Manchester United host Everton at Old Trafford as both clubs fight for their place in this season’s top four. Everton will be buoyed by their victory at Leeds in midweek, while United are trying to keep in touch with the Premier League’s form team, Manchester City, at the top of the table.
Bar Edinson Cavani being withdrawn at half-time as a precaution for a knock on his ankle, United’s NINE-NIL remorseless rout against Southampton was unblemished.
18': Wan-Bissaka— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 2, 2021
69', 90': Martial
87': Bruno Fernandes
For the first time in Premier League history, Manchester United had SEVEN different scorers in a match pic.twitter.com/6Dvk3qawAB
Ole Gunnar Solskjær rested Paul Pogba for the entirety of the match versus Saints and chose Scott McTominay and Fred as his central midfielders. Pogba – United’s best player in January – may have needed the break, but that choice provided a welcome balance to the side.
Pogba has played his best minutes for United this season when paired in central midfield and will likely return there to relieve one half of the McFred duo.
Suffered a horrendous challenge two minutes in on Tuesday and was lucky to walk away from it with just bruising. McTominay went on to play the full 90 with verve and, if fully fit, should retain his place over Fred and Nemanja Matić.
United fielded arguably their best front four in midweek with Cavani and Anthony Martial swapping at half-time. As it turned out, Martial scored twice happily ending an eight-game drought for the forward.
Before Martial was introduced, those front four were also in their favoured positions. Marcus Rashford – shunted around recently – started from the left side of the attack, Mason Greenwood from the right.
To get the best out of Rashford and Martial, they should ideally be fighting for one place on the left or as the focal striker. Rashford does not look nearly as comfortable on the right, while Martial flatly isn’t suited there but is the more adept at being the centre forward.
If Mason Greenwood is unavailable, Solskjær needs to look to his squad rather than Rashford to provide cover on the right.
Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford
One last push on Saturday before a bona fide, not even in the matchday squad, cheering United on from their phones, feet up rest?
Both Fernandes and Rashford are knackered and United can ill afford to lose either for a lengthy period.
An issue which is going nowhere with the current schedule – especially for teams playing European football. Even worse if you’re on the Thursday-Sunday hamster wheel. The upside is now only one domestic league game a week, at least.
Recent loanees Jesse Lingard, James Garner and even Tahith Chong had stellar debuts this week. Those squad players that remain should be trusted further and contribute more in the coming fixtures. Solskjær will also need to work out his priorities – he may favour domestic competitions over second-rate European – and shuffle accordingly.
United’s tough match against Everton warrants picking the strongest available side to keep up momentum in the league now they have positioned themselves nicely. Hoping that all his key players come through unscathed, Solskjær will need to seriously take stock of the calendar after this weekend.