Everton vs. Man U
Venue: Goodison Park
Kick off: 1:30PM
Manchester United will be looking to keep their top-four hopes alive when they travel to top-seven challengers Everton in the Premier League this afternoon.
As it stands, United are sixth in the table, two points off fourth-placed Arsenal. Meanwhile, Everton are tenth, two points behind ninth-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers ahead of what is a crucial round of matches.
Indeed, the Red Devils have lost five of their last seven games in all competitions, including a 3-0 defeat at Barca in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday night. United were miles away from challenging the Spanish champions and now there is huge pressure on their league form.
Paul Pogba scored twice in a 2-1 win over West Ham United last weekend, but it would be fair to say that United were extremely fortunate.
As it stands, they are sixth in the table, two points off fourth-placed Arsenal on the same number of matches.
Tottenham in third, meanwhile, are three points ahead of the Red Devils.
When considering how far Jose Mourinho’s side were off the pace in December, it is a brilliant position to be in.
Their run of matches is very tough, though, facing Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea in their next three, before finishing away to Huddersfield Town and at home to Cardiff City.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has performed miracles to place the club in this position, but they might need to pick up five or seven points from their next three matches to remain in the hunt for a Champions League finish.
There is no question that it is going to be a busy summer transfer window for United, who need players at both end of the field.
They have conceded 44 times in the league this season – the same as Everton – while a number of their forwards have struggled for consistency throughout the 2018-19 campaign.
United have not actually kept a clean sheet in any of their last 10 games in all competitions, which is their worst run for seven years.
Meanwhile, they could lose three Premier League away games in a row for the first time in over 20 years with a poor result this weekend.
There is no question that things have improved under Solskjaer following a torrid start to the campaign, but it will count for nothing if the team are unable to secure their spot in the top four as missing out on the Champions League next season would be devastating for the club.
On the other hand, thirteen wins, seven draws and 14 defeats – that is how Everton have performed in the league this season.
A total of 46 points from their 34 matches has left them in ninth, just one point off the top seven.
That said, Wolverhampton Wanderers (eighth) and Watford (10th) both have games in hand.
It has been a strange season for Marco Silva’s side.
It would be fair to say that there has been a lot of frustration from the supporters, many of whom were hopeful of a potential top-six challenge this season.
Home form has been a bit of a problem, though, winning just eight of their 17 league games at Goodison Park.
That said, the Toffees have beaten Chelsea and Arsenal in their last two games in front of their own supporters and had won three straight fixtures before losing 2-0 at Fulham last time out.
Everton possible XI: Pickford, Coleman, Keane, Zouma, Digne, Gueye, Schneiderlin, Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Bernard, Calvert-Lewin.
Man U possible XI: De Gea, Dalot, Smalling, Lindelof, Young, Matic, Pogba, Fred, Lingard, Lukaku, Rashford.