Everton and Manchester United lock horns in the quarterfinal of the EFL Cup later today. The two sides have been in good form in the 2020-21 season and will look to pip one another for a spot in the semi-finals of the competition.
Manchester United were underwhelming in the opening weeks of the season, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have recovered well and put themselves in a position to challenge for the Premier League title. The Toffees, on the other hand, have also impressed after a fantastic transfer window, as they find themselves occupying fourth spot in the league standings.
Carlo Ancelotti's side have gone toe to toe with some of the best sides in the country and secured positive results in what has been an encouraging campaign at Goodison Park. The Italian manager, however, admitted that beating Manchester United is a massive challenge and singled out Portuguese talisman Bruno Fernandes as the danger man.
“I learned [in the league game] that if you give him space, we are dead. We have to avoid leaving spaces. Fernandes is a fantastic player, he is the key to United right now and we have to be vigilant."
Everton will look to neutralize Fernandes' threat against Manchester United
Everton and Manchester United met in the Premier League at Goodison Park earlier this season, with the Red Devils recording a memorable 3-1 victory in November. Fernandes was once again the star of the show, as he notched up two goals and an assist to put Everton to the sword.
Manchester United could once again turn to their talisman to provide them with a moment of magic, as the Portuguese midfielder continues to take English football by storm.
Solskjaer, however, could be tempted to give his talisman a much-needed break, with a crucial Premier League encounter against Leicester City on the horizon. Several players on the fringes of the Red Devils squad could be chosen in the starting XI, with the likes of Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Odion Ighalo all likely to feature at some point in the game.
Nevertheless, Manchester United are in a rich vein of form and should record another victory away from home.
Prediction: Everton 1-2 Manchester United
Published 23 Dec 2020, 20:30 IST