Manchester United v Everton: The Key Battles

We take a look at the key match ups as Everton head to Old Trafford to take on the league leaders.

Everton produced a superb comeback to draw this fixture 4-4 last season, which was a result that ultimately cost Manchester United the Premier League title. Manchester City will be hoping for more of the same.

Rio Ferdinand v Nikica Jelavic

Jelavic is the sort of slippery and busy striker who can often give defenders nightmares. Rio Ferdinand plays on the side of the defence where Jelavic normally plays and the United stalwart will be full of confidence because he’s been one of the club’s more reliable defenders so far this season.

Jonny Evans v Marouane Fellaini

Fellaini gave United all sorts of problems when these teams met for the first fixture of the season. He will back into Evans, try and pull him out of position and generally be a pain in the backside throughout the game. Evans is deceptively aggressive as a defender which means he’s a good match against Fellaini and he’ll compete against the Belgian every time.

Michael Carrick v Steven Pienaar

Michael Carrick’s job in the United team is to stop influential players in the opposition from getting onto the ball. He cuts off space and angles very well which is important because Everton will try to get Pienaar on the ball s much as they can. If the South African gets the edge in this battle then Everton stand a very good chance of setting up some great chances to score.

Antonio Valencia v Leighton Baines

Valencia has not been having the best of seasons for United but his pace means he is always going to be a threat down the right for United. Leighton Baines has improved considerably as a left back which gives him the best possible chance of containing Valencia during this match. If Valencia can edge this then United could score from one of his forward runs.

Robin Van Persie v Phil Jagielka

Robin Van Persie has carried the United attack on several occasions this season and Jagielka is the Everton defender who is likely to be given the task of stopping him. Van Persie has so many qualities, Jagielka just needs to concentrate on doing the basics correctly which gives him the best chance of stopping the Dutchman from scoring.

How do you see these battles going?

image: © brostad

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