Jordan Pickford is expected to play despite being troubled by a shoulder complaint of late
Everton face arguably their toughest test of the season thus far as they travel to Old Trafford to face a Manchester United side high on talent but who have exhibited some weaknesses in recent weeks.
The Red Devils sit above the Blues in the Premier League table on goal difference but have only won two of their last five games in all competitions and it took a very late goal by Cristiano Ronaldo to take the points against Villarreal in the Champions League on Wednesday night, a match they were fortunate to win.
Prior to that, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had overseen successive home defeats, to West Ham in the Carabao Cup and Aston Villa in the League last weekend, results that will give Rafael Benitez hope that his men can bring a result back down the M62 from the lunchtime kick-off.
The Spaniard looks likely to have a similar pool of available players from which to choose as Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Seamus Coleman return to individualised training but neither will be available until after the international break. Likewise Richarlison who has been pictured doing gym work as he continues his recovery from the knee injury he sustained against Burnley.
Jean-Philippe Gbamin was shown training with the group at Finch Farm, suggesting that he could available to make his first League fixture of the campaign but he is an unlikely starter, particularly given his shortage of match fitness.
Indeed, barring some unforeseen news on the injury front from Benitez's press conference, the midfield and attacking positions will probably remain unchanged, which would mean Salomon Rondon continuing up front supported by Demarai Gray and with Alex Iwobi and Andros Townsend in the wider roles.
In defence, Ben Godfrey is the likely deputy again for Coleman and although he needed some treatment during the win over Norwich last time out, Jordan Pickford looks set to take his customary place in goal.
Everton may be going to United without two of the players who scored in last season's six-goal thriller — Calvert-Lewin is out and James Rodriguez is gone — but they will travel in confidence despite having lost their last two games on the road.
As Doucouré admitted to the Official Site earlier this week, the Blues' players know that the loss to Aston Villa was a much closer-run thing than the 3-0 scoreline suggested and that the squad will have learned from the experience.
That will stand them in good stead against a United side that is brimming with talent and has a match-winner in the form of Ronaldo but who have not been all that convincing of late.
That means that of the Toffees can get under their skin early and use the space in transition that will inevitably open up given the way Solskjaer's men play, there will be opportunities to get something from the game. A point would be more than satisfactory; a win would be a massive confidence-booster and lay down a marker, perhaps, for what this team can do under Benitez despite its and depleted numbers.
Kick-off: 12:30pm, Saturday 2 October, 2021
Referee: Michael Oliver
VAR: Stuart Atwell
Last Time: Manchester United 3 - 3 Everton
Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Godfrey, Keane, Mina, Digne, Allan, Doucouré, Iwobi, Townsend, Gray, Rondon
Reader Comments (142)
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1 Posted 01/10/2021 at 07:20:21
2 Posted 01/10/2021 at 07:51:44
3 Posted 01/10/2021 at 07:56:33
Now we take on the next marker: a Top 6 side. Then Arsenal can't be far away. Everton's barometer of progress will show us where we really are. . errors permitting.
4 Posted 01/10/2021 at 08:18:12
With Shaw and Maguire withdrawn from the England squad, I presume that they will not play tomorrow. This surely improves our chances.
My worry is that when we have been put under pressure we have usually conceded. Mina and Keane need to play deep, as Darren keeps reminding us, making the space for Allan and Doucoure bigger to fill. Old Trafford is a big pitch and they have quality midfield players.
This is usually a game where Fernandes gets plenty of space and Ronaldo will be licking his lips at our lack of concentration at the back.
Our only hope is to score at least twice because I just don't see us keeping a clean sheet.
Hopefully the midweek game will have taken something out of their legs.
5 Posted 01/10/2021 at 08:20:04
He already loves playing against Everton, possibly because this is his favorite area of the pitch, an area where good players only need a little bit of space, and an area where Everton always concede space, because we defend on the back foot. I just hope I'm pleasantly surprised tomorrow.
6 Posted 01/10/2021 at 08:32:22
If we can congest the midfield then we might, with a bit of luck, come away with a point or more but the injuries esp mean Utd will be odds on to get a comfortable victory.
I don't think there's likely to be much learned from the game that we don't already know.
