Everton vs. Manchester United: 6 Things to Expect at Goodison Park
It might not be the most famous Merseyside-Manchester clash, but whenever teams from these neighbouring cities meet, it is always a tasty affair.
A 3-3 draw in this fixture last year—thanks to two goals at the death for Everton—capped a brilliant game, and with United looking to restore some pride after their derby walloping, expect another great game at Goodison Park.
Having only won three of the last 37 Premier League games against United, Everton face a tough task in beating the United this weekend.
With the Red Devils coming off their worst loss in their Premier League history, this will be an interesting, closely contested game.
Everton have one of the smallest squads in the Premier League, and after an end-to-end game against Fulham last week and an extra-time loss to Chelsea on Wednesday, the Toffees will be tired.
Manager David Moyes used a strong side in that loss to Chelsea, and such a physical game before an early Saturday kickoff is not what the doctor ordered.
With Manchester United able to field a reserve squad against Aldershot on Tuesday, their players will be fresh and ready to go come Saturday.
This will mean bad things for Everton as the game wears on, as the second half could see the Blues run out of gas against an ever-dangerous United side.
2. Rooney Stupidity
Not exactly thinking outside of the box when it comes to Wayne Rooney at the moment, but expect something brash from the England striker.
Playing against your old club is always tough, but with the often-times idiotic attitude Rooney has displayed for his boyhood club in recent fixtures, Rooney only makes it tougher.
Sir Alex Ferguson made the bold decision to drop Rooney when United drew at Goodison Park last season, and the manager may well make this decision again.
I'd expect Rooney to start and be subjected to a torrent of abuse by the Goodison faithful. With the frustration he has been displaying since that red card in Montenegro, he might just boil over.
Everton and Manchester United have only been involved in two goal-less draws in a decade.
Three of the last five games have had three-plus goals in, and this fixture last year saw an amazing 3-3 draw after two injury-time goals from Everton.
With Manchester United's back line looking far from stable and Everton offering a less than consistent start to the season, this game could see a bevy of goals.
4. Louis Saha Scores
Everton's general lack of goal-scoring firepower has been a major concern at Goodison Park for several seasons.
Saha has never scored for Everton against his former club, but the Frenchman often scores his goals in bunches. After two in a week, expect him to be on the score sheet again.
Manager David Moyes believes that Saha is back to his goal-scoring best, and if he can keep his goal run going against a stuttering Manchester United defense, I'd be entitled to believe him.
5. Javier Hernandez Scores
After netting the equalising goal against Liverpool on his last trip to Merseyside, expect Javier Hernandez to be in amongst the goals at Goodison Park this weekend.
Whether he starts or comes off the bench, Chicharito is the best goal-poacher in the league.
His movement and finishing are impeccable, and with a tired Everton back line following the Chelsea defeat in the Carling Cup, the Mexican international could cause havoc in the second half.
Following the utterly humiliating defeat at the hands of staunch rivals Manchester City last weekend, Manchester United will be looking to prove a point.
With a mid-week win over minnows Aldershot in the League Cup—not enough to prove their champion pedigree—expect Sir Alex Ferguson's United side to be fired up for their second trip to Merseyside in a month.
Everton striker Louis Saha has already warned of the backlash United may inflict at Goodison, but midfielder Jack Rodwell has said that he hopes the Red Devils' confidence will be shot.
I'd side with Saha on this one: United will be looking to make amends against Everton in what could be a painful day for the Blues and their fans.