Matchday Preview: Everton v. Manchester United
Where: Everton’s Goodison Park, Liverpool
What time: 3:00 pm EST
Where to watch: ESPN2 and ESPN3.com
Manchester United begins their 2012/13 season with a trip to Goodison Park to take on Everton. This matchup almost always has the threat of a speed bump for United. David Moyes has always done well to do a lot with the little amount of funds at his disposal and this season shouldn’t be any different. While he may have lost Tim Cahill, James McFadden, Jack Rodwell and Joao Silva, I’m sure he still has a plan. This plan will certainly include new arrival Kevin Mirallas, unfortunately he will not be available to play in Monday’s game. Moyes was able to bring back Steven Pienaar and picked up striker Steven Naismith. Naismith and Jelavic will most likely partner as Everton’s strike team with both players scoring 9 goals apiece last season (Naismith for Glasgow Rangers of the Scottish Premier League).
United goes into Monday’s match having sealed the purchase of striker Robin van Persie. This adds a fourth striker to the United lineup alongside Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, and Danny Welbeck. While everyone continues to speculate about the future of Chicharito (Hernandez), I am of the opinion that Sir Alex has not plan to sell him and will encourage the 4 strikers to push each other in training for starting positions. As he has re-iterated, the 1999 Treble winning team also had 4 premier strikers. United’s strong midfield was made stronger by the addition of Shinji Kagawa who should bring a new dynamic to United that was missing last season, namely, a playmaker. For the match United has several injury concerns in defense with defender Rio Ferdinand added to the list (out due to a groin injury) along with Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, and Jonny Evans. This means that Michael Carrick will most likely line up with Nemanja Vidic in central defense with Vidic making his return his picking up an injury last December.
My prediction is a 3-1 win for Manchester United to start the season. While Everton are always a tough team to play against, especially at Goodison, United’s attacking will inevitably break them down.