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Thursday, May 30, 2024

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Scousers vs Mancs Part one: Everton vs Manchester United

It has always been a massive game in the past, it has always held significance with Sir Alex Ferguson of all people calling it a derby game back when he was in charge.

This time it yet again holds major significance. 

Not just to the two respective clubs but to how the season on a whole will pan out.

Everton need to get back to winning ways to bring back the momentum they had after their unbeaten start whilst Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs a victory to save his job.

If Everton do win their ambitions of top four will be regarded as serious and attainable yet if they do go onto lose the positivity from the start of the season goes out the window as it would be three losses on the bounce so it could be a huge catalyst in a good or bad way.

Nobody fully knows how safe Solskjaer’s job is at the moment but another loss this weekend would surely see his time up at the club with reports suggesting that Mauricio Pochettino has already been contacted which would be a real blow to the ‘big six’ and Liverpool especially as United would almost definitely become a force yet again with the Argentine at the helm.

So, no pressure then as the blue side of Merseyside welcome the red side of Manchester.

Some of the nerves may be eased going into the game for Everton supporters as manager Carlo Ancelotti confirmed that James Rodriguez, Seamus Coleman and Mason Holgate would all be available for selection after returning from injuries.

However, the nerves may have ramped back up when the Italian confirmed that England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford will start the game.

In his press conference Ancelotti said: “I have no message. I talked to him every day this week, we laughed, we are together.

“He knows what to do tomorrow. He starts.”

It cannot be understated how important this game is for Jordan Pickford.

He either needs a performance where he is not needed at all or one which sees him be awarded man of the match.

If he is quiet and is not involved it means he won’t be able to make a mistake, if he is the man of the match, he could potentially win the trust back from Everton supporters.

But with Robin Olsen putting in a fine display in the loss against Newcastle and now waiting to certify himself as the better option everyone’s eyes will be on the England number one to see how he copes.

A win against Manchester United always sounds great whatever the circumstances but with The Red Devils looking a complete mess right now it may be the best time to play them.

From years gone by Everton have often struggled only beating United once in the past five years but there has always been classics most notably the 4-4 back in 2012.

Another game of that type would be fantastic for neutral viewing but would not be so great for supporters of either side.

Manchester United look there for the taking and have done all season but the thing is in the past two games so have Everton.

The Toffees have looked lethargic and dull with no spark especially against Newcastle United.

So the hope is that James Rodriguez and Lucas Digne can bring back that energy and creativity when they return to the team but with Richarlison still out due to suspension the lack of pace on the flanks will prove to be a problem as it did in the past two games.

Everton cannot rely on individuals to make a difference; they have to win as a team and show they are capable of upsetting the big boys which they have done already this season drawing with Liverpool.

It may be too far to call it a must win game for Everton but it is essential that they put in a good performance and leave everything out there on the field, that is what the Goodison Park crowd would demand from them if they could attend.

It is a must win game for Manchester United though which could play into Ancelotti’s hands due to his experience being miles ahead of Solskjaer who may once and for all ruin his reputation this weekend.

It is impossible to declare a favourite and that is the beauty of it.

Saturday lunch time kick off, lockdown isn’t great but at least the footie is on ay.

Written by Elliot Thompson

READ MORE: Everton partner Cazoo Pledges Up To £50,000 Support For Everton in the Community

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