Happy New Year, one and all. The flipping of the calendar is, traditionally, a time of personal reflection and renewal. The old year is dead; the new one is an opportunity to find the new you, and to present it to the world. This isn’t necessarily an easy process, of course. And it gets even more difficult when “Big” “Sam” “Allardyce” is the man standing in your way.
Yes, Manchester United are ringing in the new year with a trip to Everton, who have, since the Premier League’s most Premier League manager took over from Ronald Koeman, been thoroughly Allardyce’d. He’s been in charge for seven league games, and has only lost one, keeping four clean sheets in the process. It’s going to be annoying ...
... particularly since United have, in the last couple of months, proven to be extremely bad at unpicking a well-organised defence. They come into this game on the back of a nil-nil draw with Southampton that wasn’t the worst performance of the season but might have been the most frustrating. Most of the possession, but almost no attacking threat. Meanwhile Chelsea were cantering past into second place.
Oh, and there are players missing. Obviously. Both United’s big strikers are absent — Romelu Lukaku with the head injury he sustained a couple of days ago; Zlatan Ibrahimovic with his knackered knee — and so United will be improvising up front. Also absent are first-choice full-backs (yes, really) Antonio Valencia (knack) and Ashley Young (silly buggers), along with Eric Bailly, Marouane Fellaini, Michael Carrick, and apparently Chris Smalling.
And, finally, there’s the curse of the ex to consider. 1-0 (Rooney, 56’)? Looks terrifyingly plausible to us. Doom. Doom. Doom ... what, hungover? Us? How dare you.
Premier League schedule
We kick off at 17.30 in Liverpool, which is 12.30 AM on the east coast of the USA and 09.30 AM over on the west. A bright and shiny good morning to you all.
Premier League TV channel
In the UK, you can catch the action on Sky Sports Main Event or Sky Sports Premier League, should you have a preference. Those in the USA will need to point their faces at either NBCSN or Universo. A click on LiveSoccerTV will sort out the rest of you.
Premier League streaming
SkyGo in the UK; NBC Sports Live and Universo Now in the USA.
Predictions: Could be anything, really, but let’s go with David de Gea; Axel Tuanzebe, Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones, Daley Blind; Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay; Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford.
Update: Seven out of eleven. Well done us. Still, Anthony Martial up front. That’ll be fun.
Here's how #MUFC line up for today's @PremierLeague encounter... pic.twitter.com/JsKu6TNq6f— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 1, 2018
Actual lineups to follow once Jose Mourinho has finished mucking around with his tombola. This will also be our livethread for the game, so do please join us in the comments below. And finally, a happy new year to you all. We greatly appreciate your visits to the site, and are looking forward to the year to come. However the football goes.