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Lee Dixon: United to struggle at the hands of determined Everton

Javier Hernandez is is 'a real danger '

"The Toffees are very hard to beat and will fight United every inch of the way. Moyes' team rarely lose, as Opta tell us: they have been defeated just once in their last 13 league games, winning five."

Back the draw @ 4.03/1

Everton rocked Manchester United in this fixture last year, coming back from the dead to land an outrageous point. There won't be as much drama this time round but the Toffees are still good for the stalemate, says Lee Dixon...

Last season's unbelievable 4-4 draw is impossible to forget ahead of Sunday's late kick-off in the Premier League.

We'll all be thinking about it and you can be sure both managers will have reminded their players about it. David Moyes will use it to inspire his troops while Sir Alex Ferguson won't let his players forget how they 'blew it' in a game which came as a massive blow to their title hopes. 

That eight-goal thriller was United's 35th of the 2011-12 campaign and they went into it six points clear of eventual champions Manchester City. The Reds hold a nine point advantage over City ahead of this game - their 26th of the campaign - and are trading at 1.141/7 to win the Premier League, so can Everton shock United again?

I really think they can. The Toffees are very hard to beat and will fight United every inch of the way. Moyes' team rarely lose, as Opta tell us: they have been defeated just once in their last 13 league games, winning five. Longer term, they have lost just two matches on their travels so we know they'll be dogged and competitive. They always are.   

Of course you have to question whether it will be enough. United are in the middle of their best season in Premier League history with 62 points accrued so far. They're priced at 1.768/11 to win on Sunday and given their phenomenal record this year, and with wins in 11 of their last 13, those will look like very generous odds to some. Others see chinks in their armour and will be tempted to lay it. I'm in the latter camp but will chance bigger odds with a back of the draw. 

Fergie will doubtless have one eye on the Champions League fixture with Real Madrid next Wednesday and may rest one or two big names - will he definitely risk Robin van Persie for instance? If he doesn't, I'm sure Sir Alex will deploy Javier Hernandez upfront. The Mexican is a real danger and I'd be tempted to back him to score should he make the XI. 

Everton are well in the top-four mix and will fight hard to achieve that goal. No-one typifies their attitude more than Marouanne Fellani, who rescued the Toffees from a dire position last weekend with two goals. A blistering start had slowed up in recent weeks but the Belgian was impressive against Villa and, having scored at Old Trafford last year, we know he won't be overawed. I can see Fellaini doing some damage from a set piece and will chance a small bet on him to score. 

Recommended Bets 
Back the draw @ 4.03/1
Back Fellani to score @ 4.03/1 (if he starts)
Back Hernandez to score @ 3.02/1 (if he starts) 

The Betfair's Trader's View: Alan Thompson

Manchester United have won all but one game at Old Trafford this season (2-3 Tottenham) and I was surprised to see them priced at around 1.76 to win this, I had them at 1.57 (4/7) against an Everton side who have only kept two clean sheets on the road and have only played away once to a side occupying a top seven position in the league (1-1 Man City).
United have scored at least twice in all but one home game this season though they have only managed to keep three clean sheets. Because of this, their home games are averaging 3.92 goals per game and 83% of their home games have gone over 2.5 goals.
I will be backing Manchester United in the match odds market @ 1.76. I will also be backing over 3.5 goals but asking for a price of 3.0 to be matched in-play, with a saver bet on Manchester United 2-1 @ 9.0.

The Tactical View: Michael Cox

Everton have given Manchester United significant problems in recent seasons. They produced a miraculous comeback to draw 4-4 at Old Trafford last year, and recorded a deserved, controlled victory over United on the opening weekend of the season. They'll be a big goal threat, with Marouane Fellaini's aerial threat likely to be a factor, especially against a goalkeeper perceived to be weak on crosses.
United have kept just three clean sheets in 12 home league games this season, so [1.7] for both sides to score seems a good price.

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09 February 2013

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