7 Posted 01/10/2021 at 08:41:13
If it's tight and tactical, we have a big chance because Ole is clueless in that respect. Especially compared to Benitez.
8 Posted 01/10/2021 at 08:47:47
If we bring the League cup into it, QPR, but that was on penalties. We didn't lose the game of actual football. Have I missed something?
Anyway, tomorrow. I agree, it's going to be a long 90 minutes. We are likely to defend deep, which will mean the midfield sitting deep too. We might not even get the benefit of Doucoure's new found lease of life. And with a not quite fit, immobile striker, I see our only outlets being Gray and snatching something from a set piece. I anticipate a very isolated striker and us camped around our own box doing Native American war dances.
And Fernandes. He is developing into a graduate of the Ian Wright "loves playing against Everton" academy. He takes that penalty against us, you know where it's going. And it isn't row Z of the Stretford End.
Long 90 minutes ahead and, as it stands, I'll be watching surrounded by London United supporters clad in their number and named shirts. Wish me luck.
9 Posted 01/10/2021 at 09:05:59
Beware the 'Wrath of Rondon' sounds like the title of a Sci-Fi book, but he has to come good some time surely (who am I trying to convince here ?) and put them to the blows of his Valyrian Steel ! I'll settle for the winner going in unawares off his more than ample derriere.
10 Posted 01/10/2021 at 09:25:19
Surely the Richarlison's injury was not sustained - the correct phrase is "recovery from the knee injury inflicted upon him by the Burnley defence".
I'll take the draw tomorrow. Question is the mindset. We know ours will be what we have we (hope to) hold. Will they be up having scored in Fergie time, will they be knackered by having an extra game and it being an early kickoff?
The real question for Rafa is what does he want from his striker? I think the answer is hold the ball up to take pressure off the defence and bring in the midfielders. Rondon has the experience to do that but maybe not the fitness so does he go for a more fit less experienced option. I suspect not, especially as he knows better than me.
11 Posted 01/10/2021 at 09:25:54
12 Posted 01/10/2021 at 09:35:28
I think a lot depends on how we set about the game, if we sit back and give their attackers room to get their heads up then there will only be one outcome.
I am sure after losing at home to Villa then anything other than a win tomorrow and Ole will come under enormous pressure from fans and media alike. Just a pity that it looks like we will still be without Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin, as I am sure they would have asked a lot of questions of Man Utd's makeshift defence.
Not sure Ronaldo will start but probably Cavani will play instead and probably Lingard will start. Aso, as has already been said, Fernandes loves playing against us. We must make sure someone stays close to him and denies him having the space he has had in our last couple of encounters.
13 Posted 01/10/2021 at 09:43:14
14 Posted 01/10/2021 at 09:58:13
I think we'll see a conservative approach with us conceding possession and territory but looking to catch them on the break.
Pogba and Fernandes are adept at picking the sort of gaps that our defense seems to have afforded lately but they are also prone to shipping a few goals so it could be an entertaining game! I'd be happy to get a 2-2 or similar.
15 Posted 01/10/2021 at 10:11:33
16 Posted 01/10/2021 at 10:18:46
Many sports have a deciding factor when two opponents can't be separated. A tie break, a shoot-out, some even have judges at the end to give an opinion.
A boxer and his corner may convince themselves that he won a world title fight but, when the judges award the fight to the other guy and he walks away with the belt, the rest of the world knows he lost.
When Jagielka slotted his penalty to beat Man Utd at Wembley. I had no doubts whatsoever that we had won and I knew that they had lost. I was coming back a few weeks later for the final. The guys wearing the red scarves weren't...
QPR are in the next round. We are not. They did not beat us in the boardroom. They did not beat us on the toss of a coin, nor were they awarded the game by judges. They beat us on the pitch by demonstrating better skills on the night. Let's be honest here: We were lucky to even get to penalties.
A team has to take a defeat on the chin and learn from it. You'll learn nothing by denying it.
17 Posted 01/10/2021 at 10:20:26
With no target man as such, I hope to see more creative play on the floor, short crisp passing and runs into the box.
