Media conjecture has David Moyes fighting to save his Manchester United career so while the Red Devils have all but given up hope of reaching the top four there is plenty at stake as the Scot heads back to Goodison Park.
The Toffees have unexpectedly improved since Moyes departed and could well find themselves two points clear of Arsenal in fourth by the time United roll into town.
United are billed as 19/10 underdogs to dent the Toffees’ Champions League push and this highlights how far the champions have fallen under the Scot, with the Old Trafford side winning nine and losing just two of the last 15 encounters with Everton.
The Toffees’ two victories in that run, however, have come in the last three meetings and that explains their billing as 11/8 favourites to get one over their old boss.
Everton approach this game in great form, having won seven matches on the bounce going into tonight’s Crystal Palace fixture, and they will be confident of improving their top four chances against United after losing just one of 25 at Goodison at the time of writing.
However, while United have bitterly disappointed this term, the fact that Moyes has it all to prove and that his side are riding the crest of a mini-wave means the visitors are the value pick here.
The nine wins from 15 meetings ensure that United go into this tie with a semblance of belief but it is their results since losing to Manchester City in the league that point to a team in confident mood.
Eight goals in two games against Aston Villa and Newcastle have highlighted how well the Red Devils’ front line can play and with Juan Mata looking like his former Chelsea self since breaking his United duck Everton will have their work cut out.
Everton displayed their ability to win big games in the 3-0 hatchet job they did on Arsenal but most of their players – and manager Roberto Martinez – are in unchartered waters in pursuit of Europe’s top table.
This pressure, United’s mini-revival and the fact the Red Devils boast the best away record in the league should result in a hugely-damaging loss for the Blue half of Merseyside.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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