In what looks set to be Manchester United’s biggest week of the season so far, they start by facing an ever-improving Everton side at Old Trafford on Sunday. Star man Marouane Fellaini looks set to miss out for the side from Merseyside but United will still have plenty of other threats to contend with. Sir Alex Ferguson will also be mindful of keeping his players fresh for the upcoming tie with Real Madrid in midweek.
David de Gea – After a near flawless performance against Fulham last weekend, De Gea is in top form going into the coming fixtures.
Rafael – The young Brazilian managed to avoid selection for his national team again this week, meaning he should be raring to go for the game against Everton.
Rio Ferdinand – The centre-back position will surely prove to pose Ferguson with a selection dilemma. Ferdinand is likely to continue in defence after superb recent performances.
Jonny Evans – Evans is set to be Ferdinand’s partner on Sunday. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see what bearing Ferguson’s selection against Everton has on his team choice against Real Madrid. Nemanja Vidic is sure to fit in somewhere.
Patrice Evra – This fixture arguably features the league’s most impressive left-backs of the season so far and Evra will be vital for United.
Ashley Young – The wide-right position will require a high work-rate from whoever is picked there on Sunday in order to help deal with the Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar threat. With Young now available after injury, it may be him who Ferguson calls upon to do a job.
Michael Carrick – Carrick has overcome a minor injury that ruled him out of international action in midweek and is now fit to face Everton in midfield.
Tom Cleverley – Cleverley was withdrawn after 45 minutes for England in midweek and should be fit and ready for this fixture. His partnership with Carrick has looked United’s most effective midfield solution this season.
Danny Welbeck – Recent good form from Welbeck hints at a possible start for the game against Everton. Kagawa is another option for the left-side but his long travels with Japan in the past week may mean he gets given extra rest.
Wayne Rooney – Rooney is now stringing together a run of games coupled with goals too and his form will need to be continued into this week.
Robin van Persie – The burden on van Persie to deliver goals has diminished somewhat recently with the resurgence of Wayne Rooney but should he continue to score as well, then United will be a potent force up front.
United are likely to line-up in something similar to a 4-2-3-1 system. Carrick and Cleverley will probably be chosen as the central players, with Cleverley pushing on ahead of Carrick. Young and Welbeck are likely to play wide, and Cleverley’s good footballing relationship with Welbeck will need to be utilised. Meanwhile Rooney and van Persie are likely to interchange between the number 10 and number 9 positions.
Everton’s left-side is arguably the greatest threat to United, so tactically Ferguson will probably look to counter that. A hard-working right-hand sided winger will be essential, as will the right-sided central midfielder. Whilst Carrick is likely to be chosen to stop runs inside from Pienaar and Baines, Phil Jones may well be called upon at one point to adopt a similar role as he did against Tottenham.
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