They may be missing Shaw and Maguire which could be a plus for our attacking play, but a resolute defense is a must against a side boasting Ronaldo and Bruno... coyb
18 Posted 01/10/2021 at 10:27:54
United, like the RS milk the ref when things are not happening for them. I just hope all our hard graft is not undone by a very dubious decision. I'd fancy our chances of at least a draw with Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin and Coleman fully fit, but without them this is a more tentative prediction.
Man Utd 1 Everton 1
19 Posted 01/10/2021 at 10:31:30
It might be a dangerous game if we concede early, but we were very successful last season playing on the counter.
20 Posted 01/10/2021 at 10:32:40
We need to play like I always imagined Benitez would set us up. Compact in midfield and defence, looking to counter attack when we can. In Gray and Townsend, we have got players who can trouble United.
I cant say Im confident we will win. But we can keep it close and stay in the game. We are capable of nicking a winner or a point. I just hope he doesnt go for 3 centre halves. That never works for us. Play 4-5-1 and we should be fresher than them. Im gonna say 1-1.
21 Posted 01/10/2021 at 10:37:02
I don't like penalties. I get it. That's the rule, we know before we enter the game and it's the same for everyone, so ultimately the result is decided on penalties and we lost on the night.
I preferred it when they toyed and experimented with the idea of golden goal. At least then, the game is being decided in open play, not something akin to a end of training fun session. Although under pressure, there's not much fun about it for players and fans alike.
I'd just rather see the game won in open play, even if that means a replay or two. Remember those epic Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesborough encounters? They seemed endless.
22 Posted 01/10/2021 at 10:37:58
Where and what we are is a bit of a movable feast though. Benitez has shown, well to me at least, that he's not a total dummy and FSW... or Hercule Poirot-esque as David Squires has him... and ex-RS notwithstanding, he still knows the cries.
Which United and which Everton will turn up on the day is anybody's guess... much like the result.
23 Posted 01/10/2021 at 10:38:21
Davies sat deep flanked by Allan and Doucouré with Iwobi on the bench. We cannot allow them a load of space in midfield.
24 Posted 01/10/2021 at 10:46:29
If Maguire isn't fit then I'm not sure we need height particularly.
Personally, I'd play without a striker and pack the midfield.
25 Posted 01/10/2021 at 10:46:47
26 Posted 01/10/2021 at 11:04:11
27 Posted 01/10/2021 at 11:20:46
"Put Davies in where Fernandes likes to operate." Now is that to contrast or compare, a world class midfield attacking player to a still juvenile totally ineffective stroller about who tries and mainly fails to get in the way?
Or is it so Tom can match and emulate Fernandes whilst nullifying him at the same time?
I think if you are going to affect Fernandes, then Allan is the only option that comes close that we have.
28 Posted 01/10/2021 at 11:32:10
So, I think and hope we can win. But my instinct tells me a score draw. I'll place the cheese on the park tomorrow and see which way the dogs go.
29 Posted 01/10/2021 at 11:37:17
30 Posted 01/10/2021 at 11:57:24
Heart says draw, head says we are going to struggle with little attacking threat. 2-1 to the blues then please lol
31 Posted 01/10/2021 at 12:00:55
Hopefully our coaching staff showed the lads last week's Villa game & said...give us & the fans the same application eh lads!.
Score draw for me... COYB
32 Posted 01/10/2021 at 12:10:48
33 Posted 01/10/2021 at 12:27:53
36 Posted 01/10/2021 at 12:51:39
Godfrey Mina Keane Digne
Doucoure Davies Allan
Townsend Iwobi Gray
is our best option to close the gaps and keep the midfield tight.
Rondon can come off the bench to give their defenders something new to think about. Apart from Rondon, we would have only kids on the bench: Holgate, Kenny, Branthwaite, Gordon, Simms, Dobbin. I don't think Gbamin is match fit to play, and sadly, I have lost hope that we will see him play in a competitive situation. Similarly, Delph. Given this situation, it would be a minor miracle if we get anything out of this fixture. In fact, I would be relieved if we don't embarrass ourselves. Sorry to be pessimistic - I normally am not!
37 Posted 01/10/2021 at 13:03:51
38 Posted 01/10/2021 at 13:09:36
39 Posted 01/10/2021 at 13:29:47
40 Posted 01/10/2021 at 13:30:45
41 Posted 01/10/2021 at 13:32:55
Haha cruel but true
42 Posted 01/10/2021 at 13:35:19
Holgate is different though. In a way, although not identical, similar to Heitinga, who could play that role too.
