The credibility of both of these clubs at this moment in time can be best described by the following:
- There aren’t too many clubs in the world that I’d back to go and lose after they’ve struck nine past a decent Premier League outfit, but Manchester United are one of them
- Conversely, there aren’t too many clubs in the world that I’d back to make a complete mess of this opportunity than Everton.
So while Man City and Liverpool do battle to decide if we’ve a title race or not on Sunday afternoon, the current-nearest contenders in United and Everton get to play out a match that shows just why, even mid-crisis, Liverpool look a bigger danger to Guardiola than either of these two.
Manchester United v Everton
Sky Sports Main Event
It’s a sorry state of affairs, but if United really want to prove that they’re not going to use the 9-0 win as an excuse to cover up the dropped points against Arsenal and the loss to Sheffield United, you feel this not only needs to be a win – but an emphatic one.
Everton? Well, with Ancelotti it’s all about the bottom line and no matter how many points it takes to achieve it – even if it’s a record-low over the last decade, they will see getting to four as a major success. There’s a lot to play for here – and with great desperation comes great opportunity to make a few quid. Here’s a crafty Bet Builder based on the Toffees proving sticky opposition for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The thing about Everton is there’s a roaring misconception that comes with them. A lot of people are still associating them with the early-season adventures of scoring and conceding in every game; winning 5-2, 4-3 – whatever it took. This isn’t that same Toffees unit because it was deemed too difficult to maintain positive results off the back of.
And they were right. They now play like a functional outfit but perhaps have stopped playing to their strengths in order to chase a higher finish – and I respect that.
I always worry about teams coming off the back of huge wins because you automatically lose focus, especially when your next game is at home – and you know yourself there are no coaching points from 90 minutes worth of half-effort.
Especially at home because you’re comfortable and don’t force it. And If you watched them play Arsenal recently, you’ll know what they’re like when they’re going through the motions.
Not only am I doubling down on the fact that United’s attacking players will come away with padded stats after the walloping of Southampton, but also I’m going to remind you that just three of Everton’s last 11 Premier League games have had three goals or more in them.
Two of those games has goals inside the opening ten minutes, too – which is unsustainable as a pattern no matter what brand of football you play. Everton’s primary focus when on the road is to tighten up, and they’ll not have any issue doing so against a team who haven’t scored a goal they’ve had to work for in any of their last three games.
Luke Shaw is both United’s chief difference maker and their biggest weakness. Now, I’m not saying he’s their best player – I’m merely saying United are at their best when he plays well and absolutely abysmal when he doesn’t.
That’s because genuine width gives Fernandes and Cavani more than the single yard they’re generally afforded when full-backs don’t overlap. However, Everton’s biggest strength all season is moving a quick winger into that space and finding a pass rather quickly. Calvert-Lewin may have gone on a bit of a goal drought recently, but he never stopped being the chief beneficiary of this approach.
As a pure number nine with Kane out injured, is there a better marksman in the Premier League than Cavani? I’m not so sure. The Uruguayan has been, alongside the should-be Ballon d’Or favourite in Fernandes, United’s big moment player.
When they’re desperate and chasing games, he’s the one who can find the target from anywhere, and given the amount of mindless balls they pump into the box late in games, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him fire at will when it falls his way.
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change
Manchester United v Everton Bet Builder
These four selections in a Bet Builder will give you odds of around 46/1 with Paddy Power.
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