Paul Higham thinks it’ll be another nervy afternoon at Goodison Park with Everton and Man Utd playing out a scrappy affair.
Toffees in sticky relegation situation
It could hardly be going worse for Frank Lampard, and not just the defeat at Burnley but the manner of it – throwing away a lead to lose late on – will be big body blow that they’ll have to shake-off quickly as they start a tough run of fixtures.
Everton are now even-money for relegation as they face Man Utd before their fixture list reads Leicester, Liverpool, Chelsea and Leicester – followed by what could be a relegation decider against Watford.
Sitting just a point above Burnley but with those fixtures, Lampard is also 6/4 favourite to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post.
An early kick-off won’t help but maybe Goodison Park can, where they’ve won two of the last four and should’ve got a point against Man City, but it’s sure to be a tense atmosphere on Merseyside.
Can Ralf rescue the season?
It looks like Erik Tan Hag will arrive from Ajax to become new Manchester United manager in the summer, but whether he takes over a side with Champions League football depends on Ralf Rangnick’s final few games in charge.
Just what Rangnick’s job will be at Old Trafford remains to be seen, but he’s got a job on to win a crowded race for fourth with Arsenal, Spurs and West Ham.
It’s a first away game in a month, since their Manchester derby mauling at the Etihad, and a win, loss and draw from three games at Old Trafford just about sums them up.
Even in a win against Spurs, the Red Devils were largely poor, and without Cristiano Ronaldo they’re dreadfully short of clinical finishing in front of goal – they need him back from illness for the trip to Goodison.
Backs to wall stuff means go low on goals
Man Utd are huge 1.84/5 favourites with Everton 4.77/2 to get what would be just the second win in 14 meetings. Only the three promoted clubs have lost more home games than Everton’s seven.
The draw is 4.03/1 here but that really doesn’t do either side any huge favours.
More defensive mistakes will have infuriated Lampard at Burnley, so in a way he’ll be happy to cede possession to Man Utd and play a similar defensive style as against City – looking to hit on the break.
Man Utd have scored in every single away game this season and all but two of their Premier League trips have seen both teams score, but Everton home games have been exactly the opposite.
The last five league games at Goodison has seen just one team score, and there haven’t been too many goals either with four those being 1-0s.
Bookies just about fancy goals, with over 2.5 coming in at 2.01/1 while unders is just favoured at 1.910/11 – and both teams to score ‘yes’ is 1.84/5 and ‘no’ slightly bigger at 2.1511/10.
Cards to fly in nervy clash
Neither side is hardly full of confidence, and if the Everton fans can create that cauldron atmosphere at Goodison we could be in for a tasty scrap, especially in the opening stages.
That brings in the likes of Allan, who is back from suspension, and Richarlison, who has more cards (7) than league goals (6) into play, along with Scott McTominay (9), Harry Maguire (9) and Bruno Fernandes (7) for Man Utd.
Over 3.5 cards is priced at 2.01/1 and worth a shout here, with even over 4.5 cards at 3.412/5 within reach for referee Jon Moss – who incidentally has already sent off Maguire this season.
Richarlison’s two penalties at Burnley added to the three goals in two games he scored for Brazil so he’ll be Everton’s main goal threat again as 3.39/4 anytime scorer.
Ronaldo will obviously be all the rage even at 1.84/5 to score if he plays, while Bruno Fernandes has scored three goals and made one assist in his last two trips to Goodison. He’s 3.185/40 for both a goal or assist in this one.
Man Utd’s quality should tell if they keep cool, but it’ll be fast and furious and they’ve proven shaky when you get at them all season – so the prediction here is a scrappy game that could go either way at the end, but low on goals, especially in the first half.