What you need to know about Everton
Manchester United travel to Everton on Sunday afternoon for our next Premier League fixture, with the game kicking off at 14:00 GMT.
Everton put on a strong showing in their last match at Arsenal and they were unfortunate to lose 3-2, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netting twice for the hosts. That defeat saw Carlo Ancelotti’s side drop from seventh place to the bottom half of the table after 27 matches.
Here’s everything you need to know about our opponents at the weekend...
Carlo Ancelotti revealed in his pre-match press conference that Theo Walcott is fit to face United after missing the defeat against Arsenal with a knee problem. Andre Gomes, who remarkably returned to action last week just 112 days after fracturing his ankle, is in contention to start on Sunday, Everton’s boss said, “I think Andre is ready to start. I think he is closer to starting compared to last week. He trained well, normally, properly.” However, Luca Digne will face a late fitness test as he continues to struggle with a calf injury. The 26-year-old has been training away from the first team this week and it’s expected Leighton Baines will retain his place at left-back if Digne fails to prove his fitness in time. One confirmed absentee is former Reds midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, who is set for a spell on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on his knee.
Before the loss at Arsenal, Everton were unbeaten in five Premier League matches, including three victories against Brighton, Watford and Crystal Palace. The Toffees boast an impressive record at home in 2019/20, with seven wins from 13 matches and only three defeats. Sheffield United, Manchester City and Norwich City are the only sides to come away from Goodison Park with three points. One negative for the Toffees is the lack of clean sheets recently, with only one in the last six league matches; they have conceded nine goals during that run.
The Reds will be looking to banish the bad memories of the 4-0 defeat away to Everton last season, described by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the “lowest point” of his managerial reign at United. In the reverse fixture this campaign, the teams played out a 1-1 draw as Mason Greenwood’s late strike cancelled out Victor Lindelof’s own goal in the first-half. This fixture has produced many classic encounters down the years, including United’s stunning comeback from 2-0 down to win 4-2 at Goodison Park in 2007. Alan Stubbs and Manuel Fernandes netted for the Blues before John O’Shea, Wayne Rooney, Phil Neville (own goal) and Chris Eagles turned the tables in the second half to give Sir Alex Ferguson's side a vital victory in the title race.
Everton is the 10th club Carlo Ancelotti has managed during his illustrious career and the second Premier League team following a successful two-year stint at Chelsea in 2009. The 60-year-old was appointed manager at Goodison Park in December following Marco Silva’s sacking and Duncan Ferguson’s temporary spell in charge. Since then, Ancelotti has improved the Blues' fortunes, taking them from 15th place and a possible relegation battle to 11th, where they are now only four points away from the top six. The Italian has been able to get the best out of Everton’s star players with the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison leading the club’s surge towards a European spot.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Everton pose a dangerous threat in attack with Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison forming a strong partnership, which has flourished since Ancelotti’s arrival. The duo have scored 22 Premier League goals between them this season, with 11 of those coming in the last nine matches under the experienced Italian. Both forwards possess an abundance of pace, which plays a key part when the Merseysiders look to spring a counter-attack.
Toffees centre-back Yerry Mina will be one to watch from set-pieces, as the 6ft 3in defender can be tricky to contain. The Colombian international is likely to come up against United captain Harry Maguire in aerial battles in both penalty areas. Mina bagged a brace against Watford last month from two corners, as the Blues battled back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Vicarage Road.
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