Manchester Utd vs Everton: Back Louis van Gaal’s side to keep Champions League hopes alivePublished April 1, 2016
The win at Manchester City prior to the International break has given Manchester United renewed hope in their quest to secure Champions League football next season, although they will be well aware that they can ill-afford to drop points at Old Trafford if they are to sneak into the top four.
It would seem some among the Old Trafford hierarchy are unconvinced as to the wisdom of appointing Jose Mourinho, but if Louis van Gaal’s future has genuinely yet to be decided, his job security is surely dependent on Champions League qualification.
Roberto Martinez could find himself looking for a new job in the summer, with Everton having badly underperformed in the Premier League this season. Despite only being 12th in the table the Toffees away record is excellent, with them having still lost just once in 13 league games on the road this season.
It might be difficult for Martinez to motivate his players for the Premier League during the run-in, with minds naturally distracted by the FA Cup, Euro 2016 and some by potential summer moves. John Stones season-long struggle for form has been to a back-drop of ongoing transfer speculation and now the rumours are beginning to circulate as to Romelu Lukaku moving on over the summer. Both players have been linked with moves to Old Trafford over the past week or so.
This could also be a possible dress rehearsal for a meeting in the FA Cup semi-final, although Manchester United will first have to overcome West Ham United in their quarter-final replay at the Boleyn Ground.
Manchester United are again set to be without their Everton old boy Wayne Rooney, while Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Phil Jones are all out or doubts to varying degrees. Gareth Barry is suspended and Bryan Oviedo is an injury doubt for Everton.
Manchester United should have the greater desire to win here and Everton, for all their ability, might not be the most determined of Premier League opposition at this stage of the season. They didn’t put up great resistance in the 2-0 defeat to Arsenal at Goodison Park last time out.