Man Utd v Everton Prediction: Everton can keep things close at Old Trafford
This weekend's Premier League action commences at Old Trafford where Manchester United bout with Everton.
It took a strike at the death from Cristiano Ronaldo to lift Man U off the foot of the table in the Champions League on Wednesday. However, that goal will do little to paper off the cracks that have been festering for some time in M16.
Man Utd v Everton Tips
An unbalanced squad, pandering to their world class striker, is just about getting them by at the minute but with their stalwart in central defence absent for this fixture, Harry Maguire, their fragile backline could be exposed.
This coupled with quick turnaround makes backing Man Utd at 9/20 undesirable, especially given how Everton have fared at this venue recently.
As little as four of that Toffee’s team that snatched a late equaliser when these sides last met could remain with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Andre Gomes all major doubts for this weekend. Evertonians remain hopeful that DCL and Seamus Coleman could make a premature return to action after pictures were posted of them back on the training ground doing individual work this week. However, it is unlikely that either will feature. This will likely see Mason Holgate continue at right and Salomon Rondon lead the line.
Last time these sides met at Old Trafford, there were six goals, the last of which was poked home in the 90+4th minute by Dominic Calvert-Lewin as the Toffees snatched a share of the spoils.
Bet365’s generously priced Asian handicap line that gives the visitors a goal head start would have paid out on that day, as it would have on three of the last five occasions Everton have found themselves in domestic action on the wrong side of the Pennines. Even with their injury woes, I fancy them to get a result this Saturday.
The Red Devils quality is indisputable but this potential is not utilised by the man at the helm. In their most recent fixture- vs Villarreal in the Champions League- they lost the xG battle by 1.32 goals! This campaign, in the league, they have conceded in all bar one of their fixtures with the only team that failed to find the net against them being Wolves but they generated an xG of 2.55!
I also really like the thought of Rafa Benitez going to Old Trafford as the underdog, with limited resources. He is obviously a much better tactician and has much more experience to draw on then his opposite number and with the cushion of a goal head start- safe in the knowledge that if Everton do lose by a goal we get our stake back- I think this is a seriously good angle.
Michail Oliver has the whistle for this one and he has brandished an average of 3.4 cards per game this season in the EPL, an average only bested by Mike Dean of those to oversee five or more fixtures.
Over the past couple of seasons, this has been a match that has yielded a fair few cards. 19 have been dealt in the last four domestic duels, an average of 4.75 per game. Therefore, I think it is worth delving into the player cards markets and a price that has taken my fancy is Salomon Rondon at 15/2 with Bet Victor.
It is worth noting that despite his grand stature and bullish nature, the Venezuelan striker does not have the most cynical disciplinary record. In fact, his cards per 90 average (0.10) suggests his price this weekend should be around 9/1. However, in his most recent appearance vs Norwich, he committed six fouls all of which somehow went unpunished.
It would have been a fascinating battle between him and Maguire but with the latter out injured, Rondon’s hands on approach may not be reciprocated.
The sky was the limit when Demarai Gray joined Leicester from Birmingham back in 2016, however, his career stalled in the five years he was there with the only record he broke being the player to make the most substitute appearances for the Foxes, with 94 out of 169 apps coming via the bench.
After a sabbatical in North Rhine-Westphalia, he has resurfaced in Merseyside with Everton. I know this is very vague but I remember hearing on a podcast that whilst in Germany, Gray said if he was given a chance he would prove to everyone that he was on a par with the likes of Jadon Sancho and given the start he has made to the season, you can see why he was so confident in his own ability.
In six starts, 503 minutes, this season he has directly contributed to four goals bagging thrice and registering one assist. In that time he has racked up 12 shots, a third of which have hit the target, and with him expected to start in behind Rondon he will add to this tally on Saturday.
Betfair and Paddy Power have him to score anytime at 13/2 which certainly appeals. I also think the very chunky 80/1 available on him to bag a brace is worth a punt given Man Utd’s defensive fragility.
Best of luck if you are backing any of these selections and please remember to gamble responsibly.
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