Manchester United host Everton this Sunday at Old Trafford for their second home match in a row after the 2-1 victory over West Ham last weekend.
On paper it is the toughest opposition United have faced so far in the Premier League but United have the added bonus of coming into this game was a good degree of confidence.
The win over West Ham was tough and after so much criticism of the defence, it was a vast improvement. They will need to be equally as impressive if United are to make it two wins from two on Sunday.
Everton themselves come into the game off the back of a taxing midweek Europa League roundtrip to Russia where they drew 1-1 against Krasnodar thanks to a late Samuel Eto’o goal and those extra miles could play into United’s hands come the last 30 minutes on Sunday.
Paddy McNair vs Romelu Lukaku – The 19-year-old earned deserved praise for his debut against West Ham last week and he faces a potentially tougher challenge up against Lukaku on Sunday. The big, powerful, pacey centre forward is likely to stretch United’s defence and McNair will have to build on his performance from last week if he is to stop the Belgian.
Rafael da Silva vs Leighton Baines – Both in attack and defence, this could be the most interesting battle of the day. Baines and Rafael love to attack so the focus will be on keeping the other quiet but Baines is so critical to Everton’s style of play that Rafael will have to make sure he is defensively strong on Sunday.
United have started so positively in their last few matches but have switched off in the second half. Van Gaal’s philosophy is getting embedded deeper into the mindset of United’s players every week and the focus will now be on not imploding in the second half.
The home advantage should give United an edge and if they can score an early goal, they should be able to dictate the play and see out the win, hopefully not with ten men and against a barrage of attacks.
Manchester United 2-1 Everton