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Manchester United vs Everton

by | 03/10/2014  Comments (125)  jump
Match Preview

Everton complete a quartet of tough away fixtures this weekend when they make the short trip along the East Lancs Road to face a Manchester United side still looking to find its feet under their second manager since the end of the Sir Alex Ferguson era.

The Blues will take to the field at Old Trafford less than 60 hours after stepping off the plane from Russia following their difficult Europa League encounter with Krasnodar, with Roberto Martinez needing to again leverage the depth in his squad while dealing with the absence — both potential and confirmed — to key players.

The loss of Kevin Mirallas and the lack of a clear indication of his predicted layoff aside, the news on the injury front is better than it has been recently, though, with Ross Barkley set to return to full training next week and Steven Pienaar apparently in with a good chance of being involved this weekend after his own niggly injury problems.

The South African's creativity and ability to link up play has been badly missed so far in a season where he has seen just 90 minutes of action and his availability would be a boon for the team with Mirallas sidelined.

James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman, meanwhile, will undergo late fitness tests on their respective soft-tissue injuries. The former missed the trip to Russia because of a thigh complaint while the latter suffered a recurrence of the hamstring injury that he picked up in pre-season so both are doubts.

Tony Hibbert could make his fourth start in the space of 12 days if Coleman doesn't make it, with Tyias Browning, as he was against Liverpool last Saturday, waiting in the wings as a potential substitute. With Darron Gibson playing the full 90 minutes in Krasnodar, Muhamed Besic could get the nod to partner Gareth Barry in central midfield, while Aiden McGeady is a likely starter in place of Mirallas on the right if Pienaar starts on the left.

Up front, Steven Naismith should return after being rested against Krasnodar while Samuel Eto'o made a goalscoring start and Romelu Lukaku, a half-time substitute at Kuban Stadium on Thursday evening, is also expected to be in the starting XI.

Man Utd, for their part, have endured a similarly erratic start to the new season under Louis van Gaal despite spending eye-watering sums of money over the last 12 months trying to buy their way back into the Champions League. It means that the Dutchman can seamlessly replace Wayne Rooney, suspended for his red card against West Ham last weekend, with 37m man, Juan Mata in the No 10 role behind a likely front two of Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao.

That should provide a stern test for an Everton defence that has kept just one clean sheet all season, although it's worth noting that the central defensive partnership of Phil Jagielka and John Stones that is now generally accepted as the Blues' best has conceded just three goals in four matches (one of them being a direct free kick by Wolfsburg's Ricardo Rodriguez).

For all their glittering attacking talent, it's at the other end where United are vulnerable, particularly with three centre halves out injured. Van Gaal has already confirmed that 19-year-old Paddy McNair will start the match on Sunday and that upheaval and inexperience at the back is something that Everton can exploit if they go to Old Trafford with the right gameplan.

It's likely that Martinez will look to employ the same kind of counter-attacking strategy as he did at Liverpool, hopefully with more success than the rather impotent performance last weekend. Part of Lukaku's brief against the Reds was to prevent Alberto Moreno from getting forward too often down the opposition's left flank and he may get a similar assignment this time against Luke Shaw.

Though it prevents the Belgian from getting into the box as often as he or the fans would like, it's a formation that can work if the Blues use the ball more effectively on the break and if Lukaku gets the space and opportunity to charge at the United defence with the ball in the manner he did in the reverse fixture back in April.

A third successive draw would be a satisfactory result but, just like last season's hoodoo-busting display, this is a match that Everton can win if they go about it in the right way. And three points to end four consecutive away matches would be a massive boost to what has been an iffy start to the campaign but which nevertheless has us just four points off the top four. A win this weekend followed by another against Aston Villa and the whole complexion of the season could change very quickly.

Kick off: 12pm
Referee: Kevin Friend

Full coverage: ToffeeWeb Match Reports


Reader Comments (125)

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Mick Quirke
1 Posted 04/10/2014 at 00:24:07
Love Lyndon's positive outlook:

"A win this weekend followed by another against Aston Villa and the whole complexion of the season could change very quickly."

I was not confident about this game but I'm loving the fact the fact the media are already saying Man Utd are gonna whack us.

We're gonna do 'em again. Pienaar fit and we'll destroy 'em down the left flank.

COYMBB!

Andy Crooks
2 Posted 04/10/2014 at 00:25:39
If Coleman should be fit I'd play Hibbert at right back with Coleman right midfield. Pienaar in front of Baines with Oviedo coming on later. I believe that would give a solid base with some tried and tested creative options.
Jay Harris
3 Posted 04/10/2014 at 00:25:35
This could well be a game of two halves depending on our condition after coming back from Russia.

I would have a bit more confidence if Coleman is fit because much as though I respect Hibbo I do not fancy him against Di Maria.

I would also like the MF to be more solid with McCarthy, Besic and Barry which IMO gives us a much better foundation to control the game.

I would start with Pienaar, Lukaku and Naismith and bring Eto'o on second half for one of them.

Oscar Huglin
4 Posted 04/10/2014 at 00:24:39
Getting a couple of points in the games leading up to this was very important. Could be a real kick starter for our season – imagine if Oviedo grabbed the winner again! Positive thoughts, blues.
Mark Andersson
5 Posted 04/10/2014 at 01:13:40
Nice report, Lyndon. I think United will be worried about us, so it's important to get off to a good start

I'm hoping that these late fitness test are a smoke and mirrors scam to keep the Dutch manager guessing.

I think it could play out a cat and mouse for the first 15 but that would play into their mindset.

We need to be bold and test their back four to unsettle them, get their fans feeling anxious.

It's winnable so I will go for 3-2 Everton. One thing's for sure: there will be lots of TW posts, no matter what the result.

Sam Hoare
6 Posted 04/10/2014 at 01:49:11
We have been a little fortunate recently in games against Wolfsburg, Krasnodar and the RS. I fear our luck may run out this weekend against a pretty top class United attack. If we had our full team fit and raring to go, it may be a different matter but I suspect it may be a struggle that we lose by a goal or two. Hopefully I'm wrong.
Michael Penley
7 Posted 04/10/2014 at 05:02:09
I don't know why people are more confident of Coleman playing than Hibbert. Defensively, Hibbert has the better record... and how many penalties did Coleman give away in the last year?
Ajay Gopal
8 Posted 04/10/2014 at 07:51:23
Assuming that McCarthy and Coleman are unavailable for the Man Utd game and Pienaar is available, I think Martinez will go with:

Howard
Hibbert Stones Jagielka Baines
Besic Barry
McGeady Naismith Pienaar
Lukaku

Subs: Robles, Distin, Browning, Oviedo, Gibson, Osman, Eto'o

In spite of the injuries to Barkley, Mirallas, Coleman and McCarthy, I think that is a fairly strong starting XI and subs bench.

We will likely be up against:

De Gea
Rafael McNair Rojo Blackett
Di Maria Blind Mata Januzaj
Van Persie Falcao

Their forward line is formidable, no doubt about that, but defensively, they have an inexperienced line-up and could be there for the taking.

