Brothers in arms at international level, Romelu Lukaku and ex-Blue Marouane Fellaini will again be on opposite sides this weekend
Everton's season may effectively be over bar the possibility of sneaking into 8th place over the last five matches but Roberto Martinez's side could yet have an important say in both the European and relegation pictures between now and the end of the season.
This Sunday the Blues entertain Manchester United who looks odds-on to finish in the top four and who will come to Goodison Park looking for the win that would virtually guarantee it. Three points at the Blues' expense would also give them a leg up on local rivals Manchester City in the battle to finish in one of the places that guarantees automatic entry to the group stage.
Everton, meanwhile, can record a third successive home win over United for the first time since their title-winning season of 1986-87 and, if results go their way elsewhere, move back into the top 10 after five months in the wrong half of the table. For more Premier League football scores and stats visit livefootball.co.uk.
The stakes aren't quite as high as a year ago when fourth place was still a possibility and the return of David Moyes gave extra spice to the occasion but the visit of a big team on a good run also offers extra incentive to raise the performance.
Having missed the two of the last three games and come on as a substitute in last weekend's win over Burnley, Romelu Lukaku is expected to return to the starting line-up, possibly alongside the mis-firing Arouna Kone although Martinez may elect to retain the two-wingers formation that he used against the Clarets and keep Kevin Mirallas in the team.
Steven Pienaar is a major doubt as his injury frustrations continue while James McCarthy will be assessed over the final two training sessions to see if he has recovered from the ankle injury he picked up at the end of last Saturday's game. Leon Osman will also undergo a late fitness test after missing out against Burnley with a groin strain but could make the squad.
Louis van Gaal will be without Michael Carrick, Marcus Rojo and Rafael while Daley Blind could return after recovering from an ankle injury but ex-Everton players Marouane Fellaini and Wayne Rooney in the side will add an extra dimension to a game that will hopefully be more than the standard end-of-season fare.
Kick off: 1.30pm
Referee: Andre Marriner
Full details: ToffeeWeb Match Reports
Reader Comments (66)
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1 Posted 25/04/2015 at 07:22:14
2 Posted 25/04/2015 at 07:26:51
I canÂt see what convinces you that we have two goals in us lately, itÂs been one against Burnley, Swansea and Southampton in the previous three games. United will want to ensure they finish as high as possible and ahead of rivals. Manchester City so I can only really see one outcome.
IÂm not at all fooled by our unconvincing mini-revival lately, I think against QPR, Southampton, Swansea and last weekend the games could have easily been drawn or lost, we havenÂt exactly outplayed any of these sides.
Manchester United tomorrow, and probably next week at a rejuvenated Aston Villa, will be a totally different kettle of fish and a truer test of whether this team really has turned a corner in this dark dismal season or not.
I remain to be convinced myself, letÂs wait and see.
3 Posted 25/04/2015 at 07:45:15
4 Posted 25/04/2015 at 08:19:58
Why canÂt our players for once use a little common sense and let the football do the talking?
5 Posted 25/04/2015 at 08:46:38
IÂm sure weÂll put in a decent performance tomorrow though, the fanÂs will demand it.
6 Posted 25/04/2015 at 09:24:13
Sure would be great to see Robles for a few more games but him donÂt do that; him plays favorites.
As for me, after the RS, this is the team I enjoy seeing our boys beat the most.
7 Posted 25/04/2015 at 09:26:19
Incidentally whilst I agree with Jim with regards to the four matches prior to Burnley, I believe our play last week merited and deserved three or four goals... poor finishing and excellent keeping not withstanding.
Mike Allinson made an excellent point several weeks ago... supporters have a fixed world view that is then ÂprovedÂ by events viewed through their own preconceptions.
8 Posted 25/04/2015 at 10:25:39
When I wake up, IÂll let you know how the game finishes.
Says everything about this season, when I am making up my own scoreline. Fact or fiction? Which Everton will turn up tomorrow? I half expect Martinez to start rotating. And bring Alcaraz back into the team. Anything is possible with our resident genius. But at least we are now safe, so I will try and enjoy the game.
ThatÂs the way I feel about this season. Supporting this Everton team, is like going 12 rounds with Mike Tyson. You get the stuffing knocked out of you, but you keep getting up , and going back for more. But we will soon be put out of our misery, at least until August. Then it all starts again. Who said that I am punch drunk. Never. Just a crazy Evertonian. COYBS.