Think I'd prefer Davies as a deeper sitting midfielder with Allan & Doucoure in front of him.
But I agree, wouldn't be a surprised to see Holgate in the hole performing a traditional sweeper role
43 Posted 01/10/2021 at 13:43:49
44 Posted 01/10/2021 at 13:54:58
45 Posted 01/10/2021 at 14:01:10
Early kick off tomorrow. I might need to start early. The coffee might not be coffee as I walk the dogs!!
46 Posted 01/10/2021 at 14:01:23
Gbamin might be on the bench, but there's no way he'll start in such a big game after being out for about fifteen years, so I'm guessing :
Pickford, Godfrey, Keane, Mina, Digne, Allan, Doucoure, Davies, Townsend, Gray, Rondon.
Bench: Begavic, Gordon, Branthwaite, Gbamin, Dobbin, Simms, Derek Hatton, and Bill Kenwright.
My heart says a hard-fought 1-1 draw, but my head says we're going to get battered here. Hopefully get a full squad again after the international break.
47 Posted 01/10/2021 at 14:24:25
48 Posted 01/10/2021 at 14:33:17
The injuries are sadly to our key players. I think DCL could have given them big problems, especially as Maguire is out.
I'd give one of the young strikers a chance. Nothing ventured.
Fingers crossed. COYB.
49 Posted 01/10/2021 at 14:33:30
We need a central defensive midfielder sitting in front of the defence - probably Davies. I would also play Gray as a false number nine to drop into midfield and play them on the break.
50 Posted 01/10/2021 at 14:42:40
51 Posted 01/10/2021 at 14:51:46
Holgate Mina Godfrey Digne
Townsend Gordon Gray
52 Posted 01/10/2021 at 15:00:10
53 Posted 01/10/2021 at 15:06:18
54 Posted 01/10/2021 at 15:19:38
55 Posted 01/10/2021 at 15:21:10
56 Posted 01/10/2021 at 15:23:00
57 Posted 01/10/2021 at 15:42:25
I fear Ronaldo running us ragged and will no doubt see that in my nightmares tonight but if we are still in the match late on, who knows. I saw our ‘performance in the pre season friendly in August meaning my prediction (sorry) is a heavy defeat for our boys in blue.
Regarding the early comments on this thread about us drawing at QPR, erm, we lost. We do not have a replay at Goodison, we are not in the hat for the next round, we lost.
Onward Evertonians 💙
58 Posted 01/10/2021 at 15:47:16
59 Posted 01/10/2021 at 15:54:00
60 Posted 01/10/2021 at 15:58:59
61 Posted 01/10/2021 at 16:01:05
62 Posted 01/10/2021 at 16:04:58
1. An honest ref who actually awards us fouls and is not afraid to send players off. In the Burnley game they should have had a red card and another yellow for two appalling hits ( not tackles) on Richarlison. In the Aston Villa game the RB held Gray and stopped him getting away until the ball was too far away for him. The RB was the last man and nobody could catch Gray when he was goal side. The ref saw it, paused and bottled it because it would had to have been a red. Minutes later the LB tripped Gray when he was away from from him. Not one card in all 4 incidents.
2. Playing the fittest players not your old mate Rondon. In the games Rondon has played in the forwards stop passing to him after a while, it is just a waste of a pass and a chance.
Have you seen the speed of Ellis Simms and I think he has never been played for us in the premiership.
I like the idea of Keane in the CF position because we have very accurate crossers in Gray and Townsend and Keane is very good in the air and has reacted very quickly to loose balls when up for corners. He also has a very powerful shot. His presence would keep two Man Utd players on him.
I like Gary's (51) team selection with Keane instead of Rondon leading the attack.
Do you remember the game against Arsenal when Lukaku was played on the right instead of the centre for a good proportion of the game it completely confused the Arsenal tactics.
63 Posted 01/10/2021 at 16:13:23
But that sums them up in a nutshell. Unlike us they have goals all over the team and win games they don't deserve to.
Without Richy and DCL we struggle in forward play but I am hoping for a real belief among the players that we can hold out undefeated.
