|English Premier League 2013-14|
||vs|| Manchester United
ScheduleSunday, 20 April 2014 at 15:10 GMT / 16:10 UK / 20:40 IST
Losing to Crystal Palace was the worst possible result Roberto Martinez would have wanted at this stage of the season. Being so close to the Top 4 position, the pressure seems to have gotten to the Everton team, resulting in a dropped 3 points. This not only hands the initiative back to Arsenal, it makes Everton’s job all the more tougher considering the fixtures they have going forward. Playing a Manchester United team that seems to have found its mojo will not be easy, but anything less than 3 points here would effectively ensure they don’t make it to the Top 4.
Manchester United have not much to look forward to in the season’s final games, with the lure of a Top 4 finish too far away to make it a reality. They do, however, have a chance to play European football next season, albeit in the much less fancied Europa League. In a twisted sort of way, United fans would be hoping that they don’t finish above 7th, as that would mean they will have to take part in the physically and mentally draining competition next season that could only dent their chances of returning to the elite club.
A few weeks ago, this match would have been a foregone conclusion, with Moyes’s men standing no chance against a high flying Everton. But after the mid-week loss against Crystal Palace, Everton might find themselves a lot less confident against a resurgent Manchester United, who would certainly want to finish the season on a high. With games against Manchester City and Southampton still to come for Everton, they cannot afford to lose any more points if they are to beat Arsenal for a place in next season’s Champions League. Both teams will look for a win, which should make it a very interesting match to watch out for.
Everton have 6 players on the injury list, with only Phil Jagielka scheduled to make a return for the game against Manchester United. Darron Gibson is on the recovery path, but is not set to feature until next month. The other 4 players, Pienaar, Traore, Oveido and Kone are out for a longer duration.
For Manchester United, Wayne Rooney and Fellaini are out, with no return date set for them. They join Robin van Persie, who has also been ruled out long term. However, Rafael and Johnny Evans are slated to be ready for the Everton game.
Head to Head
Everton and Manchester United have played each other a total of 173 times, with United having the better success rate scoring 76 wins. Everton are not too far away themselves, having recorded 56 wins against the defending champions.
Everton – LWWWW
Manchester United – WWLWL
Prediction – Everton 2-1 Manchester United
Though Everton have lost to Crystal Palace at home, they had been on a 7 game win streak, which included a win against Arsenal. Manchester United, though finding some form, will have to do without Rooney and Van Persie and Welbeck leading the line. It is not the same impact, though Mata could have a say in how things pan out.