Manchester United will make their way to Goodison Park on Sunday to face Everton in a fixture which has given fans plenty of memorable moments over recent years. However, not all of them are good. A late Steven Pienaar goal famously secured a 4-4 draw for Everton at Old Trafford in 2012 which effectively handed the title to arch-rivals Manchester City.
Louis van Gaal will be keen to avoid a repeat as he looks to bounce back from the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea last weekend.
Everton have endured a torrid campaign and find themselves 12th in the Premier League. However, a mini-recovery has seen them win four of their last five games including an impressive 1-0 victory at home against Southampton.
The way both teams press will likely be key throughout Sunday’s fixture. Van Gaal would be wise to instruct his players to play with high intensity in and out of possession in order to stop Everton getting on the ball. The Dutchman will also rely on the services of Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia to minimise the threat of Everton wide-men Aaron Lennon and Kevin Mirallas, who have eight goals between them this term.
If Michael Carrick can return from injury in time for the fixture United may be more confident of dominating the midfield battle, which will be vital if they are to win the game. The 33-year-old boasts a staggering 90% pass accuracy so far this season and has been rightly lauded as one of United’s most important players.
Champions League football is all but guaranteed for United this season but van Gaal will want to stay in front of fourth-placed City in the table by returning to winning ways at Goodison Park.
Whatever happens, an exciting tie awaits both sets of fans.