Jim Bennings
9 Posted 04/10/2014 at 08:02:46
One thing that is 100% certain is that we MUST play better.

We are scraping through games, we scraped through at Anfield and in Russia yet with Man Utd's goal threat, there is every possibility it could be another Chelsea if we aren't switched on.

I'd really love to be positive about our chances but injuries to so many key players coupled together with some woeful form from others is a very bad combination to have and is basically a recipe for not winning matches.

The midfield that we are currently putting out, especially the one on Thursday was as static and pedestrian as anything we seen during one of David Moyes's worst seasons.

Sitting here now I'd take a draw even though I know we need to start winning games. We need to get out of tomorrow with some kind of positive result AND a better display, then we have two more league matches left in October, at home to Villa and away to Burnley. Whilst it's only Autumn, I'd take a pretty good guess that failure to win in those games then the supporters will soon become restless.

Let's hope for a more promising month than expected.

Lee Courtliff
10 Posted 04/10/2014 at 08:30:31
I just can't see us winning this game.

Even with Mirallas, Barkley, etc we'd still struggle against that forward line as our defending as been shite this season.

I'm normally quite positive and I don't really rate Man Utd as a team. But I would quite happily take a point right now. Please don't let us get humiliated.

Paul Smith
11 Posted 04/10/2014 at 08:30:20
This is a game where we need a big performance from Rom as defensively they have been struggling like us. I hope McCarthy is fit and I would leave Hibbert and Barry out after the long journey we've just encountered. So my team if there's no Coleman would be:

Howard, Browning, Baines, Stones, Jagielka, Besic, McCarthy, Pienaar, Naismith, Lukaku, McGeady.

These are here for the taking and big Rom should play on the defenders' shoulders and look to get in behind them whenever possible. I have only put McGeady in because of injuries; if Coleman is fit, I would put him in instead in front of Browning.

Phil Walling
12 Posted 04/10/2014 at 08:49:50
So that's why we spent 㿈M on a star striker – to stop left backs 'getting forward too often'!

Now I understand.

Dixie will be due another turn in his grave!

Wayne Smyth
13 Posted 04/10/2014 at 08:42:00
Lee, other teams have beaten "that forward line" this season. Teams who don't have players of the quality of Eto'o, Lukaku, Barry, Stones, McCarthy, Baines.....

So, mindset will largely determine the result. If we go there worrying about them and their expensive forwards, then we'll lose for sure. If we work hard and stay positive, we've got every chance of beating them.

But it's really important we actually have a go at them, not "try to escape there alive" like we did for so many years. I think and hope Martinez will have the players mentally better prepared for it than we've been under OFM.

Michael (7) – I'd be interested to see some information on why you think Coleman is a worse defender than Hibbert. Certainly in the last 2 years Hibbert has played only a couple of games, so quite how you can come to that conclusion baffles me.

Hibbert was ripped to shreds by Montero at Swansea and we conceded because of it, but that kind of thing won't show against him in any stat, like conceding a pen, for example.

That said, I thought Hibbert did well against Krasnodar, so perhaps he needs a few matches to get match sharpness, but he'll never have the quality of Coleman, who as well as being a good defender, is superb going forward. There is a very good reason why the rich teams are sniffing around him, and that's because he's probably one of the top full backs in Europe.

Jim Bennings
15 Posted 04/10/2014 at 08:57:41
I think we have been saying for quite some time that we need a big performance from Rom; sadly for me anyway, he has just never been the same player he was in his first few months after joining on loan.

Too many more lethargic looking displays just won't go down well; I'm becoming tired of hearing that he's not fit, thus his seeming lack of ability to look anything like mobile. The World Cup was an age ago now, we can't keep blaming that, and basically if he has been carrying a toe injury then he shouldn't be playing but recovering whilst Eto'o and Naismith hold the fort.

Tomorrow is the type of game where we are going to need our attacking players to do a fair bit of tracking back and defensive duty, failure to do so then we will be exposed, failure for Lukaku to gather the ball and hold on to it and bring others in to the game will not be acceptable.

Ian Bennett
16 Posted 04/10/2014 at 09:00:21
Key is whether Coleman and McCarthy are fit. Without them, I can't see the win.

Howard
Coleman (or Browning if not fit)
Baines
Stones
Jagielka

McCarthy
Barry
Besic

Pienaar or Oviedo (although he will start McGeady)
Lukaku
Naismith

Kunal Desai
17 Posted 04/10/2014 at 09:13:45
Their back line is almost shocking. There is no Vidic or Ferdinand or any other commanding centre back in that back four. If I were Rom, I'd be licking my lips at ripping into that back line. Just depends on which Rom turns up, though...
Phil Walling
18 Posted 04/10/2014 at 09:05:19
Wayne, I take issue with your assertion that mindset will LARGELY determine tomorrow's result. Yes, it will play a part but, as ever, the contest will primarily be a battle of skills and tactics.

The concept of 'thinking a win' being paramount is nonsense although one pedalled through the ages by coaches who, themselves, have less than confidence in their players to perform.

However much our lads 'want it', the outcome will (as ever) depend on the team's skill-set and physical ability to outdo the Mancs rather than any vague theory on mind games.

Mark Griffiths
19 Posted 04/10/2014 at 09:19:59
If we play the way we have been playing so far, I can see a narrow victory to them. Man Utd have lost that psychological edge they used to have under Wiskey Nose and teams know this. But, if we can put in a solid performance at the back and our passing game is back to normal, we can win this no problem... the only problem is I just don't think we will; please prove me wrong Everton!
Jim Bennings
21 Posted 04/10/2014 at 09:26:44
I don’t know about anyone else but I just want us to turn up and look like team that isn’t still going through the throes of pre-season. Our play has been so bleeding lethargic lately and frankly it’s almost like we’re in a comatose state from our defending right through to Lukaku.

I have watched three strikers this week: Demba Ba, Danny Welbeck and Francesco Totti. All have them have been a reliable spearhead for their respective clubs; they have done what you want striker to do, which is keep constantly moving into space, attempting to drag the opposition defence out of position. They have taken balls played into their feet or chest under control and done a simple thing such as lay it off to a team-mate and bring others into play. They have all scored, and the reason they have scored is because they have worked hard to drag themselves into the match, by moving and looking alive, looking alert.

Romelu Lukaku was similar to this when he first joined on loan 12 months ago but he has slowly become less and less involved in games. Even if you’re not getting great service, it’s vital if you’re a striker to force yourself into a match a make your considerable size felt.

This for me is Martinez’s biggest challenge regarding Lukaku. Forget the 㿈 million we paid, what Martinez needs to do is get Lukaku playing like the powerhouse battering ram that he can be, but he desperately needs to work on many aspects of his game also – his ball control and hold-up play aren’t even up to Anichebe’s standards yet.