9 Posted 25/04/2015 at 11:16:37
Final thought; I hope the supporters show a bit of class, and if theyÂre not going to applaud Rooney & Fellaini then donÂt boo them. They played for us, did a job and we made a good profit on both players. Get over it and move on.
10 Posted 25/04/2015 at 11:10:37
Realistically, itÂs gonna be tough. But hereÂs hoping that we beat them, and not just sneaking it, but comprehensively. We need to will on the players, be that 12th man. They have players who are still injured, we have most of our players back. IÂm believing for a win.
Their backline is weak and can be pressured to make mistakes. ItÂs unlikely that Man Utd will sit back (though I think that they will do that for the first 20 minutes, to suss us out). If we can get an early goal, or be able to keep it even after 30 mins, I think we can expect Man Utd will come at us. That will leave gaps for the team to exploit.
But I am hoping that we still get an early goal, and that might suit us further. HereÂs to a 2-0 victory! Optimistic (some say deluded), but why support the team if I am not expecting them win?
11 Posted 25/04/2015 at 11:33:09
Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Stones and Baines.
12 Posted 25/04/2015 at 11:50:45
Really no point in risking the likes of McCarthy and Osman in a game thatÂs basically a dead rubber for us. Barry and Besic is is then in the middle with Mirallas, Barkley and Lennon in AM and Rom up top I guess.
I would love to win and see Man Utd avoid 4th, otherwise not too fussed tbh. Waiting for the summer.
13 Posted 25/04/2015 at 11:58:41
14 Posted 25/04/2015 at 12:08:15
15 Posted 25/04/2015 at 12:18:25
We will get beat, Martinez will embarrass the club with his post-match bullshit. The deluded ones will blame the ref and Ozzi.
Well that is the "glass half-empty" side of me; the "glass half-full" using logic says Naaaaa... we will get beat.
Have to agree with the sensible post like Jim B, James Halewood and the like. But I love to be proved wrong, just ask my wife.
16 Posted 25/04/2015 at 12:24:49
17 Posted 25/04/2015 at 11:54:23
But if your previous posts, when Robles was put back where he belongs, were more than hot air, you would have to agree that you canÂt take out a keeper who is part of an undefeated streak and has a clean sheet, can you? I too want to see Robles in goal, just not for Everton.
18 Posted 25/04/2015 at 12:30:05
19 Posted 25/04/2015 at 12:33:46
20 Posted 25/04/2015 at 12:38:01
Their goalkeeper had a fantastic first half of the season and that’s the only reason they are in the hunt. We were better than them by some distance last season and if we were managed properly this season, weÂd have finished above them again.
Let’s not talk about them as if they are Bayern Munich.
21 Posted 25/04/2015 at 13:02:59
I see Stevie P is about our only doubt with Ossie and Macca both fit again so I donÂt see why we canÂt go out confident of a result. IÂd be disappointed if we lost this one, and see no reason we canÂt beat them at home.
22 Posted 25/04/2015 at 13:08:32
You want us to stop Utd making the top 4 Â– you do realise that if that happens, the likelihood is that the RS would take 4th spot? I know who IÂd rather see finish 4th and they donÂt play anywhere near Stanley Park...
23 Posted 25/04/2015 at 13:16:01
ItÂs pure fantasy that they canÂt defend Â– the stats donÂt lie.
24 Posted 25/04/2015 at 13:02:44
So we are safe. So surely now the shackles should be cast aside. Darren is spot on. Man Utd are not anything special. Their manager is nothing special. If anything he is just an old nark, moaning and crying about everything. Let’s send him home tomorrow with plenty to cry about. Let’s see him chew the ear off some poor reporter.
Here’s hoping that Everton start the game on the front foot. Lukaku and Kone up front. And yes, I said Kone. For now he seems to allow Lukaku to play. Let’s put early pressure on the Mn Utd defence. I would also let Mirallas and Lennon loose... and hope that KM turns up. Naismith on the bench.
And finally this season the defence is starting to look tighter. Here’s hoping that Baines and Coleman get down the wings. And Baines starts taking penalties again. The Everton midfield is a lottery.
So once again, here’s hoping that they turn up, especially Barkley. He is due a big game. And they donÂt come much bigger. I love Everton beating Man Utd, second only to the shower across the park. I repeat, as DH has stated, we are not playing Bayern Munich. I go for an Everton win. 2-0 or 2-1. But no tippy tappy pissing about. Thank you. COYBs.
