3 Key Battles (Everton vs Manchester United): Barkley vs Schneiderlin And More

Everton vs Manchester United: 3 Key Battles

Manchester United will be looking to bounce back after a shocking 3-0 defeat at the hands of Arsenal. However, Goodison Park is not the easiest of places to go and not many teams know that better than United. A shambolic performance last season ensured United slumped to a 3-0 defeat on their visit to Merseyside. Despite the loss at the Emirates, United are third on the table, behind Arsenal only on goal difference. The atmosphere at Goodison is always special when United come visiting and it seems like we might be in for a cracker.

United received some welcome news on the injury front. Rooney, Carrick and Schweinsteiger were declared fit even though they missed their internationals with injuries. With McNair adding to the list of injured defenders, the return of Rojo is great news for LVG. Herrera who missed the last few games with a muscle injury is also back in the squad giving United another option in midfield.

Ahead of the anticipated clash, we look at three key battles that could decide the game.

  1. Chris Smalling vs Romelu Lukaku

Chris Smalling has been one of United’s players of the season so far. Saving them on more than one occasion with a last ditch tackle; Smalling has been an absolute rock at the heart of United’s defence. However, it’s not going to be easy against Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian striker has scored 5 goals in 8 league appearances so far this season, including 3 in his last two. Smalling’s aerial ability will be put to the test as Lukaku has been involved in 6.6 aerial duels per game. Not only that, Lukaku is a strong player and he will test Smalling’s physicality. One of the reasons the United’s man has been more successful this season is his aggressive approach. Smalling has become a leader in defence and this going to be an intriguing battle.

 

  1. Ross Barkley vs Morgan Schneiderlin

Ross Barkley seems to have shaken that ‘second season syndrome’ and gotten off to a very good start. He’s a crucial player as Everton look to break on the counter. 30% of Everton’s attacks come from centre of the pitch and 49.6% of their key passes from central areas. Both he and Lukaku together have scored or assisted 10 Everton’s 12 goals this season. He continued his great form in the International break scoring in England’s qualifier versus Lithuania.

Schneiderlin along with Carrick gives added protection to the back four. The problem with Bastian against Arsenal was that he would go too far forward and leave too many gaps for their midfield to exploit. He and Carrick have won all 5 games they’ve started together and his stopping Barkley from running the game could be pivotal.

 

  1. Memphis Depay vs Seamus Coleman

Memphis has been one of United’s worst players this season and with the injury to Luke Shaw, United’s left side has suffered. However, he is the man United will look for, for some creativity and flair. Seamus Coleman has had a meteoric rise in the last few seasons becoming one of the best full-backs in the league. With Mata always looking to cut inside, most of the width will come from United’s left. Not only that, Coleman is an attacking full-back and with United having a make-shift left back, he will look to take his chances. Memphis will have to fall back and help his defenders.