Pablo Connelly
22 Posted 04/10/2014 at 09:30:47
I'm hoping and praying that Coleman and Pienaar somehow make it. Also that Roberto doesn't play Lukaku all on the right. It's a great opportunity to put him right up against a 19-year-old kid who is likely to be nervous anyway, surely that would be missing a massive trick?
Danny Broderick
23 Posted 04/10/2014 at 09:23:54
The fact that some of us are thinking we can win tomorrow shows how much Roberto changed our mindset last year. Previously, we wouldn't have even dreamed of winning at Old Trafford. DM was thankful to get out alive.

Let's just have a go at them.

Paul Andrews
24 Posted 04/10/2014 at 09:47:53
Mark Griffiths,

Good point there. Their confidence is shot; if we get on the front foot early and attack them, hopefully get the first goal, we can get something out of the game.

A point would do me.

Patrick Murphy
25 Posted 04/10/2014 at 09:45:30
Given the performances of the last two games, I'm not expecting great things tomorrow, especially as I had a nasty dream that we lost 6-1. It also happens that we are sat on 299 Premier League defeats – apparently the most defeats for any club in the PL era – so it wouldn't be a great surprise if we 'notched' the 300th at a ground that has been less than kind over the years.

I do hope we get a win but I can't see it, not because Man Utd are a great team but rather that Everton seem incapable of putting in a 90-minute performance at the moment. A lot of what we have seen has been error-strewn and players who we previously thought could be relied upon have too often gone missing during any given match. I'll take a draw but really hope we can gain all three points.

Dick Fearon
26 Posted 04/10/2014 at 09:51:31
Barring injury, I would play Lukaku central with strict orders not to drift to the wings. Against Man Utd's inexperienced central defenders, his sheer physical presence should run them ragged.

My main wish is that Osman does not play unless it's for the final 30 mins.

Jim Bennings
27 Posted 04/10/2014 at 10:30:08
Dick, I completely agree.

Regardless of well or poor, Lukaku, or any striker is playing there is one serious thing that gives me the irrits and that's seeing our lone striker playing as a fucking winger. Why does that need to happen when we have wide midfielders??

Lukaku should channel all of his energy and raw aggression in trying cause as much trouble for Manchester United's central defence as possible – not farting around on the flanks while we don't have anyone on the box... well, Naismith the only one if we're lucky.

Tony Abrahams
28 Posted 04/10/2014 at 10:32:48
Tim Howard says that the big games are easy, but when you have played in Russia, and then have 60 hours before you play again, then this is really difficult. Expect a few injuries after tomorrow's game hopefully, to keep players at home rather than going to play internationals. I hope so anyway, and hope the players have been told, "Win tomorrow and have a few days off to recuperate."

I hope we have a few changes tomorrow because, when you're tired, the last thing you need is a team with as much attacking quality as Man Utd coming at you. I don't like possession for the sake of it, but it might not be a bad idea tomorrow.

Peter Bell
29 Posted 04/10/2014 at 10:48:47
Dick (#26):

"Lukaku's sheer physical presence." — He doesn't have one. No use being a big lad if you don't use it.

Phil Walling
30 Posted 04/10/2014 at 10:57:33
Why the fuck would any sensible manager even think of playing this 㿈MILLION POUND STRIKER as a winger ?

The whole concept defies belief!

Tony Marsh
31 Posted 04/10/2014 at 10:58:11
Although Europa League syndrome may well effect us tomorrow, Man Utd do not possess the same fear factor they once did.

Every time I watch Man Utd, the opposition is having a go at them. Home or away. We must do the same thing. Utd's back line is awful. The bonus of Rooney not playing is also a big factor. A draw would do me just fine.

Derek Knox
32 Posted 04/10/2014 at 10:59:46
Unfortunately I share the fears of most on here, that our early injuries to key players, coupled with pretty inept performances of the team in general, do not incubate any positive outlook for tomorrow's game against Man Utd.

Having said that, Man Utd are going through a transitional stage, under Spongebob Squarehead, and with several players arriving, the correct team selection, a result is achievable.

If Seamus is not available, I think it would be folly to play Hibbert, who will get absolutely raped by Di Maria for pace. The midfield also must start to pass with purpose and at least find a blue shirt, linking the forward players would be welcome too.

Fingers crossed, we may just get something, and give a boost to our stuttering League start, and hopefully kickstart the machine into action.

COYB

Tony Marsh
33 Posted 04/10/2014 at 11:11:01
Phil Walling @ 30...

Did you not see Lukaku tear Arsenal apart last season and score a wonder goal cutting in from... Hmm, let's see... the right wing? We won 3-0 and Lukaku was man of the match playing out wide... Short memory or what? As long as it not a constant tactic, it can be a weapon.

Jim Bennings
34 Posted 04/10/2014 at 11:07:22
It will be interesting to see how Pienaar does if he plays tomorrow, one of my most favourite players during the Moyes years but accepted that time is catching him up.

I still think he had a bit more to offer, hadn't really featured much in the Martinez reign thus far so it will be interesting to see if he was to start playing regularly how he and we as a team would perform.

Pienaar is one of the few midfielders we have that is creative rather than sideways, it's just a great shame the last 12 months have been lost through injury.

Jim Bennings
35 Posted 04/10/2014 at 11:20:37
Apparently I'm hearing from reports that Luke Shaw is fit for United.

Taking a quick glance at the supposed line-ups for the match tomorrow, you see United with this star studded attack of Falcao, Van Persie, Di Maria and Mata and think "how the fuck do we stop that"

Of course United have been susceptible this season but you fear they will score at least twice tomorrow so we are going to need to be ruthless in attack ourselves.

Phil Walling
36 Posted 04/10/2014 at 11:14:23
Meant to say earlier that there's good money to be won for a Blues win tomorrow.

Earlier in the week, I got 𧴜/20 and even now the odds are 䀌/20.

Get in there.

COYB !

Tim Locke
37 Posted 04/10/2014 at 11:08:31
Phil I think the answer is in how he played against Ars last season, hats off to Booby, was a genius, and he scored an amazing goal. But that was a one off, he has to play through the middle.

Thursday I thought the last 10mins he showed what he could do, picked the ball up 20 yards out and drove through defenders, but we didn't pay 㿈m for 10mins work. That game against West Ham he owned the box, and controlled our play. What happened to that player. The number of times Thursday we were in great positions on the wing, and drove the ball in to an empty box, I want to see him in there. Getting his head in, even the Eto'o goal he was nowhere near getting the ball. I am not questioning his ability or record, but his attitude at the moment is poor and he looks lazy.

