Match Preview: Everton v Manchester United
By Liam Canning
Everton take on Manchester United in a thrilling encounter on Sunday at Goodison Park, with the return of David Moyes to his former club.
Form guide: The Reds are back in action, following a gap in the fixture list since their exit from the Champions League, hoping to record a third consecutive win in the Barclays Premier League. The 4-0 victory over Newcastle was their 10th on the road during this campaign, extending United’s record as the best away side in the league. Before this week's home game against Crystal Palace, Everton were in fine form, having won seven in a row. However, the 3-2 reverse against the Eagles – the Toffees' first home defeat since Boxing Day – could alter their positive mindset heading into this clash.
Ins and outs: Juan Mata will likely make a welcome return, having been cup-tied for the trip to Munich just a few days after his outstanding display against Newcastle, which featured two goals, an assist and a host of other sublime moments.
Last meeting: Bryan Oviedo struck just four minutes from time to give Everton all three points in a close encounter at Old Trafford in December. Earlier, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck had both struck the frame of the goal, before the Toffees’ left-back pounced for the winner.
· Man United have won their last four away matches in the Premier League.
· Man United have been winning at both half time and full time in their last three away matches in the Premier League.
· Man United have kept a clean sheet in their last five away matches in the Premier League.
· Everton have scored at least 2 goals in 7 of their last 8 home matches in the Premier League.
· Everton have seen under 2.5 goals in 5 of their last 6 matches against Man United in all competitions.
· Man United have scored at least 2 goals in their last 4 away matches in the Premier League.
Key players: The key match up on the pitch between the two respective sides will be between Gareth Barry and Michael Carrick. Both hold great strings to their well accomplished bows and will provide the outlet balls to the attackers. The midfield battle is always where the game is lost and won so both men have got to be on fine form in dictating the play and providing excellent service.
Prediction: This will be an enthralling counter as Everton need to attack to claim the win as they push for top four whereas United need to make sure of their involvement in the Europa League next year. The battle between the two sides will be won in the midfield area and how well they can distribute the ball to the flanks to create an opportunity.
Everton 1-2 United.