After the high of a dramatic win during the week against Villarreal in the Champions League, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his squad face a quick turn around and have to focus on facing Everton at Old Trafford for the lunchtime kick off on Saturday, which has annoyed manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Solskjær on fixture schedule: “No explanation. It is TV. No common sense at all, we had same scenario last year when we played in Turkey and then Everton. We have to make it happen. It is not like we did it last year so it is going to happen again.”
Even though Man Utd won and took all three points against Villarreal in the week, the performance was less than convincing for a side with aspirations of winning the Premier League, there was an obvious struggle with stopping Villarreal progressing through United’s midfield, this allowed Villarreal to play quick a counter attacking style, which will likely be Everton’s plan as well, meaning United will have to improve in their execution to avoid being open to counter attacks again.
Man Utd played Everton three times last season, winning the two games at Goodison park, including a win in the Carabao Cup, the game at Old Trafford in the Premier League ended in a dramatic 3-3 draw, with Everton netting a last second equalising goal through Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who is out of his teams trip to Old Trafford this time out.
Everton manager Rafa Benitez has also confirmed that he will also be without Richarlison, Andre Gomes and Seamus Coleman for their trip to Old Trafford, meaning a huge spine of the Everton team will be missing.
Solskjaer has confirmed that no more injuries were picked up during the midweek game but will still be without some key players including Harry Maguire, Amad and Marcus Rashford, who returned to first team training, also he could be without Luke Shaw after missing out in midweek.
Solskjær: “Luke [Shaw] feels better in himself, he’s been ill, but he has the shoulder injury. We’ve got to make a decision on him.”
Solskjaer will have to make some decisions going into this Everton game, especially with Donny Van de Beek; Donny was visibly upset when he found out was not coming off the bench during the Villarreal game, throwing his chewing gum on the floor and having to be calmed down on the bench by his teammates.
The problem Solskjaer has is that Donny can’t play in his best position, attacking midfielder, because Bruno is clearly ahead of him in the pecking order and when he has played in the deeper position, it is clear he doesn’t have the defensive qualities, which Solskjaer wants in those positions, to play against high quality teams, now Solskjaer has the decision to make, play him against a weakened Everton team and see if he can produce in the Premier League, or put him back on the bench for being publicly upset on the bench.
Solskjær on Van de Beek not being happy on Weds night: “I understand the frustration, every player is keen to play, that has to built into energy and determination for when you come on – then show me. That is not just Donny, all the players.”
Everton have experienced a very good start to the season under new manager Rafa Benitez, currently sitting 5th in the table, winning four of their first six games in the league, with new players Demari Gray and Andros Townsend being catalysts for their form, with Townsend producing 2 goals and 2 assists so far and Demari Gray contributing 3 goals and an assist in the first 6 games after his £1.8 million move from Bayer Leverkusen.
Man Utd have a good opportunity to leapfrog either Man City or Liverpool in the league table this weekend, with the two playing each other on Sunday, a win against Everton, will also create a gap between Everton and United, a loss will be a successive loss in the Premier League, after the disappointing loss to Aston Villa last weekend, meaning United will have to put in a good performance to prove themselves as title contenders this season.