This will require 100% concentration (Please note Michael Keane) and togetherness together with a bit of devilry to wind them up.
My heart says we will get a draw and almost steal a win but my head says we will get tonked.
Lets hope the heart wins.
64 Posted 01/10/2021 at 16:14:51
65 Posted 01/10/2021 at 16:25:43
There is no such thing as a friendly at Old Trafford, the Manc media don't allow it, so lets ignore that preseason result.
With results so far this season we have got to give this Everton side support, so lets go to Old Trafford and support them. Rafa has got this team looking well drilled and we break with speed and purpose, something that the red Manc's DO NOT like.
By the way, the QPR result means jack shit tomorrow, I mean the Manc's lost at home to Villa last week, so does that have any bearing on tomorrow result? Nope.
For me, if Everton can keep hold of Fernandes then we will give as good as we get.
66 Posted 01/10/2021 at 16:45:11
67 Posted 01/10/2021 at 16:47:36
Haha that's hilarious. I was wondering if he would actually be playing for them yet. Though I favored keeping him, his continued "calf issue" is making me feel better about it
68 Posted 01/10/2021 at 16:50:49
Should we survive without United scoring in the first 15 opening it up to allow Doucoure to find Gray or Townsend on the break will depend on his ability to lose McTominay. We got a chance but it will take some serious discipline and determination. Another good test for the Rafa era.
69 Posted 01/10/2021 at 17:11:27
Not a problem even I had a problem with a family member had to have my Gall Bladder removed, now that's galling.
Definition of galling. Very annoying or exasperating; most irritating. That does not apply to me personally, it might my brother who supports Liverpool though.
Just kidding Rob.
70 Posted 01/10/2021 at 17:18:11
71 Posted 01/10/2021 at 17:24:51
72 Posted 01/10/2021 at 17:38:27
I agree on your point about concentration. Man Utd under Solskjaer effectively have five forwards. If they never get the ball, no problem. But if balls are pinging around the box and we have Calamity Jane moments, Ronaldo will lap those up.
73 Posted 01/10/2021 at 17:43:17
We're going to have to concentrate tomorrow. Can we do that for 90 mins? We can counter-attack well and will have to take the chances that come our way.
The obvious punt is a Man Utd win, but I suspect it'll be closer than whatever the bookies & pundits think. We could be good value tomorrow...
74 Posted 01/10/2021 at 17:51:00
I'm not without hope tomorrow, but it's hard to see us getting a point. Prove me wrong, men.
75 Posted 01/10/2021 at 18:02:22
Benitez knows Rondon better than us, so I prefer his opinion to experts on here.
76 Posted 01/10/2021 at 18:03:53
77 Posted 01/10/2021 at 18:10:36
78 Posted 01/10/2021 at 18:12:05
The modern day Mick Lyons. Mick Lyons at centre-forward. In comparison, Duncan Ferguson was a kitten.
ps: Only joking, Dunc – but I don't think there is a centre-half in existence who would want to have faced both of you.
79 Posted 01/10/2021 at 18:12:21
We're going to win tomorrow. That's my start point and I'll work back from that.
80 Posted 01/10/2021 at 18:13:46
Everton are also coming off an uninspiring win against a poor relegation bound Norwich side after dismal defeats to Villa and QPR.
All in all it looks like another miserable day is on the cards but Manure have not been exactly doing great things and the knives are out for Ole. We can but hope they have another bad day tomorrow which may be our only chance and then we need to be at the races when it matters especially in the middle of the park.
Luckily the World cup break will allow more time for DCL to get fit as It's hard to see Rondon doing anything special as a starter.
81 Posted 01/10/2021 at 18:30:34
Ian Wilson... makes me cringe every time I hear his name. How did we go from Sheedy and Steven to Ian Wilson on the wing?
82 Posted 01/10/2021 at 18:33:51
I agree that a third man in midfield would be wise. Tom Davies will hopefully do a good job if he can put his poor QPR performance behind him (assuming that Gbamin isn't risked and is put on the bench). Rondon is a bigger problem because he simply isn't up to putting in 100 minutes (including the 10 minutes additional Fergie/penalty time usually granted to ESL outfits if they're not winning). If fit, I'd bring Simms on early in the second half because he is a natural finisher and has the knack of being in the right place at the right time.