25 Posted 25/04/2015 at 13:30:25
Thanks for the info on UnitedÂs defensive record. I didnÂt know that one.
26 Posted 25/04/2015 at 13:52:56
27 Posted 25/04/2015 at 13:57:01
I would however like to see Garbutt played at left midfield in place of Barry as we are overloaded with defensive-minded players IMO We are basically playing seven defenders and one of those players should be able to create and be used in counter attacks.
Perhaps against Man Utd we may need these seven for the first hour but surely we can afford to bring on an attack-minded player for the last half hour Our attack is not strong enough to cause Man Utd as much trouble as I would like.
28 Posted 25/04/2015 at 14:07:20
IÂd settle for a draw though a win might go someway to building some momentum into the start of next season.
29 Posted 25/04/2015 at 14:08:48
30 Posted 25/04/2015 at 14:21:24
Personally I dislike both the Dark Side and Man Utd with equal passion. My fear is that Man City will drop out and both the red teams will make the top 4. Although if that happened it would also be hilarious given the ٟbn thatÂs been invested in them in just half a dozen years or so.
Once the prem only gets three Champions League places come 2017, at least two of the ÂBig FiveÂ will be left out each season. That will put the cat amongst the pigeons.
32 Posted 25/04/2015 at 15:20:19
33 Posted 25/04/2015 at 15:16:02
If Rooney does score, itÂs one for them... could be anyone on the pitch we just gotta score more than them, innit.
Mike @6, yes, I agree. I’m more scared of Young diving. Who is the ref? Never thought IÂd say this but I wouldnÂt mind Clattenburg. There you are, Denis, thereÂs your pigeon.
36 Posted 25/04/2015 at 17:12:13
37 Posted 25/04/2015 at 17:36:33
Fighting for tenth in the table sums up the season Â– below expectations.
38 Posted 25/04/2015 at 17:49:02
A draw wouldnÂt really help us after todayÂs results so letÂs see us treat this like one of those Âeight cup finalsÂ our wonderfully phenomenal, ultra positive manager spoke of recently.
Having said that, if Kone starts, forget it. For GodÂs sake, start with 7-goal Naismith, not 1-goal-a-long-time-ago Kone.
I want us to win, but donÂt see it happening somehow. Oh, and if we get a penalty, BAINES MUST TAKE IT, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!
39 Posted 25/04/2015 at 18:51:53
I would love to beat them, but think we will give them too much respect. The only way to beat them is by going for the jugular, but I fear Roberto will try to stay in the game, and hope for a bit of luck.
Unfortunately they will give us a pasting 1-3 methinks, with Rooney scoring. Their defence is suspect, but we wonÂt try to take advantage till it is too late. Hope IÂm wrong.
40 Posted 25/04/2015 at 18:37:49
I want us to win of course and see no reason to believe that we won’t if players perform to their undoubted ability.
41 Posted 25/04/2015 at 19:31:44
TheyÂve had better sides and weÂve had worse ones in the past but we usually give them a game regardless, so hopefully weÂll do that tomorrow, the players certainly owe the supporters a special performance.
42 Posted 25/04/2015 at 19:57:01
"I think it’s muscle fatigue rather than plain ordinary tiredness."
So, which muscle do you think heÂs been exercising?
43 Posted 25/04/2015 at 20:02:58
44 Posted 25/04/2015 at 20:17:54
Compare this to last season’s game against them at home: all the crowd up for it, the players the same... somehow, I donÂt really think this game has got the same feeling about it.
WhoÂd have thought when Moyes walked out on us to join them, his last game as manager would have been against the club he served so well for 11 years? Poetic justice, I suppose. This time, it’s a different story. The shackles are off; weÂve nothing to play for so just once this season, IÂd love us to play with a freedom thatÂs been sadly lacking all season.
If we lose, and having entertained... so what? Â– ThatÂs football. Somehow, though, I get the feeling itÂll be the same old turgid shite weÂve had to put up with for what seems like a life sentence.
Prediction: one-nil, either way. Underwhelmed? Â– You bet your sweet life I am. Time for a drink, I think!
45 Posted 25/04/2015 at 22:19:29
46 Posted 25/04/2015 at 23:23:48
I have a feeling weÂll win. The confidence looks to be coming back.
47 Posted 26/04/2015 at 00:00:08
I donÂt care how we win just as long as we win.
48 Posted 26/04/2015 at 00:17:45
They miss Carrick massively, and still have plenty of players out. Plenty of reasons to be cheerful Â– I wish you lot would let go of the doom & gloom and looking forwards instead of back over a shit season.
