Everton should be bold: they can beat Manchester United

Everton United 30/12/2017

Everton are 17 points behind Manchester United in the Premier League, but if they're bold enough then they can win the New Year's Day clash.

Wayne Rooney of Everton speak to referee Lee Probert during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Everton at Vitality Stadium on December 30, 2017 in Bournemouth, England.

Everton just lost to Bournemouth, the first defeat under Sam Allardyce. They will perhaps feel down, as though the air had been let out of the balloon that Big Sam had been inflating ever since he took charge. And when they look up and see Manchester United next on the fixture list, they may be feeling very poor indeed.

But they shouldn't.

There should be no doubt that Everton need to look at the Manchester United game as any ordinary game against another mid-table side. They need to go at The Red Devils as they would any ordinary opponent.

Not as part of some elaborate bluff, but because right now that's kind of what it actually is.

Jose Mourinho, Manager of Manchester United looks thoughtful after the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on December 30, 2017 in Manchester,...

Manchester United are currently in the middle of a three game winless run. All three matches have been against lower league opponents who should have been comfortably dispatched, yet all three games ended in draws.

Moreover this is coming off United's second string getting turfed out of the Carabao Cup by Bristol City. At Old Trafford.

Manchester United are bereft of confidence and form. In just one of the above four games was their quality so overpoweringly obvious that one would feel that they were hard done by the result. And that they entered stoppage time of the Leicester game with just a one goal leader was down to finishing and decision-making so atrocious that you're almost glad they didn't get rewarded with a win.

Jack Stephens of Southampton and Anthony Martial of Manchester United shake hands after the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on December 30,...

Everton must obviously prepare themselves; they can't go in all gun's blazing or anything, but this is not a terrifying and formidable opponent. Yes Paul Pogba is obviously one of the league's most gifted players, but he is being saddled by a position which renders most of what he does best fairly superfluous.

Yes Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are magnificent talents, but Rashford looks devoid of confidence and Martial's selection is so inconsistent one would imagine Everton's defenders must be feeling they actually stand a chance (if Jonjoe Kenny can control his forward raids, anyway).

Sit deep to absord pressure and play it long to Dominic Calvert-Lewin on the break, sure. But Everton must then support him on that break. On the evidence of things he'll give Phil Jones and Victor Lindelof some real problems.

Bournemouth's Dutch defender Nathan Ake (R) vies with Everton's English striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin (L) during the English Premier League football match between Bournemouth and Everton...

With adequate support from the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Wayne Rooney there can be no doubt that due to their ongoing confidence issues, Everton can almost certainly put a couple of goals past United (or, worst case scenario, pull a reality-warping performance out of David De Gea).

It can be difficult to treat Manchester United like "just another side" but without Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and with Jose Mourinho's tactics and motivational skills now acting as an anchor rather than an airlift, that's kind of what they are.

Everton must be brave, because this one's there for the winning.

Sam Allardyce, Manager of Everton looks on prior to the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Everton at Vitality Stadium on December 30, 2017 in Bournemouth, England.

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