Right back will perhaps be our biggest problem and every opponent has targeted this known weakness. I just hope that Godfrey's fitness has improved and that he's got his footballing brain back.
They have too many good players able to exploit our weaknesses, but hope springs eternal that we can get a shock result.
83 Posted 01/10/2021 at 18:42:07
However, even if we don't get anything out of this match, we're still in a pretty good position going into the break, assuming we can get everyone fit upon return. West Ham is a tricky tie, but then we get Watford and Wolves before the schedule really starts to stiffen up.
84 Posted 01/10/2021 at 18:53:33
I feel like a silent voice here. We're going to win. Ticket didn't come through so I'm arming up to take on the London Mancs in the pub tomorrow. I think I'll take the blue Ridgebacks as back up.
85 Posted 01/10/2021 at 19:07:47
(OK, so it's my rumor, what the hell.)
Re Michael Keane up top... let me offer two words:
86 Posted 01/10/2021 at 19:11:45
87 Posted 01/10/2021 at 19:14:41
88 Posted 01/10/2021 at 19:21:16
He got the hat-trick from midfield at home against Leeds in a 4-0 win. He did play upfront against Leicester City in the worlds worst 0-0 draw away. If my memory serves me right, we had centre-halves in most positions.
89 Posted 01/10/2021 at 19:22:44
90 Posted 01/10/2021 at 19:30:09
92 Posted 01/10/2021 at 20:11:44
Man Utd have such a good squad it doesn't matter that Solskjaer is the manager.
There's a chance that Benitez (a much better manager) will do a job on him tomorrow but it's only a very small chance.
93 Posted 01/10/2021 at 20:21:49
94 Posted 01/10/2021 at 20:34:49
What made it more memorable was that we had gone on our bikes. But the long cycle home made it all worth while.
5-2 tomorrow would be fine !!!! COYB
95 Posted 01/10/2021 at 20:35:33
Granted the dirty rat antics of Fernandez whose eclipsed the RS forward trio of diving cheats in over 2 seasons, as the no1 cheat in the EPL.
But Everton should be wise and if Everton believe from the start then they will get chances, and cause an upset.
United crowd will be expecting to win, Everton, have turned them over in the past, and why not tomorrow.
Pickford will be a boost if he plays.
De Gea, is prone to more unforced errors than he did a few years back, I fancy a couple from Townsend, a 25 yard screamer and Demari, to take the piss, and set up Rondon for a couple of tap ins!
Delirious no, been on the ale, not yet, but a sense of, opportunity tomorrow.
Everton play to their potential and dont give away any daft goals, then its game on.
Rafas got more guile and guts than out last manager, and tomorrow lets see, which Everton, turns up.
96 Posted 01/10/2021 at 20:37:06
"I would bring Davies in to sit in front of the defence where Fernandes likes to play". Bruno Fernandes vs Tom Davies. My God! I hope your tongue was punching a hole in your cheek with that one.
Against that array of attacking talent, Tom Davies needs to be doing what we'll be doing; sitting and watching.
And, again, attack them. They can be got at.
97 Posted 01/10/2021 at 21:10:51
At the other end can Rondon cause Utd any trouble? Perhaps with the right service but he hasn't half started slow. Other than that perhaps Iwobi and Gray can switch positions. And l want to see Digne trying to get into better crossing positions.
Last week l thought Doucoure was brilliant and Utd can be got at through the middle. I think they are a holding midfielder or two away from being able to challenge for the league. Looking at the games so far this season we have a left footed player on the right that will always cut back to cross or shoot. Same thing on the left and its a bit samey. Perhaps thats why Gray has the freedom and not lwobi as he has the pace.
What l am saying is we are very limited. Still no idea why James was sold when he plays an almost identical role to Townsend. I just don't think we have anything near enough to beat them. Hope to be wrong.
98 Posted 01/10/2021 at 22:41:14
99 Posted 01/10/2021 at 22:49:04
100 Posted 01/10/2021 at 23:24:17
101 Posted 01/10/2021 at 23:26:27
102 Posted 01/10/2021 at 23:36:14
4 4 1 1
Holgate, Keane, Mina, Godfrey
Townsend, Doucoure, Allan, Digne,
Up the Blues!!
