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Man United faced Everton: Preview

Man United faced defeat in last week’s Manchester Derby as Man City beat them 3-1 at the Etihad. The Red Devils had taken an early lead thanks to a fast counter-attack and an outstanding Marcus Rashford strike from outside the box. However, despite the visitors digging deep and defending with their lives for the majority of the game, the Blues were by far the better side and were able to break through the United defence in the second half, eventually scoring three goals. It was a damning defeat for Erik Ten Hag’s men, highlighting the gulf in-depth and quality between the two squads.

Manchester United have now lost 11 league games and their encouraging start to the new year has died down. The Red Devils are expected to miss out on a Champions League place for next season as they sit in 6th, a whopping 11 points adrift of fourth-placed Aston Villa. While injuries have played a massive part in how their season has gone, they still lack an established style of play and much was expected of them after a positive 22/23 season. After two losses on the bounce, United now face an Everton side who are themselves under similar pressure, although they have different objectives.

Everton were also on the losing end of a similar score last weekend as they fell to a 3-1 defeat to West Ham United at home. The Toffees and the Hammers were level heading into the break with neither side able to threaten the other’s defense a lot, with Beto coming the closest out of either side as his penalty was saved by West Ham keeper.

However, Everton pushed on in the second half and opened the scoring with Beto making up for his miss and scoring just his second goal in the league. West Ham United had other plans however and David Moyes’ men came back brilliantly from a goal down, scoring two goals in added time to take away three points from Merseyside. Sean Dyche will be disappointed his side could not come away with even a point from a game in which they had 22 shots with 11 of them on target.

With that defeat, Everton’s miserable Premier League record continued as the Toffees have now failed to win any of their last 10 league games, with their last win coming against Burnley away from home in mid-December. They have taken just five points out of eight games in 2024 so far, emphasizing their abysmal record in the new year.

The Merseyside Blues are fighting for their survival and while every point counts, Sean Dyche and his men will be absolutely desperate for a win to break their unenviable streak. Their latest defeat saw them slip to 16th place, five points outside of the relegation zone and could be in danger of getting sucked into the bottom three if their current form continues.

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WHEN & WHERE?

Date: Saturday, 9th March 2024.
Time: 1.00 pm GMT
Venue: Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, UK.

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Simon Hooper.
Assistants: Adrian Holmes, Simon Long.
Fourth official: Gavin Ward.
VAR: David Coote.
Assistant VAR: Tim Wood.

TEAM NEWS

Manchester United have a long list of injuries and absent players ahead of Saturday’s game. Defenders Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia and Luke Shaw are confirmed to be on the sidelines, while there are doubts over the availability of Harry Maguire. Midfielder Mason Mount and forward Anthony Martial are also expected to miss out, despite the latter being seen in training a couple days ago. In-form attacker Rasmus Højlund could be in the squad as a surprise inclusion with many expecting the Dane to be out for at least a week more. He has been injured since the win against Luton at Kenilworth Road and was cryptic about his availability when quizzed by fans outside the Carrington training center.

Erik ten Hag will also be worried about the fitness of Marcus Rashford after he was substituted in the 70th minute of the Manchester derby with the manager later confirming he was carrying an injury.

As for Everton, the Merseyside Blues, have most of their key players available. Only Dele Alli and Arnaut Danjuma are confirmed to miss out and Idrissa Gueye will face a late fitness test ahead of the game. Two former United players, academy product James Garner and veteran defender Ashley Young will return to Old Trafford, and both are in contention to start on Saturday.

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KEY PLAYERS

Alejandro Garnacho

The young Argentine winger wowed United fans and others around the world when he had a breakthrough 22/23 season. He has had an even better 23/24 season so far, and has single-handedly inspired his side to win at times. He has cemented his place in the starting XI with brilliant performances on the right flank which has also allowed Marcus Rashford to play on his preferred left position. With 5 goals and 3 assists in the league this season, the 19-year-old is still finding his feet, but his form has declined over the past few games.

He was the hero in the reverse fixture at Goodison Park, scoring a wondrous bicycle kick and will hope to bag a goal or two again on Saturday.

PREDICTED LINEUPS

Manchester United predicted XI vs Everton: Andre Onana; Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Jonny Evans, Victor Lindelof; Casemiro, Kobbie Mainoo; Alejandro Garnacho, Bruno Fernandes, Amad Diallo; Marcus Rashford.

Everton predicted XI vs Manchester United: Jordan Pickford; Ben Godfrey, James Tarkowski, Jarrod Branthwaite, Vitaly Mykolenko; Jack Harrison, Amadou Onana, James Garner, Dwight McNeil; Abdoulaye Doucoure; Beto.

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