Manchester United welcome a rejuvenated Everton team to Old Trafford on Sunday.
It could be an explosive game, with United coming into the match with 3 impressive recent wins under their belts.
Two weeks ago this was a fixture United fans weren’t too concerned about, but Everton’s impressive win against Chelsea last week suggests they could be enjoying that ‘new manager bounce’ that we do often see in this situation.
It was a very scrappy victory, but Duncan Ferguson’s side played with a lot more heart and fight than they’ve shown all season. Ferguson will get them really fired up for this game, and United may need to withstand some early pressure.
Everton defence still looked very leaky in that Chelsea game, and I’m confident that they will make at least one big mistake that United will exploit. Michael Keane will really struggle with United’s pace, and Sidibe is caught to central very often, and Rashford will really capitalise on that.
United have managed to make 5th position in the table theirs, but there’s so little between 5th and 11th that a defeat here can drop us right back down again. Teams like Arsenal, Wolves and Sheffield United will be waiting to capitalise on any slip ups.
It’s very easy to get ahead of ourselves after two excellent wins against Spurs and City, but United are now only 5 points behind Chelsea in 4th. If the reds can string together a good run of wins, there’s no reason why this squad can’t break into the top four over Christmas.
Everton’s win last week took them up to 14th, but they still sit just two points above the relegation zone.
In terms of injuries, Paul Pogba still doesn’t seem to be fit which is very disappointing. This Christmas period is exactly when we need another midfielder, and given how poor and slow Matic looked against AZ Alkmaar, he’s not going to be a very useful option.
It also looks like Jesse Lingard could be out because of a muscle injury he picked up during the derby win. Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are both still unavailable, but are expected to return to full training next week along with Pogba.
The match kicks off at 2pm on Sunday. I’m predicting a 3-1 Manchester United win. I still don’t trust us to get a clean sheet, but I think we can really exploit Everton’s weak defence.