103 Posted 01/10/2021 at 00:01:21
104 Posted 02/10/2021 at 02:12:53
But tomorrow I think the "good start" will end.
We've played no one up and to this point, and reality is about to bitch-smack us in the face. Without DCL, Seamus, and Rich, I fear we will get absolutely tonked.
Hope I'm wrong.
105 Posted 02/10/2021 at 02:13:46
Dont think we can just sit and absorb pressure so there has to be outlets who can allow us to play the long ball over the top when needs must. With Maguire out can Rondon operate as a target man with Gray and Townsend looking to get onto glanced headers? If not then it does seem best he is benched so that Gray and Townsend can look to time runs behind their defence. If they choose to keep their defenders relatively deep to deny any sort of mobile counter-attacking would we have any likelihood of tippy-tapping it far enough forward for some clever player to slip in the speedsters on 10 yard dashes into their box?
We need absolutely everyone clicking and no silly giveaways to get the result we want. COYB!
106 Posted 02/10/2021 at 03:04:26
Love your optimism, but excuse me if I don't wager on it.
107 Posted 02/10/2021 at 03:49:54
I am the negarive Nancy not by choice but through experience. Ill up the ante and call it a retirement match. If we win Ill retire from ToffeeWeb
108 Posted 02/10/2021 at 04:31:12
If such an experiment was to be tried, I would not risk Keane up top. He would only offer an areal threat. He certainly wouldnt be running away from defenders onto ball over the top. I would be far more inclined to go with Big Yerry. he may take a few strides before he is flying, but he is a powerful runner once he has gone through the gears - 200 rather than 100.
His "different" approach to the game would certainly have the United CH's wondering what the fuck they are up against.
On a serious note.
Tony A. Yes Holgate has the lateral movement others in our team lack. Many thought he was MOTM when Ferguson played him as DM in for this very fixture.
I know they have re-signed Ronaldo, but this Man United team are no great shakes. Jammy win in mid week was preceded by a defeat at home to Villa and an embarrassing defeat to Young Boys.
Anyone fancying our boys to pull of an unlikely, but not impossible, result can get 7/1 this morning. I'd be surprised if you could still get that come kick off time.
109 Posted 02/10/2021 at 07:10:12
They have at least 8 players in their SQUAD who would walk into our depleted starting line up (Ronaldo, Martial, Cavani, Rashford, Greenwood, Lingard, Sancho, Fernandes plus Wan-Bisakka, Maguire, Varane..)
We have Saloman Rondon (Im not knocking the acquisition but his level has been West Brom and Newcastle United so far) or a few kids to choose from to play up front and we have a centre back at ‘70% fitness playing at right back.
These issues, while not catastrophic individually, accumulate to make us far from the best version of ourself we need to be to go and take points off Champions League contenders in their own back gardens and whatever you think of Solskaer, he has nothing like these kind of problems to deal with.
If we get anything from Old Trafford it will be a minor footballing miracle so just bear that in mind before you come on here later saying ‘Benitez is negative, ‘Iwobi this and that, ‘Rondon blah blah blah.. yes we can get something but it will be bloody hard earned if we do!
110 Posted 02/10/2021 at 07:11:57
I shall watch, as always, with hope in my heart but today with my feet on the ground, and if we get anything from the game I will be breaking a bottle out early - (I may be doing that anyway).
Whatever the result we must compete to the last man but it is the games we expect to win and fail to turn up for that do my head in. Today I can just hope for an early surprise Xmas present.
111 Posted 02/10/2021 at 07:19:18
112 Posted 02/10/2021 at 07:29:43
Playing a centre back as a centre forward smacks of desperation and, as mentioned above, takes us back to dark times.
And Michael Keane? If we use his mobility as a defender as a bench mark, we might as well play a lamp post up front.
Sorry, I'm usually more diplomatic.
Just back with the dogs. No matter how much I tried to sway them, they gave me a score draw.
113 Posted 02/10/2021 at 07:44:46
I think Grey should play down the middle, and have Gordon and Townsend on the wings. Then a midfield three of Gomes, Doucoure, Allan.
Iwobi is useless. And Rondon is a long, long way from match fitness.
