The Toffees have won once in their last eight league games, while the visitors have won just once in seven. However, United arrive at Goodison Park off the back of a 4-1 win against West Ham United in the EFL Cup in midweek.
Will Koeman show faith in the club's young stars?
The Blues were far from convincing in their 1-0 defeat to Southampton with a lack of urgency evident across the pitch. On his return to St Mary’s, Ronald Koeman felt his side did enough to earn a point; based on the performance fans felt Everton were lucky for it to finish only 1-0 to the Saints.
The call from Goodison terraces is that fans want to see the inclusion of youth, Everton currently sit top of the Under-23 table and have many promising youngsters who would be eager to make the grade in the first team. Having faith in the youngsters proved to benefit rival manager Jürgen Klopp as Liverpool beat Leeds United 2-0 at Anfield in the EFL cup with an almost unrecognisable squad.
A chance for Everton to get their season back on track
Everton will be keen to make amends for the humiliating defeat they suffered last October against United but this will be difficult with the Blues only recording one win in their last nine attempts in all competitions. Ronald Koeman stated the goal for Everton this season is to be “the best of the rest” to achieve this goal the Dutchman must turn Everton’s fortunes around.
United have won five of their last eight games against the Blues; however, they have only won on one of their last four visits to Goodison Park. For Everton, the 3-0 defeat last October marked the end of three consecutive victories at home against the Manchester club.
The special one
The appointment of Jose Mourinho was met with a high level of optimism from the Old Trafford faithful. “The special one” claimed three Premier League titles with Chelsea and has two Champions League titles to his name. However, since the appointment in May the early optimism has turned to scepticism amongst United fans. United are currently 6th in the Premier League table and have only one Premier League win in their last four attempts.
With over £140million spent this summer, United fans can be forgiven for their high expectations. £89million Paul Pogba has yet to hit any real kind of form whilst former Borussia Dortmund man Henrikh Mkhitaryan has rarely featured in the Premier League for the Red Devils.
The introduction of Zlatan Ibrahimović seems to of had the desired effect. The Swedish striker has found the net seven times in the Premier League this season and he will prove difficult to handle for out-of-form defender Phil Jagielka.
Jose Mourinho stated that playing against Everton is “always difficult”. The United manager believes his team will need perform at their optimum level if they are to take all three-points from Goodison Park. Jose Mourinho’s last visit to Goodison Park ended in defeat; a Steven Naismith hat-trick saw the Blues run out 3-1 winners last September against an out-of-sorts Chelsea side.
Everton need to show some resolve
Koeman called for his side “to show more than they have in the last few weeks”, with a difficult Christmas period approaching which sees Everton play Arsenal, Liverpool and current champions Leicester City and Koeman will be hoping Everton can replicate their early season form, which saw them win four of their opening five games.
Koeman also stated “we need to be strong and show personality” Everton have lacked any real leaders on the pitch of late and this was more than evident in the 5-0 thrashing at Stamford Bridge. Everton fans can forgive a poor result but what they cannot forgive is a lack of effort which seems to be the case with some of the players at present.
Who is missing?
United will be without former Everton man Wayne Rooney, who misses the game due to suspension. Tthe England striker is one goal away from equalling Manchester United’s all-time goalscoring record with Sir Bobby Charlton holding that honour for the time being. Jose Mourinho also returns to the dugout for United after serving a touchline ban in 4-1 victory against West Ham.
James McCarthy looks set to return to the Everton squad; the Irish international has only featured sporadically this season due to injuries and the arrival of Idrissa Gueye, who looks to of taken the midfielders place. The only injury concern for Everton at the midfielder is Bosnian midfielder Muhammad Besic, who is set to be out until February with a knee injury.