Sunday, 3 April 2016

Manchester United vs Everton

Pre-Match Analysis:

Today’s game at Old Trafford, the first for United after the international break, is another thrilling encounter between two top sides in the Premier League: Manchester United against Everton. Both clubs have had disappointing seasons this year but there is no doubt that both will feature prominently high up in the table next season. For us, Everton have always proved to be a difficult and stubborn opponent. Geographically, there is some rivalry between the two clubs although not as fierce as the rivalry between United and Liverpool. There has always been a connection between the two clubs through the signing of then-18 year-old Wayne Rooney from the Merseyside, Fellaini a few seasons ago and one of their most successful managers David Moyes who had a short and lacklustre spell at Old Trafford.

The Premier League has now entered the ‘crunch time’ phase. With only games remaining, every point counts. United are currently 6th in the table with 50 points after 30 games, a win today would strengthen our chances of a top-four finish and it would keep the pressure on the teams above us. Furthermore, three points today would see the Red Devils rise above West Ham into 5th place and only 1 point behind fourth-placed Man City- who won yesterday. Our win against City last week was so crucial, had we lost it most definitely would have ended our chances of playing in European, if not Champions League football next season. For a club of our magnitude, European football is a must. The team must be clinical against Everton today because we face another tough fixture after this match against title hopefuls Tottenham.

Everton on the other hand lie in 12th place after 29 games with 38 points. They can certainly look forward to another season in the Premier League but will be bitterly disappointed not to have finished higher in the league. They do not have much to play for in the league now but will want to finish as convincingly as possible. Everton’s last Premier League game was against Arsenal where they were simply outclassed and lost 2-0. They face another challenge playing us today and the fans may start to feel uneasy if they lose again. Defensively, Everton have been shaky and will need to bring in some new reinforcements in the summer if they are serious about challenging for the top places in the league next season. Long-term goalkeeper Tim Howard will be leaving Everton this season to go to the MLS and so a quality goalkeeper should be a priority on Roberto Martinez’s summer list. Everton face an even greater challenge of retaining their top players: most notably John Stones, Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley. Both are young stars who are sought after in Europe, with Lukaku expressing his desire to play Champions League football and become one of the world’s best. United have certainly been looking at Lukaku and if we secure a place in Europe then the Belgian international could definitely be tempted to join us. He would be a fantastic signing considering he is Everton’s top goal scorer in the league this season. News has also leaked that United are weighing up a £45 million move for Everton attacking midfielder Ross Barkley. Would that be a good move?

Van Gaal this week has asked United fans to give him some time just as Ferguson was given. If we are serious about regaining our status of the best club in England, then everyone associated with the club needs to be on the same side. Today is another important day because United have scored 999 goals in the Premier League at Old Trafford, needing only one more to reach 1000. That would be an impressive stat to have under LVG but he still does not have the full support and respect of the fans. The manager will most likely stick with the same team who beat Man City last week, with Rashford scoring another brilliant goal. Unfortunately, Schweinsteiger may be out for the rest of the season after a knee injury on international duty whilst Herrera and Young are back for us after recovering from their injuries. Sources report that Luke Shaw has been making a tremendous recovery and we wish him all the best as he now not too far away from playing another game for us.

Score predictions? We are going for a United win of 2-1, with Martial and Mata as goal scorers. Make sure you send us your score predictions on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy the game! #GGMU

 Line-Up Analysis:

A tough game here for Utd but I think Everton can sneak a win here. Utd's line-up is one which i would of expected. In goal remains De Gea, no explanation needed there as to why. In defence United have Darmian, Smalling, Blind and Rojo. Appears to be an averagely experience defence. Whether it's stable enough to hold off danger man Lukaku is another whole different issue. I don't like to see Blind play centre back as he is much more useful in the middle of the park. The issue with managers today is that they tend to play good players out of position which unfortunately means you don't get the best performance out of them, at least not as frequently as you should. Moving on, in midfield Carrick and Schneiderlin sit deep as defensive midfielders. I have repeatedly raised question marks over Carrick's competence in terms of his old age and ability to run. Mata again plays the playmaker role which means he is responsible for orchestrating attacks today. Martial and Lingard play as wingers, nothing new there and Rashford will be the focal point of United's as he plays the striker position once again. I am convinced that United are missing Captain Rooney very much, in regards to his leadership. United do look much stronger when he's the spearhead of their attack. The problem however is that fans seem to have already placed somewhat heavy expectations on Rashford, a naive decision if you ask me.

First Half Analysis:

Manchester United took on Everton at 16:00 on Sunday afternoon we were looking to carry on from our good win recently against Manchester City. Everton started the game well pressing our defence very well but not creating any real opportunities for their forwards.