WeÂre playing better, safe in the division and should at least try to enjoy the last few games without much in the way of pressure. Jeez.
49 Posted 26/04/2015 at 00:59:28
Yes, totally agree, itÂs been a twat of a season. but letÂs try and get behind the team for the Man Utd game... Who knows who will be here or wonÂt be next season? Players and managers come and go but we as Evertonians stay Â– itÂs our club. I will take a hard fought gritty one-nil win.
50 Posted 26/04/2015 at 02:13:47
51 Posted 26/04/2015 at 02:11:28
On paper Man Utd have the stronger side and although they have not been pretty to watch they have become difficult to break down and they are creating a lot more chances this season.
I think Man Utd will be just a bit too strong for us tomorrow. Yes, we have some positive results of late but against sides lower in the league and certainly not of the caliber of a team such as Man Utd.
My prediction: 1-3.
52 Posted 26/04/2015 at 03:07:07
53 Posted 26/04/2015 at 03:25:47
54 Posted 26/04/2015 at 03:48:40
55 Posted 26/04/2015 at 06:24:59
The bookies agree with you, William Hill have United at, err... 23/20... HeHe (how far are these odds makers prepared to go with their margin splitting?)
There's no doubt that LVG has found a winning formula Â– DonÂt you just love the way the big hoof to Fellaini has now become the long pass? Â– But this United team has yet (IMO) to reach the heights our group of players reached last season.
The Mancs have good players, we know that, but they will be without their ringmaster. IÂm working on the theory we can't underperform in EVERY game this season. We have to click at least once. Right ? ... Maybe not.
Anyway, I usually avoid backing Everton in individual matches, IÂm a bit of an Hillman Minx, but I think on this occasion, the Bookies Â– like many pundits Â– have over estimated the Mancs and IÂm straight onto odds checker after posting this. I will be disappointed with anything less than a win.
56 Posted 26/04/2015 at 07:08:30
We may be good value today. Darren, if youÂre a Hillman, keep your money in your pocket!
57 Posted 26/04/2015 at 07:18:10
However, if we do win 3-0 weÂll be up to 10th and feeling a bit dizzy. WhoÂd have thought that would be possible a few weeks back?
58 Posted 26/04/2015 at 07:44:04
Still canÂt see us winning as they have too much quality and one of Jagielka or Stones will take a battering from Fellaini, who I predict to score.
A draw or narrow loss for us.
59 Posted 26/04/2015 at 08:37:43
60 Posted 26/04/2015 at 08:56:52
61 Posted 26/04/2015 at 09:11:24
However, it seems likely that RM will stick with the ÂÂold brigadeÂÂ who will just produce the same kind of display we have become used to this season even though it is Manure.
Manure still have a big incentive and have been playing well despite some reservations about their defence but EvertonÂs is very suspect also. Could be a 3-3 game.
62 Posted 26/04/2015 at 09:37:44
After the RS, MU is the team that gives me greatest pleasure to beat so hopefully (with lots of blind optimism) we can turn them over and give us all a bit of hope going into the close season. It's a lovely day and for the first time in weeks IÂm looking forward to going to the game... Man United generally seems to bring out a unity amongst Blues fans so hopefully we can make the Grand Old Lady rock today and come away with a win. COYB
On a side issue from another thread (sorry) Harold #25 I will quite happily eat humble pie and apologise to you if we witness your new quick football style.
63 Posted 26/04/2015 at 10:08:41
The Fro will be looking to pull onto Baines and Coleman for the long diagonal Â– without Carrick, they will use that a lot today. IÂm confident Stones is physically up to the challenge and he should be the one who moves to protect as Jags stays central.
No "blind Optimism" here, just the belief that every game is winnable as long as you donÂt surrender before a ball is kicked.
PT Â– YouÂre right of course Â– IÂll leave it alone.
64 Posted 26/04/2015 at 10:35:57
The odd time, usually in the league, hardly ever in the cups when it gets to the business end, we do over some one.
Please, please, please, let this be the day, just for once.
You owe us one, give us something to shout about and we will... oh and intensity, always intensity, get into those Manc twats.
65 Posted 26/04/2015 at 11:15:06
66 Posted 26/04/2015 at 11:39:15
I donÂt think weÂll get beat today.
67 Posted 26/04/2015 at 11:54:16
68 Posted 26/04/2015 at 12:04:07
69 Posted 26/04/2015 at 13:07:38
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