Man Utd vs Everton preview | Latest team news | Expected line-ups | Munich Tribute
Man Utd were back to their very best midweek as they saw off Southampton 9-0 at Old Trafford – a record-equalling performance. This evening, the Reds will look to continue their impressive form as they host Everton, kick off 20:00.
This day will be especially important for Man Utd as it marks the 63rd anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster. The match will also be of particular significance for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who will be celebrating his 100th Premier League game as Man Utd manager.
In terms of potential injuries within the Utd squad, Edinson Cavani was substituted off mid-week at half time after receiving a knock on his ankle. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in his pre-match press conference has since confirmed, “Edinson should be available, yeah, definitely.”
The only other injury concern for Manchester United is in relation to central defender Eric Bailly, with Solskjaer suggesting that “Eric is a doubt” for the game this evening.
Nevertheless, the Utd manager has said, “apart from that everyone’s raring to go”. Therefore, Solskjaer looks to have a near complete squad to choose from once again.
Everton will be without Jordan Pickford for the second time after he missed their 2-1 win over Leeds United mid-week with abdominal pain. In his pre-match press conference, Carlo Ancelotti said, “We have Jordan Pickford out for this game. He has not recovered yet.”
Allan has returned to training after being out of action with a hamstring injury picked up in Everton’s 2-0 win at Leicester City in mid-December. However, Ancelotti announced the Brazilian midfielder is not ready to return to First-Team action just yet, so he will be out of contention for today’s game.
Ancelotti also gave an update on Jean Philippe Gbamin’s situation, “ [he] is still following his individual programme. It is too early to say when he will be back.”
Man Utd XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Fred; Rashford, Fernandes, Pogba; Cavani.
Due to injury concerns over Eric Bailly, the back four from mid-week look set to retain their place in the starting line-up today. Luke Shaw was subbed off during their last game, therefore, even though Alex Telles is due some playing time, it is likely Shaw will retain his place following his excellent form.
The only possible change to Utd’s starting line-up would be the introduction of Paul Pogba who was awarded both Player and Goal of the Month for January following votes on the Official Manchester United App. He was rested mid-week for the full 90 minutes therefore the Frenchman should be re-energised for tonight’s game.
If Pogba does start, it is likely he will move into a right-wing position as Solskjaer will want to retain his strong defensive midfield players, Fred and Scott McTominay, to help defend any Everton attacks. This would result in Mason Greenwood having to settle for a place on the bench.
After learning that Cavani will definitely be available for tonight’s game, there is no reason why the striker shouldn’t head up Utd’s line ahead of Anthony Martial.
Everton XI (4-2-3-1): Olsen; Holgate, Keane, Mina, Digne; Gomes, Doucoure, Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Rodriguez; Calvert-Lewin.
Robin Olsen looks set to start in goal as Jordan Pickford remains out of contention. This will not be too much of a concern for Everton after Olsen’s impressive performance against Leeds United mid-week.
Michael Keane may return to the starting line-up, partnering Yerry Mina in the centre of defence to help fend off Utd attacks. This would drop Ben Godfrey to the bench as Mason Holgate remains on the right and Lucas Digne on the left.
Alex Iwobi may also drop to the bench as James Rodriguez moves to the right-wing and Gylfi Sigurdsson into a centre attacking midfield position.
Munich Air Disaster Tribute
Today is a particularly important day for Man Utd as it marks the 63rd anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster. In February 1958, 23 people – including 8 Man Utd players travelling from a European Cup game – were killed as the plane crashed during take-off in Munich. Usually, this day would be commemorated with a service held for supporters under the Munich clock outside Old Trafford.
However, due to Coronavirus restrictions, it was reported that the physical service would not take place this year and instead, a pre-recorded service will be broadcasted at 14:55 before a minute silence takes place at 15:04 – the exact time of the plane crash 63 years ago.
Solskjaer reflected on what this day means to Utd in his press conference stating,
“It’s only the fourth time it’s played on the actual anniversary [in the Premier League]. It’s important that we put on a fitting performance and hopefully we can honour them with a result. It’s such an important part of our history and the spirit of the club. We have, of course, spoken to the players who have come into the club who’ve not been here and been part of this anniversary. It’s a big day for everyone, it’s always been an emotional [day] for everyone. Hopefully we can put a team out that shows the Man United spirit. Of course, we have six-seven Academy graduates so hopefully they’ll lead us on.”
It was reported on the Official Manchester United website that flags will be placed in the stands to remember those who were lost, alongside flags being flown at half-mast and a giant banner in the Stretford End reading ‘We’ll never die’.
Ahead of kick off, there will be a minutes silence whilst both Man Utd and Everton captains lay wreaths in memory of those who died. Alongside this, both teams will wear black armbands as a gesture of respect.
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