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Premier League: Man Utd seek change of fortunes in Everton clash

Lee Gormley | October 16, 2015

Everton v Manchester United

Premier League
Saturday, October 17th
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Goodison Park

Man Utd look to overturn recent Toffees turmoil

Louis van Gaal will lead his Manchester United side at Goodison Park hoping for an overturn in form and fortunes against Everton, with the Red Devils having lost four of their last six encounters with the Toffees in the Premier League.

Last season on the blue half of Merseyside, the Red Devils suffered a 3-0 hammering by Roberto Martinez’s men, with Republic of Ireland international James McCarthy having kicked-off the rout with the opener strike after just five minutes on home soil.

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The hosts are 11/5 with Coral to once again prevail with three points from Goodison, while Van Gaal’s travelling title-hopeful’s are 11/8 for three points, despite their recent struggles to deal with Everton over the past few campaigns.

United did manage overcome the Toffees last term though, with both of their eventual high-profile misfits Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao shockingly netting in a 2-1 victory before departing Old Trafford this summer. Another narrow 2-1 win for the Red Devils is 8/1, while the current third-placed visitors are 18/5 to win and both teams to score.

Rooney has point to prove

United skipper Wayne Rooney has endured a poor time of it when returning to face his former employers Everton, with just two goals in his last 10 visits to his old stomping ground and, with his club form this season having been underwhelming so far, he has plenty to prove after a disappointing start to the Premier League campaign.

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The Red Devils captain could be joined by Bastian Schweinsteiger, Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera in returning to Van Gaal’s matchday squad after respective injuries, though Marcos Rojo has lost the race for fitness.

With Rooney set for a return to action, Martinez believes that the all-time England marksman is a massive boost to his side’s opponents, despite not bagging a top-flight goal on the road since November last year, but he is 15/8 to dispatch his first strike at Goodison since April 2007 anytime.

“His contribution is a bit more than scoring goals,” said the Spaniard. “If you want my thoughts, I would prefer it if Wayne Rooney doesn’t play. From an opposition point of view, I think Manchester United are a better team when Wayne Rooney plays. He brings a lot more to his performance that just hitting the back of the net.”

Martinez: “Previous results mean very little”

Everton’s determined boss was also quick to dismiss the visitors’ stuttering form in recent trips to Merseyside, claiming that doesn’t matter once the next competitive clash comes along.

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“I think records and previous results mean very little – what’s important is that we respect immensely this Manchester United side,” Martinez added. “A couple of weeks ago when they went top of the league, that was a real statement of intent. Manchester United have a settled side now and have become really strong in what they do.”

Blind v Lukaku a key battle

Romelu Lukaku is one of just four players to have ever hit a hat-trick past United in the Premier League, alongside David Bentley, Dirk Kuyt and Samuel Eto’o, and he is 5/1 to strike the game’s last goal on home soil this time out, having already notched-up five domestic goals already this term.

The bull-dozing Belgian is set for an intriguing battle with the recently impressive Dutch defender Daley Blind, who could be feeling the effects of his country’s failure to reach Euro 2016 in France next year. Blind will need to be alert right up to the final whistle in his tussle with Lukaku, with the last 18 leagues meetings between these two teams having witnessed 11 goals in the final 10 minutes.

Martinez will be without defenders Leighton Baines and Tony Hibbert, while Tom Cleverley is unable to face his former club and joins fellow midfielders Muhamed Besic Steven Pienaar on the sidelines. The Spanish boss will hope his side can continue their solid form against the Red Devils, having won the previous three consecutive home meetings to nil, and another shut-out victory is 9/2.

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Coral’s top tip: Wayne Rooney to score anytime @ 11/8