Manchester United take on Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon.
United drew 1-1 against Leicester last weekend in a disappointing return from the international break. Ralf Rangnick will be hoping for an improved performance from his side here with the race for the top four seemingly remaining wide open.
United are hardly fancied to secure Champions League football, but Arsenal’s defeat to Crystal Palace earlier in the week provided a degree of hope. United will play relegation-threatened Everton this weekend and Frank Lampard’s side desperately need points to maintain their top-flight status. Everton lost to Burnley in midweek and that result was a huge blow to their hopes of staying up.
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Everton should be ready to fight when United visit and they drew the reverse fixture 1-1 at Old Trafford back in October.
Here’s how our MEN writers think United should line up.
Eric Bailly should be sold in the summer but he would be a more suitable center-back against Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, even though the latter is a different presence to last year.
Nemanja Matic should be coming in for this game irrespective of Scott McTominay’s fitness. Fred, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho have earned their roles but Bruno Fernandes is in by default, as is Alex Telles at left-back.
It is much of a muchness between Marcus Rashford and Anthony Elanga but the latter has underwhelmed in the last two games.
Injuries are once again given Rangnick little room for manoeuvre when it comes to selecting his team and Telles and Lindelof will be the beneficiaries from the absence of Varane and Shaw. Maguire should start again as the right-sided center back having looked assured there last week.
United probably need Matic’s physicality at the moment so he has to start at the base of midfield, with Fred and Fernandes playing ahead of him. Pogba was disappointing last week and isn’t contributing at the moment as his contract ticks down.
Lingard is in the same position and he has been treated very differently by both United managers this season. It seems bizarre he’s barely had a look in and with Rashford woefully out of form and Elanga better from the bench, he deserves a shot on the right of a front three that will also include Sancho and Ronaldo.
Make no mistake, United simply need to win this game after drawing against Leicester last weekend. Their performance in that draw was concerning and they need to respond here, despite having four key players unavailable through injury.
Everton have been truly awful to watch this season and United should be able to control the game with an attack-minded midfield three of Fred, Pogba and Fernandes. Ronaldo returns from sickness and his return from him will be warmly welcomed.
Sancho has been brilliant on the left but perhaps it’s time to move him back to the right side, to allow Rashford an opportunity to rediscover his best form. Rashford just isn’t the same player on the opposite side.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.