Team wise

Howard

Oviedo - If Pienaar is unfit, otherwise Baines.
Stones
Jags
Coleman or Browning if not fit

McCarthy - Besic if injured and would ask him to do a job on the Di man
Barry

Pienaar or Baines (I would play Baines higher up, think he would create and could cover as defender. There right side is clearly the most attacking and going to have the most space in behind)
Naismith
McGeady

Lukaku

Steve Carse
38 Posted 04/10/2014 at 11:48:05
Phil (36), yes, the odds are ridiculous. We're 9/2 with Hills. Two struggling sides in similar league positions. Presumably though Utds odds are always relatively short because they attract more betting.
Linda Morrison
39 Posted 04/10/2014 at 12:10:32
I still think it's not right that Everton have to play so early following a very long journey from Russia. I bet half the team will still be a bit jet lagged!

Nevertheless, the key I believe is to keep it tight for the first 20 minutes or so and hopefully come away with something. It is a big if as the officials tend to favour Man Utd when they play at home.

We hope and wait and see.

Mark Frere
40 Posted 04/10/2014 at 12:15:40
This is a depleted Manure side we are up against. Yes they have a mouth watering forward line but that alone doesn't make them a good side. Their defence is in dissaray and their central midfield is very average. There's no reason we can't win this one.

Hopefully Pienaar will be back, and I would play Eto'o behind Lukaku linking up the play. We've sorley missed players that can link up play of late... Naismith works hard for the team, is good at finding space around the box and is a good finisher but he lacks creativity. He often slows down our couter attacks and doesn't have the ability to play that killer pass. Naismith should be used as an impact sub for this game.

If Coleman is not fit, I think Browning should start. He will offer much more going forward than Hibbert and is less likely to be done for pace; Browning deserves to be rewarded for his good performance against RS... this excellant crop of youngsters need every opportunity to develop.

If McCarthy doesn't make it, I would go with Barry and Besic in the CM.

We won't get a better chance of beating Man Utd than this as they are in transition, playing badly and have an inexperienced back line.

My team:

Howard
Browning Stones Jagielka Baines
McGeady Besic Barry Pienaar
Eto'o
Lukaku

Wayne Smyth
41 Posted 04/10/2014 at 12:29:06
Phil, you're free to hold your opinion, but I believe actually there is very little difference technically between them and us. In Di Maria they have a world class talent, but we have more than enough talent of our own to be able to compete.

Great teams win things because they believe. Amply demonstrated by SAF who won the league with a side who with a more negative, less confident mindset managed just 7th place 12 months later.

There is a reason why having gone a goal up we often sit back rather than go for a second; and we've been guilty of this under Martinez as well as Moyes. It's because most of our players lack the confidence, bordering on arrogance, that you need to end up with 80 or 90 points in May.

If we want it more tomorrow, we've every chance of coming away with 3 points, regardless of the gulf in cost of the teams, or what formation we play. If not, they'll probably win. This is especially true given how fragile they're likely to be at the back.

Whether we can put in the physical and mental effort required after such a long midweek trip is a question, but I don't think we need to go there with an inferiority complex about the standard of our team compared to theirs.

Harold Matthews
42 Posted 04/10/2014 at 10:48:34
Unlike the Russian ping pong table the Old Trafford surface should see us in a better light. So much depends on the McCarthy/Coleman late fitness tests.

Quite frankly, without McCarthy we’re in a bit of a mess. Besic will fill in but I doubt he will get past the 70 minute mark. Gibbo is nowhere near fit enough and can’t tackle and Ossie doesn’t have the legs or physique. Which ever way we bend it our midfield is lightweight and painfully slow. With McGeady, Naismith and Pienaar dropping back to help, the only one missing will be Snow White.

The fact that Di Maria bears a very strong resemblance to the Wicked Witch doesn’t help matters but, if I remember correctly, after looking like the winner she eventually snuffed it..

Phil Walling
43 Posted 04/10/2014 at 12:45:18
Wayne, its you who is going on about inferiority complexes. All I'm saying is that the result will be determined by ability, effort and possibly luck – not mind games!
Ciaran Duff
44 Posted 04/10/2014 at 12:43:13
I think Ajay's team is the most likely. RM has dropped major hints that Coleman and McCarthy will not be fit and Pienaar is the most likely to make it.

I would say it is highly unlikely that he would give Browning his first start away at OT but he might come off the bench later depending on how things go.

I don't think Oviedo has clocked up enough minutes to start but maybe he could come on for Baines later?

Wayne Smyth
45 Posted 04/10/2014 at 13:11:31
Phil, that's not what you said above. You said the result would be primarily determined by skill and tactics.

Mindset and effort go hand-in-hand and both of those are probably going to be chief determiners of who comes away with the points, I think. Not skill and not tactics.

I've watched enough football to realise that differences in ability count for very little if the players fail to put a shift in, or go out without the belief they can get a result.

Wayne Smyth
46 Posted 04/10/2014 at 13:21:21
By the way Phil, mindset and mind games are two very, very different things.
Dean Adams
47 Posted 04/10/2014 at 13:24:39
Harold.
That wicked witch reference put a smile on my face. Thank you.
Dave Duggan
48 Posted 04/10/2014 at 13:15:30
4-3-3

Howard
Coleman (Browning)
Stones
Jagielka
Baines
McCarthy
Besic
Pienaar
Lukaku
Naismith
McGeady

Browning over Hibbert to give us more options going forward. Lets be positive and try and get the game won because they are terrible defensively! Pienaar would suit being in a 3 in the middle as he can still link up with Bainsey and also provide the forward thinking play to link up with Naismith. He also never gives up so would complement Besic and McCarthy.

Hopefully the injured are passed fit otherwise I just don't see where we will create enough to trouble them. Especially with tired legs after Thursday.

Anthony Hughes
49 Posted 04/10/2014 at 13:27:27
I think they have us outgunned in attack and midfield but our back four is superior in spite of the poor start to the season. It could be absolutely anything tomorrow.
Wayne Smyth
50 Posted 04/10/2014 at 13:30:54
Dave, I think we will create chances. They're at home and are shit defensively and weak in midfield, so they'll be getting players forward trying to score and hopefully leaving gaps.

I can't see them working as hard as the Russians, or sitting deep and preventing us from working the ball forward.

John Crook
51 Posted 04/10/2014 at 13:41:48
Kunal (17).

I'm sure Rom would be licking his lips if someone could provide him with service. I'm expecting Rom to start on the right with Eto'o up top and Naismith as the 'false 9'.

Andrew Clare
52 Posted 04/10/2014 at 13:55:49
A very winnable game. Approach it with in the same way as last season, with the same motivation, and we will prevail.

So far this season, we haven't performed for the full 90 minutes; hopefully tomorrow it will happen. We'd better win because I am at my daughter's for lunch tomorrow and my son-in-law is a bandwagon-jumping Manc fan.

Harold Matthews
53 Posted 04/10/2014 at 14:14:37
Agree Ciaran. The Ajay line-up looks the most likely.
Mark McGuinness
55 Posted 04/10/2014 at 14:52:42
I see Mc Carthy has been ruled out of next Saturday's Irish squad – that can't be good news for tomorrow.
Phil Walling
56 Posted 04/10/2014 at 15:01:18
Be that as it may, Wayne, we can be sure that whilst every loss at OT was attributed to Moyes's negativity, any failure to get a result tomorrow will not be the fault of Roberto!

