Manchester United fans could be forgiven for taking a visit from Everton as a banker of three points before last year. From 1994 to February 2013, Everton played Man United 20 times at Old Trafford with the home side picking up 16 wins and four draws. That red-hot streak came to an end last season as David Moyes finally managed to succeed in Everton taking three points away from the Theatre of Dreams, unfortunately at the time, he was Man United manager…
This season, football has been harder to predict than George Michael’s sexual orientation, and Everton’s trip to Man United is tough to call considering both team’s recent form. One thing punters should expect is goals. And plenty of them.
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Kudos to Carol Farrell in the PP Design team for another smashing infographic
Everton were often renowned as a side that were tough to break down, and rarely conceded many goals. However this season that theory has been turned on its head. The Toffees not only spectacularly shipped six at home to Chelsea, they’ve also conceded two against newly promoted Leicester and three at home to Crystal Palace. The Toffees now rank bottom of the Premier League table for defence after conceding 17 goals in just six games. Last year they were ranked third, and the year before fourth.
If that doesn’t have Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria, and co. licking their lips, nothing will.
Everton shot-stopper Tim Howard has also had his problems against his former side. In 13 games against United he has kept just three clean sheets. Against the top six sides, Howard has a worse record against just one of the other sides – that’s Arsenal – although he does have an impressive 40 per cent clean sheet rate against Manchester City.
Our infographic also shows that Howard’s beard, despite looking ferociously awesome, might not be helping his goalkeeping ability. The American number one won plenty of accolades following a Man of the Match performance in an extra-time defeat to Belgium, however in the Premier League, Howard’s record has dipped marginally since growing his facial fuzz. For number-crunchers everywhere we’re taking the start of the 2013/14 season as when Howard really embraced his beard.
While Everton might be a tad wobbly at the back, they’ve shown no such problems going forward. The Merseyside Derby at Anfield was the only time in the league this season that Everton have failed to score two or more goals. A worrying thought for Louis Van Gaal who isn’t blessed with a watertight defence. United’s only clean sheets this term have been against relegation-threatened QPR, and relegation-certainties Burnley.
So while we can’t be sure which side will end up with three points on Sunday, punters should be confident of an entertaining game. Over 2.5 goals is a super-skinny 1/2 and you’re looking at the same price for both teams to get on the score-sheet.
United’s games have averaged 3.33 goals a game this season, and Everton fans have been treated to 4.33 goals each game. This Sunday at Old Trafford over 3.5 goals is 5/4 and over 4.5 goals is 11/4. If you fancy an absolute stonker of a match, six goals or more is 11/2.
The way both sides are performing, you would hardly be surprised…
*Editor’s note: It would be Sod’s Law if this piece jinxed the game between Man Utd v Everton. Therefore, the 0-0 draw is available at 14/1.