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Premier League

  • 22 April 2012
  • • 12:30
  • • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Referee: M. Jones
  • • Attendance: 75522

Manchester United - Everton Preview: Rooney chasing goalscoring records against former club

The Liverpudlian can become the fourth highest goalscorer in the Red Devils' history with two at OId Trafford on Sunday, as they seek to maintain their lead at the top



De Gea
Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra
Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Young
Rooney, Welbeck


Hibbert, Heitinga, Jagielka, Coleman
Neville, Gibson
, Fellaini
, Pienaar

Sir Alex Ferguson’s midfield remains without Darren Fletcher (illness), Anderson (hamstring) and Paul Pogba (ankle). Skipper Nemanja Vidic (knee) is ruled out for the season, as is Italian striker Federico Macheda. Goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard (ankle) is believed to still be out with an injury, but Michael Owen (thigh) could be in line for a first-team return while Ashley Young has apparently shaken off a knock picked up in Manchester United's win over Aston Villa.

Everton will be without left-back Leighton Baines (hamstring) for a couple of weeks, while fellow England international Jack Rodwell (hamstring) will be absent. Royston Drenthe will not play either, as the winger on loan from Real Madrid has been disciplined for an undisclosed matter. Steven Pienaar is certain to return to the line-up after missing the Toffees' FA Cup semi-final because he was cup-tied.

  • Wayne Rooney (pictured right) will go fourth in Manchester United's all-time goalscoring list if he scores two against his former club on Sunday. He will surpass the current joint-fourth-placed Old Trafford legends Dennis Viollet and George Best.
  • Everton have not beaten the Red Devils on away soil in 18 top-flight matches. United have won 15 of those, drawing with the Toffees three times.
  • 82 points - the current points tally of Sir Alex Ferguson’s side - is the highest that they have ever had after 34 matches.
  • David Moyes’ men have not lost in four consecutive league matches, taking 10 points from an available 12. However, their momentum was dented last weekend when Liverpool scored late to beat their Merseyside rivals 2-1 in their FA Cup semi-final.
  • Although they lost both European matches at Old Trafford, United have won all seven of their games at the stadium since the turn of the year.
  • As of Saturday morning, Rooney (24) is three goals behind Arsenal’s Robin van Persie (27) in the Premier League top goalscorer chart. The former Toffees forward is on 31 in all competitions, eight ahead of Everton’s top goalscorer, Nikica Jelavic (23 for Rangers & Everton), who arrived at Goodison Park in January.
  • That man again: Rooney has not scored in his last six Premier League games against the club he played for until 2004.

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Last Five Matches
Team News
Available Squads
1David de GeaGoalkeeper
3Patrice EvraDefender
5Rio FerdinandDefender
6Jonny EvansDefender
16Michael CarrickMidfielder
18Paul ScholesMidfielder
25Antonio ValenciaMidfielder
10Wayne RooneyStriker
19Danny WelbeckStriker
40Ben AmosGoalkeeper
4Phil JonesDefender
12Chris SmallingDefender
13Ji-Sung ParkMidfielder
18Ashley YoungMidfielder
14Javier HernándezStriker
24Tim HowardGoalkeeper
2Tony HibbertDefender
5John HeitingaDefender
6Phil JagielkaDefender
15Sylvain DistinDefender
4Darron GibsonMidfielder
18Phil NevilleDefender
21Leon OsmanMidfielder
22Steven PienaarMidfielder
25Marouane FellainiMidfielder
18Nikica JelavicStriker
1Jan MuchaGoalkeeper
17Tim CahillMidfielder
20Ross BarkleyMidfielder
11Denis StracqualursiStriker
16James McFaddenStriker
19Magaye GueyeStriker
28Victor AnichebeStriker
Players to Watch
Ashley Young
Ashley Young
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 18
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson revealed on Friday that he “had a word” with Ashley Young over his winger going to ground too easily, but Old Trafford supporters will not mind too much. Winning penalties with minimal contact has become his forte at the home of the Red Devils in recent matches.

But the England international also possesses dangerous pace and a wicked left foot that will doubtless test Everton's ex-United keeper Tim Howard throughout on Sunday afternoon.
Steven Pienaar
Steven Pienaar
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 22
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
His performance in Everton’s last league game at home to Sunderland was outstanding. The Toffees visibly missed him in the creativity department at Wembley last weekend, but he returns for the blue half of Merseyside’s trip to Old Trafford. Manchester United have a formidable record against David Moyes’ men, but they are far from unbeatable there as Blackburn Rovers proved back in December.

On-loan from the plummeting Tottenham, Pienaar has oozed quality since his return to Goodison Park and is my bet for game-changer should his side leave the ground with anything but empty pockets.
Everton are always value for money when it comes to rooting for the underdog. They gave Manchester City a stern test at the Etihad Stadium earlier in the season and regularly test Manchester United in their feisty encounters. But their poor record at Old Trafford speaks volumes, and Sir Alex Ferguson’s men will be able to smell the scent of the title in these final four games. With Wayne Rooney finding form late in the season and a defence and midfield that looked impervious before their defeat at Wigan Athletic earlier in April, it would be unwise to bet against the reigning Premier League champions on Sunday.
Editor's Prediction

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