But hell, we are going to shock them!

Brian Furey
57 Posted 04/10/2014 at 14:35:21
I think some people need to take a reality check. Yes, we're not playing as well as last season but we've had a few injuries yet we're averaging nearly 2 goals a game. We've drawn with Arsenal, scored 3 goals v Chelsea, had a bad home loss to Palace yet are top of our Europa League group having hammered the team we were most worried about.

Sunday is the end of a group of hard away games and, with a small enough squad with loads of injuries, I think results wise we've done pretty well. Defensively we've been awful but I think, when Stones and Jags get a run of games with Coleman and Baines, we will see more consistency.

Interesting how many of you were calling for Atsu to replace McGeady but aren't so sure any more. Barkley and Pienaar will add a lot this month If they stay fit.

Keep the faith, lads and enjoy the goals. I would be happy to finish top 6 and get to the Europa League final. If we win it and RS finish 4th, do they lose out?

Dave Abrahams
58 Posted 04/10/2014 at 15:28:56
Patrick Murphy nice to see you back, hope you and your family are okay.

Hope we can get a victory tomorrow; it is the right time to be playing Man Utd with all their injuries although we have quite a few ourselves.

I still can’t help feeling Jagielka is the problem, especially playing on the left side of defence. I hope I’m wrong but he can’t play the way Martinez wants him to play.

Clive Lewis
59 Posted 04/10/2014 at 15:55:00
Are we deluded? We are currently 4th from bottom and playing like Wigan of old.
Sam Hoare
60 Posted 04/10/2014 at 15:55:08
Not ideal when I'm hoping that West ham can beat Qpr so we don't go into the international break in the relegation zone!!!

Things can turn around quickly early season but can't say I'm hopeful that such a turnaround will start tomorrow. There's just been so few good moments in our performances so far.

Steavey Buckley
61 Posted 04/10/2014 at 16:03:27
I hope Roberto does not turn into another Moyes and become over cautious and reliant on players who are not so popular with the Everton supporters.
Conor McCourt
62 Posted 04/10/2014 at 16:00:29
I think some of our fans need a reality check. We have just played an excellent Russian team where historically English teams have a very poor record; we played with only about 5 regulars and got a great draw. The week before, we got a great point against the Redshite and everyone is deriding the performances. I guarantee Lille or Wolfsburg wont win there and not too many teams will get points at Anfield either.

After tomorrow, we will have played 4 of the top 6 excluding us and we have Barkley, Pienaar, McCarthy and Coleman to come back into the team over the next few weeks. I think tomorrow is a massive game and we need a point to keep us within 2 points of Man Utd who are probably favourites for 4th.

Keep the faith as October and November look very favourable in terms of fixtures and then some people will realise how tough a start we had.

Wayne Smyth
63 Posted 04/10/2014 at 16:15:48
Clive, deluded about what? Should we be shitting ourselves because we're playing a side 2 points ahead of us?

A side that has 2 points more than us having playing Burnley, West Ham, Swansea, Sunderland, QPR and Leicester?

On the flip side, we've played Arsenal, Chelsea and the RS. Admittedly we've not played well, but most of our dropped points have been because of shooting ourselves in the foot with individual defensive mistakes and we've been generally scoring quite freely.

Phil, you'll never hear me criticise a manager of ours for trying to get the team playing football in the right way, playing for the win and disregarding reputation. Martinez has made errors, and I dislike some of the things he does, but all managers have faults.

It's worth remembering the guy has had 1 season in charge, and although it may not all be working out on the pitch, in the first 6 games so far as I can tell he's trying to do the right things, so I'm going to give him my support. You're within your rights to come on here and slag him or the players off at every opportunity if you wish.

For example, the 3-6 result against Chelsea was difficult to take, but our lads gave it a fucking good go and but for some individual madness from Jags in the first few minutes, the game could've finished differently. I'll take the attitude over some weak attempt to hold out for a "respectable" loss any day of the week.

Michael Kenrick
64 Posted 04/10/2014 at 16:38:00
Conor, the reality is that our performances have not been that great. Yet the results (which you are focusing on) have been (at best) respectable (not Palace and Chelsea however).

No reality check needed, as most posters recognize exactly this.

Dennis Stevens
65 Posted 04/10/2014 at 16:32:01
Phil Walling re your mindset comments: I don't think that matches can be won merely by the force of positive thinking, but I do think it's difficult to win any contest if you don't start off with the belief that you can do so.
Sam Hoare
66 Posted 04/10/2014 at 16:53:15
Conor, October and November may look favorable but then so did Crystal Palace at home. Nothing is guaranteed except the points you have on the board.
Brendan Whelan
67 Posted 04/10/2014 at 17:02:48
On balance, we do not have enough to beat Man Utd tomorrow; our defense is as bad as that of the Mancs but they have a much more potent attack.....
Brian Harrison
68 Posted 04/10/2014 at 17:07:33
Our best chance tomorrow is to start in a high tempo get the ball into midfield early and look to play the ball early for Lukaku and Naismith to run onto. I don't want them just to knock aimless balls forward but equally I don't want to see our back 4 exchanging 10-15 passes before trying to get it into our attacking players.

Another loss tomorrow would put us under a lot of pressure to pick up all 3 points against Villa, and with our confidence low I wouldn't fancy that scenario. So Roberto tell him to start high tempo and to get at a very young back 4 and claim all 3 points.

Kunal Desai
70 Posted 04/10/2014 at 17:02:37
Coleman 'just' failed a fitness test for last week's derby. By my understanding, that would mean another week's rest which should make him available for tomorrow and if he requires a fitness test should pass this without no issues?
Brian Waring
71 Posted 04/10/2014 at 17:21:11
That's the worry for me Brian, on Thursday we started too slow and just fucked about with the ball at the back, before we knew it we were on the back foot with Krasnador playing at a high tempo.

We can't start like that against the Mancs because they will destroy us.

Gavin Johnson
72 Posted 04/10/2014 at 17:33:34
I hope we go with the tried and tested 4-2-3-1 formation with Pienaar on the left and Lukaku playing as an out-and-out centre forward.

I really hope that Osman gets nowhere near the first 11 with Naismith taking his place behind Lukaku. I've got nothing against Osman but it does my head when he gets a full 90 mins when he looks completely knackered after an hour, especially with the 90 mins and air miles after the Krasnodar game.

Same with Hibbo. I'd like him to start tomorrow but making way for Browning around the hour mark. I quite fancy Eto'o to be the big game striker he is and scoring after coming on from the bench. God knows what the final score will be. I can see us scoring and conceding, so maybe we'll get another draw.

Mike Oates
73 Posted 04/10/2014 at 17:37:42
We need Coleman, McCarthy and Pienaar playing to get any hope of creating chances. Without them and Mirallas and Barkley we are toothless.

