Moyes Set For Sticky Encounter With Toffees

Image courtesy of Yates/AFP/Getty Images
David Moyes's team is unbeaten the past two months. Image courtesy of Yates/AFP/Getty Images
Last season it was Tottenham Hotspur which broke a long drought at Old Trafford; this time around it could be Everton as Manchester United manager David Moyes prepares to face his former team for the first time. The Toffees never managed to take the three points away from the Theatre of Dreams during Moyes’s tenure on Merseyside, and the blue side of Liverpool hasn’t done so since 1992. Everton currently sits two points ahead of Man U on the table and given the home side’s inconsistent performances to date, this probably represents their best opportunity in some time.

United has come away with draws in its past two Premier League encounters, but the results have come in vastly different fashion. It let the premiership points slip at Cardiff conceding a late goal, while at White Hart Lane at the weekend, the Red Devils twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with Spurs. Wayne Rooney scored both goals and has 10 in 16 games this season, and they have been vital given Robin van Persie’s absence due to groin and toe injuries. A calf injury will also see Michael Carrick miss this match.

Moyes won just three of his first matches in charge of United, but a two-month unbeaten run in all competitions sees the champions up to eighth on the Premier League table, and with a soft run coming up in December, they should be able to make a charge heading in to the new year. A leaky defence has been the big issue for most of the season and they’ve kept just one clean sheet in their last nine matches in the EPL, and not surprisingly, there have been more than 2.5 goals in four of their last five starts.

Roberto Martinez has done a good job in his first year in charge at Goodison Park. After three draws in a row, the Toffees finally managed to snare all three premiership points with a 4-0 hammering of Stoke last start. Belgian international, Romelo Lukaku, has been on fire in front of goal since coming to the club on a season-long loan from Chelsea. He has scored in eight of his 10 appearances, including a double in the 3-3 draw in the Merseyside derby. The visitors will be without Leighton Baines (toe), as well as Arouna Kone and former United midfielder Darron Gibson (knee).

Everton’s recent record against United is good with two wins and as many draws from the teams’ last seven encounters. The problem, though, is their record at Old Trafford. The Toffees have scored there just once in their last four visits – and that was in an amazing 4-4 thriller two seasons back – and that’s the only time in their last seven games there where United has failed to win. 

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