Everton vs. Manchester United - England Premier League, Goodison Park, England 3 PM EST Monday August 20, 2012
By Jason Green, Soccer Handicapper, Predictem.com
Match Odds: Everton 4.20.50 / Manchester United 1.85 / Draw 3.60
Moneyline: Everton +320 / Manchester United -118 / Draw +260
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
The England Premier League is starting this weekend and in the late Monday match Everton hosts Manchester United. Man U came close last season to capturing their 20th EPL title, but barely lost out to cross town rival Manchester City.
This season Man U has a great shot to win the EPT title and they made a BIG move recently signing Robin Van Persie, who led the EPL in goals last season. He along with Wayne Rooney, who was 2nd in the EPL in goals scored last season, will give the Red Devils an offense that may be tough to stop.
Everton has been the model if consistency in the last few years, as in the last 5 seasons they have finished from 5th to 8th in the league table. They have a good defense, but in the last few years they have got off to a sluggish start and they look to avoid that this season by beating Manchester United in their opening league match.
One of the big issues for Everton heading into the season is their midfield. Both Tim Cahill and Jack Rodwell are both gone and those losses may really hurt.
Striker Nikica Jelavic came to Everton from Rangers in the middle of last season and he really provided a spark scoring 9 goals in 13 matches. He ended up as the goal-scoring leader for Everton and he will be counted on to lead the offense and he may have to since no other player for the club scored more than 5 goals last season.
With their losses in the MF 18-year old Everton MF Ross Barkley may get on the field right off the bat and the kid has a ton of potential, but how will he play facing Man U and their solid defense. He is a good player, but I see him struggling in this match and the offensive minded midfielder will not score or set up an assist.
When these 2 teams met last season Everton lost 1-0 at home, but later in the season at Old Trafford the teams played to a draw in a 4-3 shootout.
The Man U defense struggled at times last season and the main reason was injuries. DF Rio Ferdinand is now healthy and he will be the key to the back line.
Everton G Tim Howard will really be tested in this game, but I think he will play well. He will not keep a clean sheet facing the awesome new Man U offense, but he will not give up more than 2 goals.
Man U had their issues in the midfield last season and it is not good that to begin the season MF Darren Fletcher is injured and will likely not play in this match. Ryan Giggs has to step up and the other midfielders have to feed Van Persie and Rooney giving them scoring chances.
Everton Recent Form
7/19/2012 Dundee United 1 Everton 0 (Friendly)
7/21/2012 Motherwell 1 Everton 1 (Friendly)
8/5/2012 Blackpool 0 Everton 2 (Friendly)
8/8/2012 Everton 4 AEK Athens 1 (Friendly)
8/11/2012 Malaga 0 Everton 1 (Friendly)
Manchester United Recent Form
7/21/2012 Ajax Cape Town 1 Manchester United 1 (MTN Football Invitational)
7/25/2012 Shanghai Shenhua 0 Manchester United 1 (Chevrolet China Cup)
8/5/2012 Valerenga 0 Manchester United 0 (Friendly)
8/8/2012 Barcelona 0 Manchester United 0 (Friendly)
8/11//2012 Hannover 96 3 Manchester United 4 (Chevrolet Cup)
Jason’s Pick to Win: Everton has the defense and they are home and while Rooney and Van Persie form a formidable tandem up front I think this will be a low scoring match. Man U simply has too much talent and I think their defense will keep Everton from scoring and Man U will squeak a goal in the 2nd half.