Man Utd's defence is there for the taking but not with McGeady, Atsu, Osman etc. It's all about the fitness tests. What worries me is Martinez's statement midweek that the International Break will see our Irish lads fresh ready for the challenges ahead – this means to me that they won't be fit tomorrow.

Ian Bennett
74 Posted 04/10/2014 at 18:07:51
McCarthy is out of the Ireland squad, so not a great sign. he is out vs Gibraltar, but has an outside chance vs Germany if he improves. Coleman is named.
Jim Bennings
75 Posted 04/10/2014 at 18:06:11
Kunal, don't even try and work they one out mate, our injury prognosis is very rarely ever right, I'd like to know if it's Martinez or the medical staff that treats these injuries.

I will expect to see Coleman at the start of November, Barkley the end of November and Mirallas on fucking Boxing Day.

And maybe Kone when the aliens have finally finished with him....

Jamie Crowley
76 Posted 04/10/2014 at 18:35:40
I think it was Tim G, fellow American and damn funny human being, who said on another thread we should park the OmniBus for this one.

I respectfully disagree with anyone who believes that's the best way to turn over Man Utd.

Their defense is a shambles. We should go there all guns blazing and attack. I don't care if we win 8-7. Score goals - they're ripe for the picking.

Big game this one. A couple of winnable games after this.

Conor McCourt
77 Posted 04/10/2014 at 18:17:02
Michael, I'm not talking about results alone. In only one game this season, Crystal Palace, were we second best. Against Arsenal we outplayed them for 80 minutes, we were the better team against Chelsea and magnificent against a very good Wolfsburg side. It's very easy to look at the league table and jump on the bandwagon.

I remember last season when we played well against Spurs and Chelsea but lost Martinez was getting slated yet we produced some terrible performances in March against a few weaker teams but got the results, ie, West Ham and everyone was on here worshipping Roberto.

Before a ball was kicked this season, I felt we would struggle to be in the top half after the Man Utd game due to the fixture list plus the extra burden on resources that Europe brings. If you factor also the rapid decline of Distin this season and Roberto purposely giving the World Cup players extra time off, then things aren't as bad as some are making out. We have looked more solid with the Jags - Stones axis at the back and if we play the same way as we did against Krasnodar and Liverpool against some of these weaker sides coming up, it won't be long until we shoot up the table.

Michael, Just because the masses say something doesn't make it correct; most in England say Gerrard is a world class player yet when faced at the world class stage with the Schweinsigger and Pirlo, he has continually proved out of his depth.

Tony Twist
79 Posted 04/10/2014 at 19:02:51
A must-win game already so early in the season. People need to take note of how things are going and accept that Martinez is just as likely to take us down as keep us up. The performance and management of the team has been poor so far and there seems no signs of improvement.

I couldn't care less as to where in the table Manchester United are compared to us, I feel it's only a matter of time before they improve as they have a lot of new players that need to bed in; we don't have that excuse. I hope I am wrong about Martinez but he needs to tone down the positivity a tad and be realistic as the performances thus far have been average at best. Man Utd are there for the taking but we need to keep ball and then hit them more directly which I think will help Lukaku. My team would be:

Howard, Coleman or Browning, Stones, Jagielka, Baines, McGeady, Besic, McCarthy or Barry, Astu, Naismith, Lukaku.

The front four will really need to start to play as a unit and help out the defence at the same time. Fingers crossed for a repeat of last season. COYB.

David Hallwood
80 Posted 04/10/2014 at 19:49:01
BTW do you know that you can get Everton to win @9/2 and the draw @ 10/3; thatÂ’s gotta be worth a few quid. BTW Man Utd is 4/6 so obviously the bookies havenÂ’t seen their defence.
Tom Magill
81 Posted 04/10/2014 at 20:08:58
Eternal optimist here, IÂ’ve a fiver on 3-2 to us! BTW I did us to win 4-1 against Wolfsburg so hereÂ’s hoping! NSNO
Anthony Burke
82 Posted 04/10/2014 at 20:17:39
Despite Europe and not playing brilliantly lately, I think we're improving slightly. I honestly believe we will win tomorrow and we will see a proper performance. I'm confidently predicting a 3-1 win. COYB!!!!!!
Jon Withey
83 Posted 04/10/2014 at 20:12:00
I suppose without Mirallas and Coleman I can kind of see why Rom goes right – but I'd prefer him with Naismith up front.

Pienaar gets a lot of criticism for not scoring goals but at least he reliably keeps hold of the ball in forward areas so we can work it around their box like last season.

With Rom on the right and no speedy winger or full-back, I really don't see us as a counter-attacking team – better that we play keep ball in their half and choose our moment.

John Voigt
84 Posted 04/10/2014 at 20:17:46
Lots of Lukaku comments. He plays where Martinez tells him to play and plays his role. Out wide he's a good outlet but too far from goal unless the opposition left back is not physically imposing and finds him a bit of room to operate.

It will be very had to keep a clean sheet. Man Utd have tons of world class players up front who will create chances.

Everton's best chance is to keep position, limit chances and move forward with pace when the situation warrants bombing a few players forward.

Eto'o has the skill to be a real plus in this game. Hope he starts or at least comes on early as a sub. I'm most worried about Di Maria. His pace and passing are difficult to contain.

Andy Meighan
85 Posted 04/10/2014 at 20:44:25
Re Lukaku, you say he might get a similar role to the one at Anfield. Call me cynical but whatÂ’s the use of splashing out practically our entire transfer budget on a centre forward to use him in a wide position? It just doesnÂ’t make sense.

Also, call me old-fashioned, but isnÂ’t a centre forward actually meant to play through the middle?

Mike Oates
86 Posted 04/10/2014 at 21:49:40
McCarthy out of Republic of Ireland squad, Coleman in. I suspect that's why Besic didn't appear on Thursday – he's straight in, as is Pienaar and Coleman hopefully.

Team: Howard, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines, Besic, Barry, McGeady, Naismith, Pienaar, Lukaku.

Julian Wait
87 Posted 04/10/2014 at 21:59:38
I expect Besic to start even if McCarthy is fit, especially if he is not (in which case Pienaar, to be replaced by Oviedo). Likewise Hibbert to start, Browning to come on if needed. Stones and Jags in the middle. Lukaku and Naismith to soften them up, Eto'o to come on and finish them off. We'll miss Mirallas for this one and a few more it seems, but I think we'll play through the middle and let Baines overlap on the left. Hibbert to score?
Joseph Clarke
88 Posted 04/10/2014 at 22:03:18
We wonÂ’t win Sunday. I think we will get beat, and it will be blamed on us playing in Europe. Hope I am dead wrong. If I am, I will not grace this site again.
Peter Cummings
89 Posted 04/10/2014 at 22:21:51
If we do lose, I hope nobody trots out the excuse about a hard Euro trip and fatigue; letÂ’s just accept that right now we are just not good enough.
Anthony Burke
90 Posted 04/10/2014 at 22:28:28
I feel so optimistic we will win tomorrow; they have no defence and they have a team off strangers. We can do them for the 3rd time on the bounce... COYB!!!!
Darryl Ritchie
91 Posted 04/10/2014 at 22:23:27
Lukaku out wide was a good strategy vs Arsenal last season. It was a way to get our best attacking side on the field at the same time. Lukaku, Mirallas, Naismith and Barklay would make any opposing side take notice.

