The quest to wrestle the Premier League trophy back from our noisy-neighbours gets under way tonight. Having seen our opening day fixture delayed, to accommodate live coverage on Sky Sports, Sir Alex Ferguson will be keen to ensure that United take all three points, even more so after the potential title winners Manchester City and Chelsea took maximum points form their opening fixtures. But, Sir Alex will be aware that Goodison Park, especially for United, is never an easy place to venture to, as past results confirm. Can United get off to a winning start, we certainly hope so!
The addition of Robin Van Persie, to the squad, has been seen as a signal of our intent to grab back that Premier League trophy. His arrival has boosted confidence and speaking about Van Persie (and possible new signings), Ryan Giggs has commented,
“Robin looks good.”
“You can see from just one training session the qualities he has, which we know all about anyway because of the times we`ve played against him.”
“He brought that lift to training that a top player brings and that bodes well for us.”
“The players are just like the fans in terms of talking about who we might sign and wondering which players might come in.”
“It`s always very exciting for us when we sign new players, because you know that whoever comes in will have a lot of quality and will improve the team.”
Everton Team News:
David Moyes continues to do a commendable job at Goodison Park despite operating under difficult circumstances. It`s almost becoming traditional that the Toffees lose a player in the summer and this season the influential Tim Cahill decided to try his luck elsewhere.
On a positive note, Steven Pienaar has returned to the club on a full-time basis but Moyes, for tonight, will have to cope without a further two influential players. We understand that the ex-United midfielder Darron Gibson is out and also that the influential Marouane Fellaini is also rated as a major doubt.
Player to watch: Phil Neville
His competitive nature will ensure that he`ll do his utmost to try and grind out a result against his former club.
United Team News:
Sir Alex Ferguson has a couple of injury concerns with Chris Smalling, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones all out but Nemanja Vidic, after missing a huge part of last season, through injury, is set to return at the heart of the defence possibly to be partnered by Michael Carrick.
Ahead of the game, much of the discussion surrounds who`ll Sir Alex will give a start to up front. Will the boss partner his new acquisition, Robin Van Persie, with Wayne Rooney or will he elect to partner Van Persie with Welbeck and use Rooney in a deeper role.
Likely to make a highly anticipated debut is our Japanese signing, Shinji Kagawa, wouldn`t it be nice if he could get on the score-sheet?
Player to watch: Danny Welbeck
Although there is a chance that Danny could be sacrificed to accommodate a new partnership of Rooney and Van Persie, it`s worth recalling that Welbeck has a good record against Everton, having scored more goals against them than he has against any other team.
Match Facts & Stats
Looking back to last season, hindsight shows that our title hopes floundered with that 4-4 draw with Everton, at Old Trafford. In the last five encounters between the two sides, there has also been another high scoring draw between the sides, a 3-3 at Goodison Park. The other three fixtures give United two narrow 1-0 wins and Everton a 3-1 home win over us.
Goodison Park can be a difficult place to go to, as past results prove. However, Everton are notoriously slow starters and ten dot make up lost ground over the latter stages of the season. Knowing that Sir Alex wants that Premier League crown back, I`m taking United to produce a match winning performance, winning by two clear goals.
Next up is a home fixture, this coming weekend with Fulham, a side that started the season with an emphatic 5-0 win over Norwich City.