Everton vs. Sheffield United
Venue: Goodison Park
Kick off: 3PM
Everton and Sheffield United know that a win will probably propel them into the top half of the Premier League when they play each other for the first time in more than eight years this afternoon.
Coach Marco Silva is calling for a response from his side following a 3-1 defeat at Bournemouth which he said lacked aggression, defensive fortitude and a clinical edge.
In the opposition technical area, Chris Wilder would probably take a point after seeing his side finish all square on their first two trips of the campaign, grabbing a late equaliser at Bournemouth before mounting a surprise comeback at Chelsea.
Following a promising start to the season in which they kept clean sheets in their first two matches, Everton have lost two of their last three games, sandwiching an entertaining 3-2 home victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers with a 2-0 loss at Aston Villa last month and defeat at Bournemouth last Sunday.
That defeat in Dorset will be of particular concern to the Toffees, who set their sights on threatening the top six before the start of the campaign.
Their home form remains impressive, avoiding defeat for seven matches since losing 2-0 to champions Manchester City in February, including six straight shut-outs before Wolves scored in both halves to twice equalise before Richarlison’s 80th-minute winner.
That result will have been too close for comfort for Silva, who has overseen the longest winning run at Goodison since an eight-match sequence of victories under Ronald Koeman in early 2017.
Sheffield United impressed in the early stages of their return to the Premier League, registering four points from their first two matches with that creditable 1-1 draw at Bournemouth and a fine 1-0 win over Crystal Palace in their first game at Bramall Lane.
The Blades have not won away in the top flight since December 2006, when a 1-0 victory at Wigan was only a brief ray of light ahead of a run of form that ultimately saw them relegated.
Following the draw at the Vitality Stadium, when a late Billy Sharp goal gave them a share of the spoils, United proceeded to pick up a spirited point at Chelsea, rallying from two goals down at half-time to hit back almost immediately through Callum Robinson before an 89th-minute Kurt Zouma own-goal.
Wilder is aiming to lead the club he supports to a first win at Everton since 1993 and end a run of three successive defeats at Goodison, although they won this fixture on their travels three times in a row between the 1990-91 and 1992-93 seasons.
Of the 100 wins in the meetings between this pair, Everton have a marginally better record, totalling 53 victories to United’s 47.
Everton possible XI: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Mina, Digne, Gomes, Delph, Iwobi, Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Kean.
Sheffield United possible XI: Henderson, Basham, Egan, O’Connell, Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Freeman, Stevens, Robinson, McBurnie.