Everton - Manchester United Preview: Toffees aiming for fourth home win against the Red Devils in 21 matches
Sir Alex Ferguson could give Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa debuts at Goodison Park on Monday night, while Tim Howard looks set to make his 184th straight league appearance
By Ryan Benson
Hibbert, Heitinga, Jagielka, Baines
Naismith, Osman, Pienaar
Valencia, Carrick, Vidic, Evra
Nani, Rooney, Kagawa
The first Monday night match of the season sees Everton welcome Manchester United to Goodison Park, and David Moyes will be able to pick from a virtually full-strength squad.
Darron Gibson is the only player who looks set to miss out on a place in the team against his former side, as Marouane Fellaini should be fit.
Victor Anichebe is struggling with a groin injury but should be fit to at least take a place on the bench, while Steven Pienaar looks set to make his first start in his second permanent Everton spell.
Moyes could start with Seamus Coleman on the right-hand side of the midfield, but Steven Naismith appears to have the edge, while the former Rangers man has implored his manager to unleash him against the Red Devils.
Sir Alex Ferguson on the other hand has considerably more to think about with regards to injuries, particularly at the back. Nemanja Vidic managed a number of appearances during pre-season and should feature but Rio Ferdinand could miss out due to injury along with Chris Smalling (groin), Jonny Evans (ankle) and Phil Jones (back), so Michael Carrick may be forced to play centre-back.
Rafael also looks set to miss out following his involvement in Brazil’s run to the final in the Olympics, meaning Antonio Valencia will most likely deputise with England Under-19 international Michael Keane playing back-up to him and Patrice Evra.
Darren Fletcher made his long-awaited comeback last week but a Premier League appearance seems premature at this stage, while Robin van Persie will make his debut up-front if his transfer from Arsenal is completed beforehand, as expected.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
Everton have won just two of their last 15 Premier League meetings with Manchester United.
The last time these two sides met United were 4-2 up before Everton eventually hauled it back to 4-4.
Everton have won only three of their last 20 home matches against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
In four of the last six matches between these two at least one of them has scored a minimum of three goals.
The Toffees could potentially start with three ex-United players on Monday, with Tim Howard, Phil Neville and Darron Gibson all once of the Old Trafford outfit.
In his only playing-career performance against Everton, Manchester United boss Ferguson conceded a penalty and lost 4-1 while playing for Falkirk in 1972.
Everton have played against United in seven different competitions, more than any other club.
Former United goalkeeper Tim Howard has made 183 consecutive Premier League appearances.
Robin van Persie, Shinji Kagawa (pictured, right) and Nick Powell could all make their official United debuts on Monday.
|William Hill: £25 in free bets|
|Sign up with bet365 for a 100% deposit bonus up to £200|
|Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
Top 3 Predictions
Everton 0-3 Manchester United
- 17.15 %
Everton 1-3 Manchester United
- 13.22 %
Everton 0-2 Manchester United
- 12.68 %
|Premier League (EPL)||20 Apr 2014||Everton 2 - Manchester United 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||4 Dec 2013||Manchester United 0 - Everton 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||10 Feb 2013||Manchester United 2 - Everton 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||20 Aug 2012||Everton 1 - Manchester United 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||22 Apr 2012||Manchester United 4 - Everton 4|
|20 Apr 2014||Everton 2 - Manchester United 0||EPL|
|16 Apr 2014||Everton 2 - Crystal Palace 3||EPL|
|12 Apr 2014||Sunderland 0 - Everton 1||EPL|
|6 Apr 2014||Everton 3 - Arsenal FC 0||EPL|
|30 Mar 2014||Fulham 1 - Everton 3||EPL|
|1||David de Gea||Goalkeeper|
|20||Robin van Persie||Striker|
Given he will likely have the opportunity to roam in the attacking third, David Moyes' men will often look to the former Ajax man when attempting to create chances, and if he is clever he will pinpoint Patrice Evra as the weak link in United's armour, a situation that Pienaar is more than good enough to exploit.
As often as he delights spectators, Nani can infuriate them in equal measure, but there is no doubting that when on his game, there are not many left-backs in the world who could contend with him, and he will need to be at best as he looks to get the better of Leighton Baines, a reported United target.
This fixture often has an aura of unpredictability surrounding it and this meeting is no different with Everton certainly representing a side capable of giving Sir Alex's team a tough match. If the Red Devils' frontline is given decent service, they will score goals and for that reason the visitors have to be considered the favourites.