Saturday, February 20, 2010

Keeping up the pressure

Man United travel to Goodison Park this weekend for what promises to be a hot reception for Everton old boy Wayne Rooney.

Rooney may be England's darling at the moment, but Evertonians are not likely to greet him with much enthusiasm, to put it mildly. He may have left them years ago, but the Everton fans are still not liking it one bit.

Rooney may have been a top player even as a young lad with Everton, but there is no denying he has improved tremendously as a Red Devil. Look to him again to be among the scorers. After all, he tends to cherish a fight when the chips are down, and the ribbing he is sure to get from Everton fans is sure to fire him up.

Nani and Ferdinand are both suspended, while Giggs is still out with a broken arm, but the good news is that Vidic is available to play his first game of 2010. Nani's replacement is likely to be Valencia, who proved just what a good wide man he can be against AC Milan, setting up the second goal for, who else, Rooney.

Anderson is also in the running for a shot at the first team. After spending some time on the sidelines for going AWOL a short while back, Ando is expected to be in the squad for the trip to the blue half of Liverpool, or so the news coming out of Old Trafford seem to indicate. Not sure I want him in the team, though, since I think Fletcher, Scholes, Carrick, Gibson and Park have been doing a fine job.

I expect Fergie to employ a five-man midfield again, with Park and Valencia playing wide and Rooney, of course, being the lone striker. The middle of the field, however, is anyone's guess although I would probably go for Scholes, Fletcher and Carrick, with young Gibson on the bench.

The backline seems to change in every game so it's anyone's guess who will be on the pitch at the start of festivities, although one player who will feature for sure would be Evra.

Everton will definitely pose a problem. They are strong at home and David Moyes is a shrewd manager. After all, he is one of Fergie's favourites, and that says a lot.

MU old hand Saha is always a handful. I always did like him, but couldn't stand the fact that he was injured so often. Arteta, if he plays, will be another one to watch, as will Pienaar, who has been playing really well of late.

Missing from the lineup will be two of the more dangerous players, he of the wild hair, Fellaini, and more importantly, Cahill. The latter came away injured from the Toffees' Europa League match against Sporting Lisbon and is expected to be out for three weeks.

I still fancy another win for United, which will see them leapfrog over Chelsea, even if only for two hours or so. Chelsea are away to Wolves and I don't see them dropping points there, although you never can quite tell these days.

Whatever it is, United need to keep up the pressure on Chelsea so they will definitely be going for a win here. What am I saying? Does MU ever not go for a win?

The tarot cards say: Everton 1 MU 3

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