The win against Basel has settled in and preparations for the Everton match are now in full swing. Manchester United are preparing for the Toffees as clubs all over the continent start their full European campaign.
It is a nice reminder. Manchester United are back at Carrington, spending time on the pitch preparing for their next rival. They are not travelling to some distant country for a Europa League match. This season things are different. Europa League is now simply a trophy in the trophy cabinet in Manchester and team is now onto bigger things.
Champions League is now on the plate and the 3-0 win over Basel was a good start. Next up is Ronald Koeman’s side.
Manchester United will most certainly miss Paul Pogba. After a pulled hamstring early into the Basel match, the Frenchman had to come off. It was confirmed he will miss at least four weeks due to injury. Match against Everton will be the first of many Pogba will not play in and Man United need to get used to that fast.
The whole team was supposed to be built around Pogba’s (attacking) qualities and now that will have to wait. Jose Mourinho will have to think of different solutions. He could opt for Marouane Fellaini after a strong performance on Tuesday. The Belgian also offers physical presence and height, something Mourinho is very keen on keeping. Other players – like Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata – will bring the needed creativity.
With Everton coming to Old Trafford, Manchester United will know how to get three points. After all, Tottenham have shown last Saturday how to break down Everton. The Toffeees were unimpressive.
Their front four of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Rooney, Davy Klassen and Sandro Ramirez was very slow and unimaginative. The lack of pace was obvious and against top defences it is hard to make something happen. To be precise, Tottenham and Manchester United were the two of the best defences last season.
Everton are still in the process of creating a new team. Many players have arrived just this summer and they need time. Manchester United are better in every department, but the pace and agility should really make a difference for the Reds.
Crunching Manchester United Numbers
Looking at advanced statistics, Manchester United ‘outscored’ all four Premier League rivals this season in expected goals. The draw against Stoke was, therefore, a slip up. Yet, this is Premier League and things like that happen.
Manchester United scored 12 goals when they were expected to score 11. On the other hand, just two goals conceded is also great achievement, as xG for goals conceded amounted to three goals in four matches.
In other words, Man United scored more and conceded less than expected in those four matches. Last season, Man United scored 54 goals when they were expected to score 60. See the difference?
Manchester United have won 18 duels per match so far this season, which ranks them seventh in the league. However, teams better than the Reds are Burnley, Huddersfield, West Ham, Stoke, Watford and Swansea.
This shows us Man United can change playing styles more than any other team. They can play in the air, but also on the ground, as only Man City have a better pass completion ratio. Mixture of pace, creativity, strength and height should be enough to coast past Everton on Sunday.