Hopefully Benitez can win the tactical battle over Solskjaer and that will be enough for a positive result.
114 Posted 02/10/2021 at 07:45:19
Hope hes right and he will start today.
115 Posted 02/10/2021 at 07:46:23
116 Posted 02/10/2021 at 07:48:01
Rondon ( only because Rafa likes him, Id have Simms more legs)
117 Posted 02/10/2021 at 07:53:32
But sometimes we play our best when up against it. Gonna need some heroic performances but this United side definitely has fragility, equally if they score early it could turn into a rout. Hard one to call but Im think a draw would be decent.
118 Posted 02/10/2021 at 07:54:37
119 Posted 02/10/2021 at 07:59:18
Doesn't seem like a week when we all met outside The Royal Oak, then into the game and on to Bramley Moore. Tempus Fugit indeed. Realistically looking for a decent, but gritty performance, think a lot depends on which Man U turn up on the day, and of course which Everton too.
120 Posted 02/10/2021 at 08:45:31
They are just a name, no longer a relevance when it comes to winning trophies. They're on the way down and hopefully we're on our way up.
Guaranteed dodgy penalty for them, and at least 8 minutes added on if we're ahead. But that's what we're up against and that's what we have to beat.
Lets do this people. COYB
121 Posted 02/10/2021 at 09:07:52
122 Posted 02/10/2021 at 09:15:44
The key to this game is the midfield. Utd are a better team when both McTominay and Fred (60+ win %), but often Solskjaer bends to the pressure to play the 'stars' and plays just one of them (dropping their win % to 50ish). Hopefully he again bows to pressure. With just one of them, Doucoure, Allan, and an other can dominate the game from the middle, thus frustrating the star-studden attacking players. In Allan and Doucoure, we have the tenacity and energy to win the midfield battle.
123 Posted 02/10/2021 at 09:26:39
Hes scored 14 of 16 penalties in all competitions for United. The vast majority were last season where he scored a staggering 13 of 14 in a single season.
124 Posted 02/10/2021 at 09:39:03
125 Posted 02/10/2021 at 09:46:13
Also, we've had more pens than anyone else so far this season, so...
126 Posted 02/10/2021 at 09:46:15
127 Posted 02/10/2021 at 09:52:55
128 Posted 02/10/2021 at 09:54:11
129 Posted 02/10/2021 at 10:05:54
130 Posted 02/10/2021 at 10:12:03
If we get anything out of this game it'll be a minor miracle in my view. Rondon up front offers little other than target man status so far, and despite Utd being a bit hit & miss, their team & squad knocks ours into a cocked hat.
A draw would be a good result.
131 Posted 02/10/2021 at 10:14:57
Ian Marshall was a centre-half turned centre-forward who had a good spell with Oldham and Paul Warhurst at Sheffield Wednesday also converted to a striker. I also remember Dave Watson going up front on occasions if we needed a goal. Good shout on Yerry, he'd be a right handful!
132 Posted 02/10/2021 at 10:34:27
Looks like the layers are not sure about Utd being a good thing, I thought they would be shorter.
133 Posted 02/10/2021 at 10:37:30
There is a team who have won the league on quite a few occasions lately and I doubt if any of their forwards are above 5ft 8ins. So that shows you can win without big strong forwards playing up top. Pace is what really worries centre-backs... so maybe Gray as a false Number 9.
134 Posted 02/10/2021 at 10:44:43
You can throw stones at any squirrels wearing a Ronaldo shirt.
135 Posted 02/10/2021 at 10:50:40
136 Posted 02/10/2021 at 10:53:32
137 Posted 02/10/2021 at 10:56:24
138 Posted 02/10/2021 at 10:56:28
Maguire out apparently, which I'm indifferent about. Always view him as an expensive Michael Keane.
139 Posted 02/10/2021 at 11:00:11
140 Posted 02/10/2021 at 11:03:20
141 Posted 02/10/2021 at 11:04:23
Good luck blue boys. See you on the other side!
142 Posted 02/10/2021 at 11:10:49
143 Posted 02/10/2021 at 11:12:14
I do have confidence in Rafa's craft ability, as long as the players measure up.
144 Posted 02/10/2021 at 11:16:57
145 Posted 02/10/2021 at 11:41:16
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