The Red Devils rose back into the top four of the table with a 1-0 win over Brentford on Wednesday, while the Toffees remain above the dotted line thanks to a 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Monday.
Having left St James’ Park feeling deflated and down in the dumps, Erik ten Hag got exactly the response he was after during the visit of Brentford, as Man United quickly consigned defeat to Newcastle United to history with a narrow triumph over the Bees.
Marcus Rashford’s half-volley into the roof of the net was all that was needed to separate the two sides, although the Red Devils were once again indebted to David de Gea, who made a crucial stop one-on-one with Kevin Schade to deny the Bees a slice of the spoils.
By quickly returning to winning ways, Man United rose back above Tottenham into the Champions League places – currently sitting fourth and level on points with Newcastle, who possess a far superior goal difference – while Spurs are three points worse off having played a game more.
The Red Devils’ Champions League destiny therefore remains firmly in their own hands as they continue to fight for success on three fronts – next Thursday will see Sevilla visit Old Trafford for the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final – and the Theatre of Dreams has served up plenty of stellar performances from Ten Hag’s men in recent memory.
Indeed, Man United have not lost in 23 successive matches on home soil since a 1-0 reverse to Real Sociedad back in September – a run which includes 13 Premier League games without defeat at Old Trafford – and Ten Hag’s side can proudly boast three clean sheets from their last three contests in front of the home faithful.
Even with 10 men on the field after Abdoulaye Doucoure inexcusably clawed Harry Kane – who soon opened the scoring from 12 yards – in the face, Everton always looked the more likely to score the game’s second goal against Cristian Stellini’s Tottenham, who enjoyed no shred of a new manager bounce whatsoever.
The dismissal of Lucas Moura only six minutes after his introduction was just what the doctor ordered for Everton, as Michael Keane – who was on the end of the Brazilian’s red card-worthy challenge – unleashed a 90th-minute thunderbolt into the far corner after the Spurs defence just kept backing off.
Claiming one win and three draws from meetings with Nottingham Forest, Brentford, Chelsea and Tottenham is certainly something to write home about for Sean Dyche, whose Everton side are clear of danger in 16th for the time being, but they are one of four sides boasting 27 points alongside Forest, West Ham United and 18th-placed Bournemouth.
Mired in one of the most unpredictable Premier League relegation battles in recent memory, Everton are yet to experience a dramatic change in fortunes on the road under Dyche, having now gone 10 top-flight games without victory away from home and conceding at least twice in each of their last five such matches.
Prior to the start of the 2022-23 season, Everton had avoided defeat in three successive games with Man United, but the Red Devils have already put the Toffees to the sword twice this term – a 2-1 win at Goodison preceded a 3-1 FA Cup third-round success in Manchester three months ago.
Manchester United Premier League form:
Manchester United form (all competitions):
Everton Premier League form:
We say: Manchester United 1-0 Everton
Potentially setting up to frustrate Man United in a defence-heavy formation – especially considering their propensity to concede goals on the road – Dyche’s Evertonian battlers can do exactly that against a fatigued Red Devils team.
However, for all of their worthwhile work at Goodison, Everton just cannot find the recipe for success on rival turf, and a Man United side who seldom give much away at Old Trafford can edge another low-scoring battle to strengthen their bid for a top-four finish.