Everton take on Manchester United tonight in the first meeting between the sides since David Moyes departed the Goodison Park hot seat for the number one job at Old Trafford. It guarantees to be a fantastic encounter, with Roberto Martinez promising to adopt a positive approach to overcoming the current Champions of England.
Not since the first season of the Premier League in 1992-93 have Everton left Old Trafford victorious, but the Blues enter this game with genuine optimism. With just one defeat all season, Everton go into the game 2 points and 3 places ahead of the Red Devils. With all of his main attacking players in prime form, Roberto Martinez will be spoilt for choice when he sits down to select his starting eleven, with Ross Barkley, Steven Pienaar, Kevin Mirallas, Leon Osman and Gerard Deulofeu competing for three positions in support of Romelu Lukaku.
Elsewhere the remainder of the team selects itself, with Bryan Oviedo continuing to deputise for Leighton Baines in the Blues defence. Tim Howard, once of Manchester United will continue in goal as he looks to build on an impressive start to the season which has seen him keep seven clean sheets in the opening thirteen games. James McCarthy will support Gareth Barry in the centre of the Everton midfield, although the former Wigan man is just one booking away from a suspension which could potentially rule him out of the Arsenal match at the weekend.
Former Everton boss David Moyes has a number of difficult decisions to make, but will give star striker Robin van Persie as long as possible to prove his fitness. If the Dutchman does start, Wayne Rooney will drop into a more withdrawn role, plugging the gap between midfield and attack. Another former Toffee, Marouane Fellaini is expected to start, with Phil Jones suspended and Michael Carrick carrying a long-term injury. The Belgium was prolific for the Blues last season, but has failed to find the net so far this season as he struggles to come to terms with his big money move.
Probable Team: Howard; Oviedo, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin; Barry, McCarthy; Pienaar, Mirallas, Barkley; Lukaku.
Everton’s past record at Old Trafford is poor. Since the creation of the Premier League 21 years ago, the Blues have only recorded the one victory, with Beardsley, Warzycha and Mo Johnston scoring the Everton goals in a three-nil win back in 1992. Since that meeting it has been a consistent tale of woe for the Blues, with just five draws and sixteen defeats. Manchester United have had some brilliant teams through that 21 year period, but perhaps for the first time a number of Premier clubs have sensed a vulnerability and Roberto Martinez will be keen to take full advantage. Speaking ahead of the game, Martinez explained his determination to put on a fitting show at the Theatre of Dreams.
“Old Trafford is a difficult place to play your football, and I think that’s what we’re really looking forward to – to being ourselves and competing against the champions.
“At this point of the season, we’re looking strong, with really good confidence, with an understanding of the quality we’re going to face on Wednesday but, in the same manner, feeling really positive about the game.” Roberto Martinez talking to evertonTV
Our Archive footage comes from that long forgotten win at Old Trafford, fingers crossed for a repeat and a victory that would propel Everton to serious contenders for Champions League football next season.
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