By Josh Powell | Premier League
Man United v Everton, Sunday 4.00pm, Sky Sports 1
Everton visit Old Trafford on Sunday as Manchester United look to banish the memories of last April, when two dropped points at home to the Toffees helped cost them the league to Manchester City. But David Moyes has had a hoodoo on United in recent years and it would be no surprise to see him continue that this weekend.
On paper the last six league meetings have been all square, two wins for either side and two draws. But as Adrian Chiles and co like to remind us amongst other cliches, football is not played on paper. For once that stomach-churning phrase is pretty accurate as the two draws would have felt like wins for Everton who twice came from two goals down to snatch a point.
In 2010 the Toffees came from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 in Fergie time at Goodison Park. Tiny Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta got the goals in added time. Since then both players left, with Tim Cahill trying to break America with as much success as Cheryl Cole and Mikel Arteta joining Arsenal’s ever extending list of ‘play-making midfielders who aren’t keen in the tackle’.
Last year United looked home and hosed leading 4-2 before Everton pegged them back with two goals in the last seven minutes from Nikika Jelavic and Steven Pienaar.
Unfortunately for Manchester United fans, Everton could do it again and they are 13/2 to come from behind and draw on Sunday. This season they are the draw specialists with 12 in their 25 Premier League matches. David Moyes’ men have only lost three games, the same as Manchester United, and a record that is only bettered in the top-flight by City.
The draw is an appealing 14/5 and it’s 11/10 with Paddy’s double chance bet that Everton come away from Old Trafford with a victory or a draw.
This season the Toffees are managing to out-United the Red Devils by scoring a higher percentage of their goals in the last ten minutes. 15 per cent of United’s goals have come near the death compared to the 17 per cent of Everton goals that have come in the last 10 minutes. It is 10/11 that there is a goal after the 75th minute mark in a game that has had late goals in four of the last six meetings.
But everything has a weakness. Superman has kryptonite, Paul Merson has the English language and Everton’s could be Javier Hernandez. In United’s two 1-0 victories in the last three years both goals have come from Chicarito. The Little Pea has only played 620 minutes of Premier League football this year but he’s knocked in eight goals and grabbed two assists. In terms of minutes per goal, Javier Hernandez is more clinical than Robin van Persie.
United could have more than one eye on the mouth-watering Champions League clash with Real Madrid in Spain on Wednesday. Sir Alex Ferguson has already lined up some excuses in case his side drop points with some healthy abuse aimed at the man who draws up the fixture calendar. In one of his famously rational rants the Scot said TV is killing Manchester United’s Champions League chances. It looks like a little bit of rotation will be used and that means Hernandez could well start up top.
The striker is 5/1 to open the scoring at the Theatre of Dreams and 13/10 to find the onion bag at any time in the game. If you fancy Hernandez to get the goal in a 1-0 United win the correct scorecast pays out at 28/1.
United have dropped just three points at home all season but whether it is witchcraft or hard graft on Everton’s behalf, there is a good chance their hoodoo over the Red Devils can continue this weekend.