Manchester United host Everton in the Premier League with both clubs having the chance to top the table if they claim the win.
United, currently fourth, head into the match off the back of a league defeat after Aston Villa scored at the death to win 1-0. And Bruno Fernandes’ missed penalty meant they took no points away from the match. The Portuguese international is sure to be called upon this weekend but one player who may once again miss out is Donny van de Beek.
The midfielder showed his frustration about being left on the bench during United’s Champions League win against Villarreal and it’s safe to say manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hasn’t reacted well: “I’ve got a squad of internationals and if we’re going to be successful we need positive energy, no sulkers. Donny has never affected his teammates negatively. As soon as I see players affecting the team negatively then that’s a different scenario and I’ll probably be firmer.”
Solskjaer will have to calm the unrest in his squad if he is to defeat Rafa Benitez’s Everton who have had a strong start to the season. They are currently fifth following four wins, one draw and a loss. A worry for the Toffees though comes through injuries as Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Seamus Coleman, Richarlison and Andre Gomes remain out and Alex Iwobi is in doubt for the clash. Ahead of the trip to Old Trafford, Benitez said: “I will say that he has a little problem, I don’t know if he will be available for tomorrow.”
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Can Everton overcome their Old Trafford woes?
Rafael Benitez’s side come into this game sitting fifth in the Premier League table, having picked up solid wins over Southampton, Brighton, Burnley and Norwich.
United away will be a real test of the Spanish manager’s ability to organise, which was first honed during his time with Everton’s cross-city rivals – Liverpool.
With just two wins at Old Trafford in the Premier League era, this afternoon’s match offers the club a great chance to capitalise on the weary legs of their opponents.
Can it be done? History would suggest not, but United’s 2-1 win in the Champions League on Wednesday evening certain took a lot out of Solskjaer’s men – both mentally and physically.
UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov is in attendance today
Can United put on a show for their Russian guest of honour?
Just under 30 minutes to go until kick-off at Old Trafford
Solskjaer on why he chose to rotate players
“Wednesday night was a big effort, a big emotional and physical output.”
“So we needed to freshen it up with it being an early kick-off,” the United manager said ahead of this afternoon’s match.
“The start of the game is going to be very important and we have some very good players coming on.”
Ronaldo set for rare bench appearance
It’s almost 14 years since the Portuguese star started from the bench at Old Trafford.
Ronaldo has been given a rest by manager Solskjaer following his dramatic late winner against Villareal in the week.
Manchester United vs Everton: Team news
Man Utd XI: de Gea, Shaw, Lindelöf, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Bruno Fernandes(c), Martial, McTominay, Fred, Greenwood, Cavani
Subs: Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lingard, Matic, Pogba, Henderson, Telles, van de Beek, Bailly
Everton XI: Pickford, Godfrey, Mina, Keane, Digne(c), Townsend, Gordon, Doucouré, Allan, Rondón, Gray
Subs: Branthwaite, Gbamin, Holgate, Davies, Whitaker, Lonergan, Dobbin, Kenny, Begovic
Mason Greenwood: Southgate admits United striker’s call-up ‘maybe too early’
Gareth Southgate has admitted that he may have called Mason Greenwood up too early in his career after the Manchester United youngster was once again omitted from the England squad.
The 20-year-old has not represented England at any level since making his senior debut against Iceland in September of last year.
Greenwood was subsequently sent home from that camp, along with Manchester City’s Phil Foden, for breaching Covid-19 protocols and the bio-secure bubble at the team’s Reykjavik hotel.
Southgate included Greenwood in England’s provisional European Championship squad during the summer, only for him to withdraw through injury before the final cut.
England boss Gareth Southgate admits to Mason Greenwood call-up mistake
United youngster has not featured since senior debut against Iceland last year
Sancho does not deserve England place on Manchester United form, Southgate admits
Gareth Southgate has offered to help Jadon Sancho adapt to the Premier League after his challenging start to life as a Manchester United player, though admitted his inclusion in the latest England squad is potentially undeserved.
Sancho completed his long-awaited £73m move to Old Trafford from Borussia Dortmund following his involvement with England at the European Championship this summer but is yet score or assist for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
The 21-year-old was included in the England squad for forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary despite Southgate admitting that Sancho’s form was “probably not” worthy of an international recall.
Jadon Sancho does not deserve England spot on United form, says Gareth Southgate
Southgate keen to help Sancho settle in Premier League after his £73m arrival from Dortmund
Ronaldo fires crucial winner to bail out United against Villarreal in Champions League
There are questions, perhaps, about whether Cristiano Ronaldo improves Manchester United on the whole, whether it was a necessary signing or what this perplexing team really requires, but the first Champions League crowd at Old Trafford in two-and-half years was not asking them last night.
Instead, they were only chanting “Viva Ronaldo”, long after a stoppage-time winner to salvage a less than perfect performance and make United’s prospects of progressing from Group F suddenly look much rosier. This is why he came back and why did everything to bring him home.
Three defeats in four made three points imperative but perhaps we should have known the script all along. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has developed a knack of extracting himself out of these ruts as soon as he falls into them. When he needs a result, the United manager tends to get one. For an hour of this rematch with Villarreal, that looked remote.
Cristiano Ronaldo fires crucial winner to bail out Man United against Villarreal
Manchester United 2-1 Villarreal: Cristiano Ronaldo’s late winner secured a vital three points on an otherwise difficult night for the hosts
Manchester United to test strength of Everton’s early progress under Rafa Benitez
This is where the season gets tough for Rafa Benitez. Everton go to Old Trafford to play Manchester United tomorrow after a relatively soft start to the season.
Benitez’s side are on the same number of points as United but have so far faced only one team that finished above them last year. As positive as their start has been, the Spaniard will not be judged by victories over the likes of Norwich City. Evertonians, who are naturally suspicious of the former Liverpool boss, will only truly accept the 61-year-old if he is able to compete with the so-called Big Six. Especially as three of that self-aggrandising sextet have the look of wounded animals about them.
The Everton manager has plenty of history with United. They were the target of “Rafa’s Rant”, which in reality was a remarkably composed attack on Sir Alex Ferguson’s influence on English football. Benitez also said he would never manage United, a statement made in the understanding that he would never be offered the job (Chelsea and Everton were on the verboten list at various points, too). Even so, Old Trafford is a place where he relishes winning.
Manchester United to test Everton’s early progress under Rafael Benitez
Signs of improvement under the Spaniard are starting to take shape but a trip to Old Trafford provides the Toffees’ toughest test yet by a considerable margin
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