Manchester United players

Everton versus Manchester United has proved an eye-catching Premier League fixture down the years. 

This weekend’s fixture is taking on greater importance this season, firstly because of the commanding form Everton showed in the first weeks of the season, and the intense pressure United are under at the moment. 

Everton are 11 places and six points ahead of the record English Champions.

The early leaders of the Premier League have tailed off after an encouraging draw in the Merseyside Derby with successive away defeats to Southampton and Newcastle. Yet that was due to injuries and suspension to many key players. However, Lucas Digne and James Rodríguez are back against United

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The Red Devils have had a tense season, picking up seven points in six games and only one point from four at home. Their strong form in the Champions League dissipated this week as their inability to break down weaker opponents reared its ugly head in a lacklustre defeat to İstanbul Başakşehir.

Tactical shortcomings have been compounded by a lack of depth of options to frustrate fans and ex-players.

The pressure is mounting on Ole Gunnar Soskjaer, particularly as Mauricio Pochettino is unemployed and has been duly linked in recent days.

The Everton game may be a test of character for the players, but it should be a test of dynamism for the manager. Hence, will Ole make a tactical switch to avoid a third straight defeat?

Throw the kitchen sink

Man United have used a midfield diamond in recent weeks in a bid to field their array of midfielders as well as allow Rashford and Martial to attack spaces as a strike partnership. It worked in a breathless late rally against RB Leipzig but failed miserably against Arsenal who stifled the centre.

Edinson Cavani
Time to unleash Edinson Cavani.

Perhaps it is time to bring in a specialist centre-forward who Rashford and Martial can play off. Although United famously failed to recruit a quality right winger over the summer, new signing Edinson Cavani must be deployed up top. Freeing up Rashford to work the spaces.

That would mean Anthony Martial is benched having scored twice in the Champions League during his now-expired domestic ban. It can work a treat as Cavani is a world-class goalscorer who has had little game time to improve his fitness. PSG’s record goalscorer will give United a focal point in attack which will resonate right across the team.

Bizarrely, neither Odion Ighalo nor Cavani, the only pure strikers in the squad, have a league start for United in 2020.

Instead, Ole prefers pacy attackers who have fluidity when attacking on the counter. When faced with opponents who allow them possession, they lack conviction in a crowded penalty area.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Will Solskjaer be bold enough to change tactics?

Although the favoured approach proved successful in the second half of last season as they clinched third place. Opponents learn quickly and the team needs a different approach for different opponents. 

Underwhelming summer recruitment or not, Solskjaer must use his squad wildcards now.

Should another disappointing performance follow at Goodison Park, it would be a long International break for Ole


Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.

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