In the second part of the first half United started to dominate the game more they started to have more possession and Martial had a shot which just went wide of the post. The first half was very close with both teams not creating much chances and both defences having a good game so far.

The first half ended 0-0 with both goalkeepers not having to make a save. Everton had made it difficult for United they were defending very well and will be hard to break down in the second half.

Second Half Analysis:

The first-half wasn't very eventful, with Martial going closest for United with an effort that was deflected wide. Everton had a great chance as Lukaku had the opportunity to go one-on-one with David de Gea but the United stopper rushed out to deny the Belgian.

United fans were hoping to see much better in the second-half, and Marcos Rojo was replaced by the young talent Timothy Fosu-Mensah. Within a few minutes, Everton striker Romelu Lukaku had an attempt blocked by Daley Blind and the blues would've been encouraged and looking for an opener.

The breakthrough however came for United as Marcus Rashford's backheel came to Fosu-Mensah who put in a superb low cross that was turned in at the far post by Frenchman Anthony Martial. His goal marked the 1000th goal scored at Old Trafford in the Premier League (since 92/93).

Jagielka saw his powerful header hit the crossbar and it looked as though United's lead was already being threatened. Shortly after Ander Herrera replaced Michael Carrick, in a move that implied Van Gaal was pushing for a second goal and wasn't comfortable with only the one goal.

United looked to go forward and press Everton, looking for another goal to secure a victory and had a dominant spell.

Valencia replaced Blind late on after he had an impressive game at the back, coping with the physical style of play from Lukaku and Everton's other attacking threats. Coleman put in a dangerous low cross but young Fosu-Mensah put in a vital clearance to prevent a goal scoring opportunity.

The match ended 1-0 and although it was scrappy, United had secured a crucial three points in the race for the top four, going just one point behind fourth-placed Man City.

Overall Analysis:

Manchester United recorded an important win over Everton, keeping the club's top four hopes alive. Prior to the match United renamed the South Stand to the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand in honour of the club legend who has scored a record 249 goals and has the second highest appearances for United behind only Ryan Giggs.

The first chance of the game fell in the 17th minute as Anothony Martial had an effort go wide of the post via a deflection. Shortly after Romelu Lukaku had the opportunity to go one-on-one with David de Gea but the Spaniard rushed out quickly and cleared the ball away from Everton's top scorer.

The first-half overall was uneventful and Martial's effort was as close as United came to a goal, with Everton also struggling to threaten infront of goal.

Marcos Rojo was replaced by youngster Timothy Fosu-Mensah at half-time and had a great game at full-back, going forward well and defending comfortably. Lukaku had s chance in the 49th minute but Dutch centre-back Daley Blind made a vital block. United scored through talented young Frenchman Anthony Martial after Rashford back heeled the ball to Fosu-Mensah and his cross was converted well by Martial at the far post.

Martial's strike was significant as it was United's 1000th goal at Old Trafford in the Premier League, with United being the first club to reach the landmark. This made today a very special day for Manchester United, with the club renaming a stand in honour of Sir Bobby Charlton and reaching a milestone of 1000 goals at Old Trafford.

The Reds would've wanted to look for more goal scoring chances, but the next chance came for Everton with Phil Jagielka's powerful header hitting the crossbar. This proved to be a wake-up call however for Utd as we pressed forward in search of another goal.

Blind was replaced late on in the game by Valencia after having an excellent game, keeping the talented Belgian Romelu Lukaku quiet for the majority of the match. Earlier on Michael Carrick had been replaced by Ander Herrera as Van Gaal may have wanted more creativity in the middle.

Experienced centre-back Phil Jagielka was once again involved in the attack for the blues, as De Gea was forced into yet another save. Seamus Coleman tried a low cross but Fosu-Mensah was there to make a vital clearance.

There were a few impressive performers for United, with match winning goalscorer Anthony Martial winning a deserved man of the match award (in United's Twitter vote). Daley Blind has struggled recently, perhaps due to tiredness after playing many fixtures consecutively but was back to his best, performing well against one of the league's top scorers and a physical player in Lukaku. Timothy Fosu-Mensah only played 45 minutes but produced a fine perfomance, looking composed and made a vital clearance late on. David de Gea made a string of impressive saves, continuing his world class form that he's shown over the past few years.

The match was not the most exciting but United secured the all-important three points and moved into fifth place, and only one point behind fourth-placed Manchester City. This leaves United in a good position to go on and challenge for a Champions League spot for next season and fans will be hoping that the club's recent form will continue and is a sign of progress, with a tough away fixture to title challengers Tottenham up next.

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