The slow march to the end of what appears to be another disappointing Premier League season for Everton continues this weekend against Manchester United. While Everton's FA Cup run has been a delight for supporters, their league form has been inconsistent at best and dreadful at worst. The Toffees currently sit in 12th place behind West Brom and just above the recently promoted likes of Watford and Bournemouth.
Everton have had two weeks to rest and prepare for this weekend's match, and will not see much rest for the next few weeks. Ahead of them lies a brutal month ending with a Merseyside Derby and the FA Cup semi-final. There will be very little time for rest in between those matches, so it is imperative that Roberto Martinez properly manage his squad for the rough road ahead.
Adding on to the already tough month ahead, there have been the comments from Romelu Lukaku regarding his departure this summer and the imminent rumors that followed. While his comments may have been either inappropriate or poorly timed, Lukaku will need to be at his best for Everton if they wish to finish strong and climb the table.
Everton will be facing the equally besieged Manchester United and their under-fire manager Louis Van Gaal. Van Gaal and United have faced a rough up and down season that has seen them go form near league leaders to being in danger of missing out on European football. They currently sit in 6th but are tied with West Ham on points.
While United have defensively stout during large portions of the season, they have suffered numerous injuries that have hampered Van Gaal's ability to put his best squad out on the field. However, these injuries have allowed for the emergence of a number of talented youngsters, namely Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard, who have come up big for United.
Everton's injury woes seemed to have dissipated, at least for the time being. The only players listed on the injury report on the team's website are Tony Hibbert and Tyias Browning, both of whom are not expected to play for the remainder of the year.
Gareth Barry will again miss this week's game due to suspension, but will be available for selection the following week against Watford.
Manchester United on the other hand are still inundated with injuries as Bastian Schweinsteiger, Wayne Rooney and possibly Ander Herrera will miss this week's match. Even with these injuries Everton still face a tough test and will surely be looking for revenge after their 3-0 defeat to United earlier in the season.
The Final Word
Making predictions is always tough, and it's even more difficult given Everton's inconsistent nature this season.
This Manchester Untied squad is missing enough key players that on paper, Everton should be able to take advantage and come away with all three points.
Hopefully the Everton squad that we have seen in the FA Cup comes to play this weekend.
Predicted Starting XI: Robles, Baines, Funes Mori, Jagielka, Coleman, Besic, McCarthy, Cleverley, Barkley, Deulofeu, Lukaku