Theoretically speaking, Manchester United could go top of the table if they beat Everton and if Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool all lose their matches. Seeing as we don’t live in a fantasy world, I’ll settle for a good game from both teams and a game decided on footballing skills as opposed to refereeing mistakes.
A feisty fixture that has increased in importance this season because of the relative league positions of both clubs. Everton are table-toppers with 10 points from 5 games while Manchester United only have 8 from 5. Add to this the fact that Arsenal and Liverpool both have a game in hand and it becomes clear how important this game is for Manchester United if they want to retain their league title.
Manchester United will have Ronaldo back from his ban and a fit Saha to call upon, and hopefully Hargreaves will be fit as well. These 3 players can give United a decisive edge over Everton, whom I think will fight hard and score a goal but won’t be winning this match.
Some interesting stats – Manchester United have won the most games in the Premier League since its inception (369) while Everton have lost the most (232). On the other hand, Manchester United have yet to win an away game this season while Everton are unbeaten at home.
Manchester United’s biggest problem will be to score enough goals to beat Everton, who despite their good standing in the table can concede at any moment and while United may not be setting the league alight they do have a decent defensive record and they won’t be as easy to work over as some other teams have been. With Saha and Ronaldo combining with Tevez and Scholes, it should be a potent enough threat to prise open the Everton defense.
There are fewer doubts over the ability of Hargreaves, Ferdinand and Vidic helping Van der Sar keep a clean sheet, although if Moyes plays smart he can exploit the space behind Evra to fire in crosses and throw bodies in the box to make something happen.
Everton have the quality to win this game and they’re not underdogs going into this game as some people have suggested. What they’ve lacked in past seasons is the ability to kill off games, and that may come back to haunt them again this weekend.
Soccerlens Prediction: Manchester United to win, although Everton are almost certain to score a goal.
Also See: Full list of this weekend’s predictions.