COMMENT By Danny Wright
Everton have a short trip down the M62 to Old Trafford on Tuesday night in a battle for league position against Manchester United.
Ronald Koeman’s side can move up to fifth place if results go their way, above United and Arsenal.
However a derby day defeat to Liverpool on Saturday will still be on the minds of some Everton players after Jurgen Klopp and co managed to put a severe dent in any faint homes of a Champions League place.
Here, Football Insider analyses three things we can expect from Everton against Jose Mourinho’s men.
Another Lukaku blank
Many people criticise Romelu Lukaku for his lack of goals against the big sides and his performance against Liverpool on Saturday added a lot of substance to that claim. The 23-year-old was missing in action as his side fell to a 3-1 defeat. The striker has scored 22 goals in all competitions this season and is the Premier League’s top marksman but time-and-time again he fails to find the target in the big games. Manchester United have had a good defensive record at home throughout the campaign so it’s likely the Lukaku will suffer another duck on Tuesday.
Koeman will give up on youngsters
Everton are one of few clubs that actively promote the use of young English players in their team but a loss to United on Tuesday could lead to Koeman calling on the more experienced players in the run-in. Kevin Mirallas and Gareth Barry were sat on the sidelines at Anfield but it was too late for them to do anything when they came on. The ex-Southampton boss has to find the perfect balance between experience and youthfulness. Mauricio Pochettino has it at Tottenham and that’s what Koeman must strive for.
United are expected to have Zlatan Ibrahimovic back in action against Everton and they definitely missed him in their last game when they struck a blank against West Brom in a goalless draw. The talismanic striker should be able to make easy work of an expected Everton back-three including Phil Jagielka, Ashley Williams and Matthew Pennington. It’s not Everton’s fault that they are thin at the back, but Mourinho’s side will show no mercy and make the most of the opportunity to fire their way towards the win. If the Toffees had put up more of a fight against Liverpool on Saturday then it would be a very different story indeed.
In other Everton news, a Liverpool defender has slammed this 23-year-old after the Merseyside derby.