The problem now, is that 2 of the 4 are unavailable.
Against the shite, Rom was effective out wide, but he needed....Lukaku to cross it to.

With the squad that’s available, he needs to be in the centre.

Tom Bowers
92 Posted 04/10/2014 at 22:28:50
Whilst one or two were rested, it will still be a tough ask to get something at Old Trafford tomorrow after the long Russian trip. Even the so-called top four teams seem to have problems after long trips to Europe and, as the Blues do not have the squads that they have, they will be up against it against a fresh Man Utd side.

If they can start brightly and put Man Utd out of their stride, then anything is possible but the current injuries are really screwing things up, forcing too many adjustments.

Eddie Dunn
93 Posted 04/10/2014 at 22:21:16
It is a big game tomorrow, win and we are in the top 8 or 9, and 2 points off champions league. Draw we go up one or two places, and lose, we will stay a lowly 17th.

Psychologically it is very important, even so early in the season.
We lose, and we will be under huge pressure in the coming games, which we would normally expect to win.
A win or even a draw, and we can look forward to building on a decent period, with optimism.

I hope that Coleman is fit, as he is so key to our penetration.
Although we are facing some great offensive players, we must seek to put their rookie defence to the sword.

Remember lads, Leicester put 5 past them.
COYBs.

Brian Furey
94 Posted 04/10/2014 at 22:24:03
The swing in opinions on here is unreal. Its like we're all watching different teams. My experience in most sports is that things aren't so bad or so good. Some facts worth noting are:

● We're scoring a lot of goals even when losing or drawing (bar Swansea in the League Cup).
● We conceded a lot of soft goals until Stones came in to his best position.
● Barry is walking a tightrope most games where he does lots of good things but his lack of pace means he's likely to give away penalties or get sent off.
● Lukaku hasn't hit form yet but Eto'o will score goals even if off form.
● We are missing some top quality players like Coleman, Barkley, Pienaar and Mirallas yet people are still expecting us to beat Arsenal, Liverpool and now Man Utd away.

I'll be happy with a draw but expect the Russia trip to take its toll. In my eyes, Palace was the only big blip in a very very tough month of games.

Brian Furey
95 Posted 04/10/2014 at 22:59:58
Lads,

We are playing Man Utd (Away) – who, unlike last year, see us now as a rival for Champions League places. We are missing most of our best creative, attacking players. We are just back from an exhausting trip in Russia... yet here we are with total unrealistic expectations in my opinion.

Yes, they have a dodgy back 3 or 4 but they've spent big on midfield and strikers. I'd be happy with 4 all. ;-)

Harold Matthews
96 Posted 04/10/2014 at 21:45:32
Without four of our most vital first team players it won't be easy and we'll need to cut off the supply to their two world class strikers.(Legally.) Besic will definitely clatter Di Maria and I hope Barry can manage Mata. Our veteran DM has serious trouble with leftfooters because they usually come across his non-tackling right leg. If he uses his stronger leg it's a certain trip.

A big test for young Stones. The lad has been a revelation but he's short on experience and the wily Falcoa will give him plenty to think about. Let's hope he does okay. Not that he'll be alone. We'll have him well covered.

With Pienaar back I would expect Lukaku to operate through the middle with McGeady on the right. Indeed, the quick little Irishman may play a role which puts him close to the pacey Di Maria.

In the end it might come down to who wants it most. Who can sustain the closing down, win the 50/50 balls and keep on rolling. Let's hope it's us.

Brian Furey
97 Posted 05/10/2014 at 00:31:49
A little trivia for you all and please don't Google it.
Of our current squad... Name the top 5 scorers.

I'll give ye a clue. No 1 we love to hate him.

Sam Hoare
98 Posted 05/10/2014 at 00:30:05
I've yet to see us this season (apart from maybe patches of Arsenal game) look as good as we did for long stretches last season. Tomorrow would be a good time to start.

If we play like we have done for the last 3 games or so we will lose. Comfortably.

Mike Corcoran
99 Posted 04/10/2014 at 23:38:58
All depends on mental edge much like my lads game against his rivals tomorrow
John Malone
100 Posted 05/10/2014 at 02:09:06
I'm not expecting much from this game. Tired legs, players injured, and Di Maria's pace all worry me.

Gareth Fieldstead
101 Posted 05/10/2014 at 01:56:20
McCarthy and Coleman must be fully fit for us to have a chance. Lukaku down the middle, Naismith just behind. Would love a fully fit Peinnar to return but have a feeling none of them will play. Despite RobertoÂ’s never ending nauseous positivity, it has had no effect on our players. Just hope it isnÂ’t a hammering.
Paul Ferry
102 Posted 05/10/2014 at 02:12:48
Conor McCourt - 77: 'Against Arsenal we outplayed them for 80 minutes, we were the better team against Chelsea and magnificent against a very good Wolfsburg side. ... and if we play the same way as we did against Krasnodar and Liverpool against some of these weaker sides coming up, it won't be long until we shoot up the table.

Conor, I'm all for a little blue-tint when I speak about my blues, but with respect!

We were not 'the better team' against Chelsea; at times if felt like Chelsea were toying with us and we put together another sequence of 20 or 30 passes.

'Magnificent' against Wolsburg? 'Magnificent? Happy to have it don't get me wrong, but that 4-1 scoreline was a tad flattering. We got battered in the 2nd half.

And sure we ground out results at their place and in Russia but if we play like that every week we will end up in the lower half of the Premier League.

We need to improve on all aspects of our game and pray for people to come back on time and the God of injuries to be kind to us. And, we need to get Bobby back: you know that fella who made great subs, great selections, great choices.

a

Jackie Barry
103 Posted 05/10/2014 at 04:22:17
Has to be Eto'o starting behind Lukaku for me, he has the vision to scare the united defence. Atsu's speed is a must too for me, with hopefully a fit Pienaar and Coleman.
Jamie Crowley
104 Posted 05/10/2014 at 04:46:50
All this Who do we play and where... hat are the match ups.... What are our tactics...

To steal an English phrase: Bollocks!

All I know is I have to wake up at 7 am to see the damn game. I don't like these noon kick-offs!

Jackie Barry
105 Posted 05/10/2014 at 04:50:49
Jamie well if it makes you feel better I have to wake up at 5 am. LOL!
Keith Edmunds
106 Posted 05/10/2014 at 06:58:59
Love the Noon kick off. 10pm here.
Rob Newling
110 Posted 05/10/2014 at 09:04:44
Watched United this morning - BBC movie version that is. Stirring stuff for those familiar with (Bobby) Charlton era - even some one-eyed Blues !

