Now in 2018, the new year kicks off with United travelling to face Everton with the respective teams on almost totally different trajectories.
Backed by two managers who have experience against one another and the division in Sam Allardyce and José Mourinho, it should be a big tactical battle.
It’s another tricky test in Merseyside on Saturday…
Kick-off: 17:30 (GMT)
Location: Goodison Park
Referee: Andre Marriner
Last 5 games: LDDWW
Top scorer: Wayne Rooney (10)
- Leighton Baines; calf (day to day)
- Ross Barkley; hamstring (day to day)
- Séamus Coleman; broken leg (back in training)
- Ramiro Funes Mori; meniscus problem (4 months remaining)
- Maarten Stekelenburg; groin strain (day to day)
Their first loss under Allardyce to end the year means there could be numerous changes in their lineup.
Ashley Williams could return to the side at centre-back alongside Phil Jagielka and former United man Michael Keane.
A persistent thorn in the side of United is Gylfi Sigurdsson and now in good form at his new club will be a threat on set-pieces.
Now injury free, (after picking up a knee ligament problem last time out hosting to United for Everton) Yannick Bolasie is set to be available.
The most famous former United man is Wayne Rooney and after getting over illness is in line to start.
With classic Allardyce focus on building from a strong back line, their unbeaten run with not too many wins is no real shock to anyone.
Operating in either a 3 at the back or 4 at the back, the full-backs often carry on the ball up and down the flanks as wide forwards cut inside.
Industrious middle men such as another former United man who is approaching a year at the club, the gritty James McCarthy and Idrissa Gana Gueye – who scored his first goal for the club in their last match.
The Red Devils
For the first time this season, United don’t sit in 1st or 2nd place in the league table.
With no wins in their last 3 league matches, the pressure is on to start the new year on a different note.
It unfortunately won’t be a return for Romelu Lukaku to his old stomping ground due to his head injury that may well keep him out of football for a while.
Injuries/suspensions (return dates estimated)
- Eric Bailly; ankle (2 months remaining)
- Michael Carrick; heart (unknown)
- Marouane Fellaini; knee (day to day)
- Zlatan Ibrahimović; knee (1 month remaining)
- Romelu Lukaku; head (unknown)
- Antonio Valencia; hamstring (1 week remaining)
- Ashley Young; retrospective charge (3 matches remaining)
In the absence of Young, there could well be a change of formation to a 3-4-3 with a trio of able centre-backs or keep the 4-2-3-1 system in place and deploy Axel Tuanzebe or even Victor Lindelof at right-back.
Marcos Rojo should be available again following his suspension dilemma was resolved.
Both Matteo Darmian and Chris Smalling could well be back in contention after respective injuries.
Luke Shaw is set to retain his place following another strong performance and his chances have increased with the defensive shortages.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been given a path into the side now that attacking options are minimal.
Either Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford (or both of them) will lead the line.
Youngster Scott McTominay may be included in the matchday squad once again as rotation begins.
Last 5 games: WDDWW
Reverse fixture: 4-0
- Everton have won just 4 of the last 8 times this fixture has been played
- United could set a record for most wins against a single side (35) in the Premier League if they were to win
- Everton last played at home on New Year’s Day since 2003 in which they drew 2-2 against Manchester City
- United haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their last 6 league games – the last time a larger run was recorded (2013) it was 10 games
- Everton stopper Jordan Pickford has conceded just 4 goals in his last 8 appearances in-goal following 28 in the previous 13 games being shipped
- United boss Mourinho has never lost a league game against Allardyce after 11 occasions
Enjoy the match!