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Preview: Everton vs. Manchester United - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Everton vs. Manchester United - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between Everton and Manchester United, including team news and predicted lineups.
By , European Football Editor | 5mo

Manchester United will be looking to keep their top-four hopes alive when they travel to top-seven challengers Everton in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.

As it stands, United are sixth in the table, two points off fourth-placed Arsenal. Meanwhile, Everton are ninth, one point behind seventh-placed Leicester City ahead of what is a crucial round of matches.


Thirteen wins, seven draws and 14 defeats - that is how Everton have performed in the league this season. A total of 46 points from their 34 matches has left them in ninth, just one point off the top seven. That said, Wolverhampton Wanderers (eighth) and Watford (10th) both have games in hand.

It has been a strange season for Marco Silva's side. It would be fair to say that there has been a lot of frustration from the supporters, many of whom were hopeful of a potential top-six challenge this season. They are miles off that at this point, but it would not be the end of the world to claim seventh spot.

It is a crucial weekend in the battle for seventh as Leicester go to 11th-placed West Ham United, while Bournemouth in 12th are not out of the running and welcome Fulham to the Vitality Stadium this weekend. If Everton are to stay in the mix then they probably have to collect all three points against United.

Home form has been a bit of a problem, though, winning just eight of their 17 league games at Goodison Park. That said, the Toffees have beaten Chelsea and Arsenal in their last two games in front of their own supporters and had won three straight fixtures before losing 2-0 at Fulham last time out.

Three more points would give Everton their points tally from last season, but they have lost 36 Premier League matches against United, which is a competition record for defeats against a single opponent. What's more, the Toffees have only won one of their last nine league meetings with the Red Devils.

Everton will need to spend this summer if they are to become genuine top-six challengers, and perhaps a lot will be learned from the Merseyside club's final four matches of the 2018-19 Premier League campaign.

Indeed, it is a tough finish as they host United before travelling to Crystal Palace. Burnley will then visit Goodison Park on May 3, before visiting Tottenham Hotspur on the final weekend of the season.

Recent history suggests that the home side will struggle to overcome United this weekend, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side played a demanding 90 minutes against Barcelona on Tuesday night and Everton will certainly be the fresher of the two teams entering what should be a fascinating battle.

Recent form: DLWWWL

Manchester United

Solskjaer sent out a clear message to his squad during Friday's press conference. Indeed, the Norwegian claimed that some of the players "need a reality check" after a difficult run of form. There was a huge bounce when Solskjaer took charge, but it has been a tough period for the 20-time English champions.

Indeed, the Red Devils have lost five of their last seven games in all competitions, including a 3-0 defeat at Barca in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday night. United were miles away from challenging the Spanish champions and now there is huge pressure on their league form.

Paul Pogba scored twice in a 2-1 win over West Ham United last weekend, but it would be fair to say that United were extremely fortunate. As it stands, they are sixth in the table, two points off fourth-placed Arsenal on the same number of matches. Tottenham in third, meanwhile, are three points ahead of the Red Devils.

When considering how far Jose Mourinho's side were off the pace in December, it is a brilliant position to be in. Their run of matches is very tough, though, facing Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea in their next three, before finishing away to Huddersfield Town and at home to Cardiff City.

Solskjaer has performed miracles to place the club in this position, but they might need to pick up five or seven points from their next three matches to remain in the hunt for a Champions League finish.

There is no question that it is going to be a busy summer transfer window for United, who need players at both end of the field. They have conceded 44 times in the league this season - the same as Everton - while a number of their forwards have struggled for consistency throughout the 2018-19 campaign.

United have not actually kept a clean sheet in any of their last 10 games in all competitions, which is their worst run for seven years. Meanwhile, they could lose three Premier League away games in a row for the first time in over 20 years with a poor result this weekend.

There is no question that things have improved under Solskjaer following a torrid start to the campaign, but it will count for nothing if the team are unable to secure their spot in the top four as missing out on the Champions League next season would be devastating for the club.

Recent form: WWLWLW
Recent form (all competitions): LWLLWL

Team News

Everton will be without the services of Andre Gomes, who has been handed a three-match ban for a challenge on Aleksandar Mitrovic during last weekend's Premier League clash with Fulham.

Morgan Schneiderlin and Tom Davies are therefore both in contention to start, but Yerry Mina is still on the sidelines with a hamstring problem.

Michael Keane should replace Phil Jagielka in central defence, while there are not expected to be any surprises in the final third with Gylfi Sigurdsson, Bernard and Richarlison all operating in support of Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

As for United, Nemanja Matic is available having missed the team's last four games through a mixture of illness and injury. The Serbian could come into the midfield alongside Fred and Pogba, with Ander Herrera unlikely to be available despite returning to training.

Luke Shaw will again miss out through suspension, though, meaning that Ashley Young should switch to left-back, allowing Diogo Dalot to come into the defence on the opposite side.

Anthony Martial was poor against Barca and could now drop out, with Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford starting as the front two.

Alexis Sanchez made his return from a knee injury against Barca during the week, with the Chilean expected to be a part of Solskjaer's squad this weekend. Antonio Valencia and Eric Bailly, however, remain unavailable.

Everton possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Zouma, Digne; Gueye, Schneiderlin; Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Bernard; Calvert-Lewin

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Dalot, Smalling, Lindelof, Young; Matic, Pogba, Fred; Lingard; Lukaku, Rashford

Head To Head

Sunday will be the 201st meeting between these two teams in all competitions. United lead the head-to-head 88 wins to Everton's 69, with the remaining 43 fixtures finishing level.

United have won each of the last three Premier League games between the two teams, including a 2-1 home success earlier this season and a 2-0 victory at Goodison Park last term.

Not since April 2015 have Everton beaten the Red Devils, while United's 16 Premier League victories at Goodison Park is a competition record for away wins in one single ground.

We say: Everton 1-1 Manchester United

We are finding it difficult to separate the two teams this weekend. United really need to win, but Everton have beaten Chelsea and Arsenal in their last two fixtures at Goodison Park. Score draw.

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Premier League Table
2Manchester CityMan City85122791816
4Leicester CityLeicester8422147714
6Crystal Palace842288014
8West Ham UnitedWest Ham83321111012
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs83231412211
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves82421111010
12Manchester UnitedMan Utd82339819
13Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd82337709
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8233810-29
15Aston Villa8224131218
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle8224513-88
19Norwich CityNorwich82061021-116
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Ligue 1 Table
1Paris Saint-GermainPSG97021741321
7Montpellier HSCMontpellier942397214
13Saint-EtienneSt Etienne9324813-511
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