How Manchester United Will Line Up Against Everton
David Moyes lost his first game against his former club, Everton, earlier this season when they won 1-0 at Old Trafford. Their fans chanted "sacked in the morning" and "stuck with Moyes, Man United," seemingly forgetting how he transformed Everton from a bottom-five side to a top-five club.
After a dreadful first season at United, Moyes will be hoping to do something to make amends, and a result against Everton would certainly help.
Everton are chasing a top-four finish, though, and will be giving their all to get one over on their former boss—particularly after dropping points against Crystal Palace earlier this week.
If Everton win, they will put themselves in a good position to finish in the top four, but will still be relying on Arsenal to drop points away to Hull. If United win, they will put themselves a step closer to finishing in a Europa League spot, which is a dubious honour.
How will United line up for this match?
De Gea in Goal
Anders Lindegaard was brought in against Newcastle to ensure that De Gea was available for Bayern Munich and did a good job too. However, it is likely that Moyes will stick with his first-choice keeper for this game.
Smalling and Evra at Full-Back
In the absence of Rafael da Silva, Chris Smalling has regularly been used as a right-back and it is likely the same will happen against Everton.
Smalling told reporters last week that he hoped to be given the opportunity to play centrally before the end of the season, but it is likelier that Phil Jones will be chosen ahead of him.
"I’ve wanted this opportunity to make my mark in the middle," Smalling said. "I hope I can do that before the end of the season and, next term, I can be a main man in that position."
Alexander Buttner played well in the first leg against Bayern Munich, but Moyes still views Patrice Evra as his first-choice left-back for this game.
Jones and Vidic in Defence
With Nemanja Vidic moving on this summer and Rio Ferdinand not getting any younger, Jones is the most likely candidate to replace them as one of the starting centre-backs next season. He will be hoping to get as much game time as possible to prove that he is worthy.
Moyes might as well get the most out of Vidic's experience whilst he still can, though, and start the two of them at Goodison Park.
Carrick and Cleverley in Midfield
Tom Cleverley hasn't played for United since being withdrawn at half-time in the 3-0 home defeat against Manchester City.
Steve Bates of The Mirror reported on Everton's apparent interest in the midfielder last month, claiming that Roberto Martinez was prepared to pay up to £15 million for him.
He would follow a long line of recent transfers from United to Everton, such as Phil Neville, Tim Howard, Louis Saha and Darron Gibson.
If Moyes doesn't see a future for Cleverley at the club, this would be a good opportunity for him to show what he is capable of.
Michael Carrick is the obvious choice in midfield, given that Moyes tends to play him regardless of form. Carrick has been struggling for a good performance this season, but is still probably a better option than Marouane Fellaini.
The midfielder who was purchased from Everton in the summer has failed to impress so far this season and would likely be the target for plenty of mocking from the home fans at Goodison.
Fellaini might be fit, as reported by Mark Ogden for The Telegraph, but Moyes would be fairly cruel to throw the midfielder into a game where he is lacking match fitness and will be an obvious target for abuse.
Kagawa, Mata and Januzaj Supporting the Striker
Injuries to Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney mean that David Moyes can experiment a little more with his forward line. So far this season, he has been unable to use Juan Mata and Shinji Kagawa in their best positions, but now he has more freedom.
Adnan Januzaj, Mata and Kagawa should all start behind the striker against Everton, with a two-man midfield to shield the defence, and should be afforded the opportunity to be interchangeable in their positions.
All three of them excel in playing directly behind the striker, but more often than not are used out wide. Regardless of what position they start in, all three should be given the opportunity to play centrally in this game.
Welbeck Up Front
David McDonnell of The Mirror reports that Rooney is fit, but it is unlikely that Moyes will want to rush him back at the risk of aggravating his injury and putting his World Cup campaign in doubt.
Danny Welbeck excelled the last time Rooney and Van Persie were injured, scoring six goals in nine games during December and January.
United's best chances at home against Bayern Munich fell to Welbeck and he will be desperate for an opportunity to get in the same position again before the end of the season. Granted, he will hope the goals won't be disallowed or that he will be able to finish them better this time.
Javier Hernandez is also an option, but it is likelier he will be used as a substitute later on if United are chasing a goal.