Everton - Manchester United Preview: Reds must steer past Blues to reach final

Manchester United take on Everton at Wembley in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final on Saturday evening.

Everton - Manchester United Preview: Reds must steer past Blues to reach final
(photo source: Reuters)

Manchester United return to Wembley for the first time since 2011 as they take on Everton for a place in the FA Cup Final.

It is Louis Van Gaal’s first semi-final as manager of United, a game he knows he needs to win as the Red Devils look to end the season on a high.

United come into the tie after picking up three consecutive wins and will be the favourites going into the showpiece event, as Everton are struggling for consistent form.

Van Gaal is playing down the tie and insists getting to this stage of the competition was the aim of the club, and the Dutchman knows there is still a long way to go.

With the opportunity to reach his first final with the club, van Gaal will be eager for his side to return to Wembley once again this season, as he looks to improve his image in England, which has taken a battering since his arrival in the summer of 2014.

LVG sympathises with Martinez

The United boss also praised under-fire Everton boss Roberto Martinez, after his side were thrashed 4-0 by Liverpool in midweek. The Spaniard is under intense pressure from fans and is desperate to win on Saturday.

LVG thinks despite the blues disappointing run, Martinez is doing a good job, the United manager said: “What he is doing is the sign of a good manager because I believe in young players too.”

​Team news

United come into the game with a strong squad selection with just Luke Shaw, Adnan Januzaj and Bastian Schweinsteiger missing out through injury. Other than that, LVG will have a selection of 24 players that he must trim down to a match day 18, meaning rarely this season United will have strength in depth.

The Toffees could have a defensive crisis on their hands after having Ramiro Funes Mori sent off against Liverpool, meaning he is now suspended for the tie at Wembley. Phil Jagielka and Seamus Coleman are both doubts with hamstring injuries meaning Everton fans will make the trip to the capital incredibly worried if the two fail to recover in time.

​Previous meetings

United have won both times the sides have met this season in the Premier League with a thumping 3-0 victory at Goodison Park, and a narrow 1-0 win in the return fixture.

4United were beaten 4-2 in the FA Cup semi final in 2009 (photo source: getty images)

The sides last met in the FA Cup in 2009, again at Wembley at the same stage. The tie went to penalties as the Toffees won 4-2, though the Merseyside club were then beaten by Chelsea in the subsequent final.

It is a huge game for both clubs as well as the future of both managers, particuarly LVG who will be keen to lift some silverware and brighten up the red side of Manchester after considerable disappointments in recent seasons.