Sadly the spirit of the game has moved on & definitely have no affection for any of today's $$ clubs. Anyway, Busby's Babes got me thinking. Perhaps nothing less than a league/cup double + Europa Cup will do this season, but can we afford to be patient ? Blooding our youth now, (alongside some senior citizens), may well be in our better interests longer term.

Maybe forced upon us, but history favours the Bold. I'm sure our Bobby is no mug either !

COYB, make us proud today.

Colin Glassar
111 Posted 05/10/2014 at 09:21:15
I wonder if Rooney will give the pre-match speech as captain before the game? Oh wait, he can't talk English proper like as he's from Liverpool can he? I think woy, who talks like he's got his tongue stuck up his arse, owes us all a fucking apology.
Mark Griffiths
112 Posted 05/10/2014 at 09:18:55
Not confident about todays game and even if Pienaar plays he probably won't do much as he won't be match fit. I don't think there will be many goals today as Ithink both teams will want to tighten up at the back after recent goals conceded.
Phil Walling
113 Posted 05/10/2014 at 09:31:56
Colin : A bit like Sir H'Alf Ramsey who went to elocution lessons when appointed England manager.

Westy was reputed to have asked him how they said 'Fuck me' at Eton !

Colin Glassar
114 Posted 05/10/2014 at 09:43:13
Yet he's never said anything similar about his beloved Gerrard, Phil. I've often wondered if creasehead has had elocution lessons as compare the way he speaks now to how he spoke 10-15 years ago, all posh like. Carra is still a scouser but Gerrard now talks like he's from west derby or aigburth.
Neil Wood
115 Posted 05/10/2014 at 09:44:14
Colin/Phil... That cheered my morning up.
I am very much hoping that Mcarthy is fit today and wondering if Bobby will employ Besic alongside him. We need people to be on the heels of Mata/Maria and stop them playing.
I've got a strange feeling about this one and hoping that this could be a catalyst for a good couple of months.
James Richard
116 Posted 05/10/2014 at 09:53:42
Looking for a good performance but not expecting one. We haven't had a good performance since we beat arsenal 3-0 last season. Hull last game of the season was ok but they had both eyes firmly fixed on the cup final. We was ok in the 1st half against arsenal this season, apart from that it's been embarrassing. Yes even against wolfsberg who battered us and on another day we would have lost 8-4. Quickly loosing faith in Roberto's systems and tactics. I'm hoping today he can start to restore some faith. Will be happy with a point.
Nigel Gregson
117 Posted 05/10/2014 at 10:17:37
Not to be a doom monger, but I fully expect today to be the low point of the season. The players are exhausted after are 10k mile round trip. Key players : McCarthy, Coleman, Barkley are injured. We are playing away at a ground where we have won once in 20-30 years. A shaky defense will be put under the hammer by a 150mn pound strike force, surrounded by a crowd baying for blood. By far our toughest game of the season this, even with their defense being a bit underwhelming.
Jack Plant
118 Posted 05/10/2014 at 10:33:03
Just seen a stat saying Lukaku and Eto'o are 2 of only four players to have scored hat tricks against Man utd. I don't know a lot about statistics but I'm fairy sure that guarantees us a 0-6 win.
Aidy Dews
119 Posted 05/10/2014 at 10:35:50
I do fear for us this game. If United start fast and get a couple of goals early on, I think that could dent our confidence and we will lose the fight to get back in the game.

But they are shoddy at the back so if we start well and get a foot hold in the game, create some early chances and take one early on, the crowd will get restless and United will get nervous and who knows, but we have to start this game better than we have our recent games!

I'm hoping Coleman is fit but there's no point risking him, and tbh, Hibbo as played well since coming back into the fold. Plus there's always Browning to come on if he's blowing after an hour, 70 odd mins.

I'm definitely hoping McCarthy is fit cos he's vital to us. He's energetic, gets about the pitch and is a big help to Barry. But I've got a feeling we'll go with a 3 man midfield again like at Anfield.

But if Pienaar, Coleman & McCarthy are fit, I'd like to see us go with :-

Howard

Coleman
Stones
Jags
Baines

McCarthy
Barry

McGeady
Naismith
Pienaar

Lukaku.

Harold Matthews
120 Posted 05/10/2014 at 10:16:52
Pienaar, Oviedo, Barkley, Coleman, Distin, Deulofeu, McCarthy and Mirallis are eight reasons why we have yet to reach the heights of last season. We're not talking Vellios or Gueye. The missing lads were key first team players. Personally, given the circumstances, I think the manager, his staff and the patched up squad have done pretty well.
Joseph Clarke
121 Posted 05/10/2014 at 10:43:10
Dead on Paul Ferry. We are all capable of deluding ourselves, but sometimes you have to adjust your glasses
Joseph Foster
122 Posted 05/10/2014 at 10:54:44
Not looking forward to this today but COYB
Colin Glassar
123 Posted 05/10/2014 at 10:57:16
Like lambs to the slaughter? I think not.
John Crawley
124 Posted 05/10/2014 at 10:47:04
Doesn’t sound good on the McCarthy front so Besic to come in there. Let’s hope bobby’s right and the bigger the occasion the better he is! Hibbert played better mid week but he still looks to lack pace, I’d be tempted to start browning today.
Geoff Evans
125 Posted 05/10/2014 at 11:05:28
We need a clean sheet.
Neil Wood
126 Posted 05/10/2014 at 11:28:56
It's good to see that BT sport are continuing sky's tradition of speaking about Manchester utd for 95% of the warm up show.... Grates on me
Linda Morrison
127 Posted 05/10/2014 at 11:29:01
I'm with John on this- we need a clean sheet.

If we lose and QPR win Everton will drop into the bottom 3, not a happy prospect at all before the break.

Even a draw won't be much use

Kevin Fitzsimons
128 Posted 05/10/2014 at 11:58:13
Anybody got a decent link for this game?
Jermaine Jennings
130 Posted 05/10/2014 at 11:54:32
why does it take us 15mins to get a shot on target
Kevin Fitzsimons
131 Posted 05/10/2014 at 12:40:03
Better
Joseph Clarke
132 Posted 05/10/2014 at 12:26:03
First 30 mins, no threat on goal whatsoever. Passing constantly back, and across the pitch. Pienaar shite. Lukaku, never my choice. I wanted Bony. Lukaku is about a tenth of the player he thinks he is. Bony is the centre forward Lukaku should, but never will be. Barry, too slow, Besic may come good, but at the moment looks like a brainless assassin.

Tony Hibbert. Hero!

Si Mar
133 Posted 05/10/2014 at 12:49:44
Can somebody please explain to me what has happenend to our club, we have regressed so much since last season it's heartbreaking!!!
Brian Furey
134 Posted 05/10/2014 at 12:38:32
Guess who decided to go to the toilet and stop watching purposely when we got that free-kick. Did the same for Anfield goal. Lol!

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