job on the cunts
Great professional, and actually fairly comfortable, win
If this is RVP’s dip of form I’ll take it…1 assist and 1 goal for a dip of form is something most professionals dream of….
Jones was very good I thought…dfence also played really welll
For all my citicism of DDG, i thought that he looked and felt very solid and safe today…did his shot stopping well as usual, but also did the other small things well (punch, coming to claim the ball, distribution etc)
Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs
Running down the wing,
Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs
Swinging his big thing.
A very controlled performance in which SirRyanGiggs rolled back the years. RVP could have/should have had three while TheWayneBoy played a kind of “forward-sweeper”. MrJones gave nothing/zero/zip/nada to Fellaini while DDG made two really big saves but was largely protected by a ring of defenders and hardly bothered.
As for ManShitty, the rest is silence – ooops, that line has been used before !
we did our job, say no more.
Great! If we can keep thus gap going into the City game it will be great and leave them close to despair.
From BBC Sports:
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has just said he was going to make about seven changes to his team to face Everton – until Manchester City lost to Southampton on Saturday. Then he decided to pick his strongest team, despite having a Champions League tie with Real Madrid on Wednesday, to “press home the advantage”.
Thank God for that! Wth seven changes I think we would not have won…
He obviously decided not to listen to Dozer.
tbf on the big haired fanny, he was a doubt to start
baines wasn’t on fire but wasn’t allowed to play by us
Fergie’s thinking doesn’t make any sense to me. Surely, if he was going to make wholesale changes it would be in the event that City lost (as we have the luxury of being able to drop points) not in the event they won. If City had cut the gap, you wouldn’t want him to start fannying around with the team and risk us not winning the Everton game.
Anyway, I’m not complaining. We won and I thought we played well. We showed a lot of fight and didn’t allow Fellaini and Baines to boss the game. Rafael had a great game, in particular. Defensively, we were really good. Evans was MOTM for me.
Alan Green was a bit pissed off on 606 that we are so far ahead in the league. He was agreeing with a Liverpool fan that the current United side is average compared to previous incarnations and claimed we have hardly played impressive football this season. Bitter twat.
All you cunts who slag jones need to take a look at yourself..he’s great…it’s fergie fucking his development up..not him
alan greene is a bitter and twisted gnome fucker who hates united and has private 3 somes with knobhead and capn
Hasn’t this United team amassed more points than any other at this stage of the season. And it’s in the top 3 with Bayern and Barca in terms of points totals.
It’s not an average United team. It’s not a classic team yet, but it’s fucking good.
If they put Madrid out then they’ll start getting the plaudits they deserve.
Any sensible person would think that but the ABU media have already come up with the argument that the standard of the Premier League isn’t what it was. Alan Green was coming out with that crap tonight and he also didn’t think we played well today.
Chelsea of 04/05 had 68 points after 26 games
In all honesty who gives a rats arse what Alan Green thinks, if the pricks opinion I’ll rattle his cage and tell him what it is.
He’s right though…
Is Danny Boyle a United fan? He just randomly name dropped Paul Scholes in front of an auditorium of Hollywood A-listers whilst presenting a BAFTA award. Genuine WTF moment.
I like Boyle even more.
Class, always thought he was a geezer
I think its a morale thing…similar to getting the 3rd goal logic
At 1 or 2 goals down, teams know they have a chance. At 3 goals down most would give in to the inevitable and lose their belief Thats what Fergie is betting City players will do now..
Exactly! If they come to OT still chasing our 12pt lead and get a sneaky win, it’s still 9 points Fergie can hair dryer the boys and they win thei net 2 and suddenly is 12 points again and hello, CHAMPIONS with 4 matches spare. Some people here seem to have forgotten how sweet that word sounds.
City have a tougher lead-in to the derby than we do. Post derby our last games are tougher. If we win our games leading up to the derby, it would be unlikely that City will match us winning all theirs given the 12pt morale-sapping margin. This could mean we play them only needing a couple if points to be mathematically certain of winning the league. I think Fergie figured this out and will try to win the title with as many games in hand as he can.
just by being tall he showed up fellaini for a massive great lump of shite
played well too
not a midfielder though
moyes hasnt managed one win at ot anfield emirates or the bridge as everton manager
You insist that his best player is shit but then criticise him for not winning away against the top teams — seems a bit harsh for a manager operating with the budget he does. I’m not saying Moyes is a genius, but I think he’s done enough with Everton to deserve been given a chance at a club with a decent budget.
well either hes a not very good manager or fellainis a not very good player
Well fellaini the mono-browed caveman is shite.
Jury’s still out on Moyes. After all if he was that shit he wouldn’t still be managing a top-six club after all these years. That being said, if he was that good he wouldn’t still be managing a top-six club after all these years.
Well we’ll see the after effects of not resting his key players in the Madrid game… unless Fergie pulls of a tactical blinder and drops RVP and Evra .. lol
It was even more surprising to see them play all 90 minutes. Only Carrick was rested or was it ‘rotated’?
Play the best side..play he riff Raf against reading
Don’t know about that… who knows what offers he’s turned down, and the top English jobs haven’t been available… United and Arsenal are taken, Abramovich has allways been after Brand names, he’d be a cunt to take the Liverpool post, and the only other bigger job was City, maybe Spurs, and for all we know, he was offered those jobs and turned them down.
“Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”
Actually now you mention it, wasn’t Spurs supposed to have offered the job to Moyes recently?
no they offered rodgers the job