United returned to the Champions League midweek in style as they defeated FC Basel 3-0. José Mourinho described the victory as ‘PlayStation football’ as his side got their swagger back. It’s back to the Premier League this weekend for United and a big match means the Reds must be cautious if they want to get back to winning ways for good. Everton are the visitors to Old Trafford and there’s an important visitor in their ranks, Wayne Rooney. United’s leading all-time goal-scorer is set to return to his old stomping ground with another side (this time his boyhood club) for the first time ever. It’ll be an interesting match-up, as Ronald Koeman’s men aim to pick up another good result in Manchester.
Everton face what United had to endure last season, a Thursday night Europa League match followed by a Premier League match on the Sunday. A trip to Italy to face Atalanta saw them beaten 3-0 in a dismal display. The Italian outfit were leading by that scoreline at half-time. The performance was described by many as ‘lacking in passion’, and Koeman has stated that his side need to bounce back. The Dutch boss has had consistent success at Old Trafford and seems to know how to get results as he is yet to lose. In what will be almost worldwide news, Rooney’s return will show just how much has changed over the past few years for United. Despite his recent arrest & the controversy around him, it’s expected the Croxteth-born man will have a welcome reception from the Old Trafford faithful. Other than the aforementioned former England & United captain, Morgan Schneiderlin will also return to Old Trafford for the first time since his January transfer to the blues of Merseyside.
Everton have played a 3-man defensive system thus far this campaign and have found their new English signings Jordan Pickford & former United man Michael Keane come in handy when trying to shut teams out. Davy Klassen and Gylfi Sigurdsson have also proved goals & assists in attack as they have played either side of a striker. It is unknown who exactly will start up front for the visitors against United so Mourinho’s defence will have to be ready. The visitors do have a huge injury list consisting of James McCarthy, Ramiro Funes Mori, Ross Barkley, Seamus Coleman, and Yannick Bolasie. Everton have already shown just how effective they were at defending against top sides when they drew 1-1 away to Manchester City last month which means it could be a difficult afternoon for United.
The Reds will hope to continue their impressive form at home this season, with nine goals scored and zero conceded in all competitions. Burton Albion come to town on Wednesday night, so that will be ample opportunity to give fringe players a run-out. The biggest team news for United is that Paul Pogba is injured, and not just for this match. It’s rumoured the Frenchman will be out for 4-6 weeks after some trouble midweek early on in that victory over FC Basel. This means either Ander Herrera or Marouane Fellaini will come into the lineup on Sunday. That could also prompt a formation change. Eric Bailly & Phil Jones are expected to return at the heart of defence after both missing out on Tuesday via their UEFA suspensions. Romelu Lukaku notched his first Champions League goal in that match and will be looking to haunt his old club by continuing his already impressive 6 goals in 6 games stat.
With Ashley Young returning to the line-up on Tuesday, Luke Shaw is now up to full fitness which means he could feature. Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimović are still a number of months away but could return for the Christmas period. Andre Marriner will referee the match.
In recent years, United and Everton have always feared one another in this fixture. Everton are looking to get back on track, whilst United are looking to continue their magnificent form so early in the season. It’s sure to be an intriguing match with a lot of talking points surrounding it. The main question is, who will come out on top against their former clubs, Romelu or Rooney?