Manchester United v Everton –23 April – Old Trafford (13:45)
Manchester United may have been defeated by bitter rivals Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday, but Sir Alex Ferguson must have sat down with a fine wine and a smirk on his face Sunday night.
Despite not kicking a ball in the Premier League last weekend, with their match against Newcastle scheduled for Tuesday night, Manchester United find themselves six points clear at the top of the table with the title in their own hands. It has been Arsenal that have been Manchester United’s biggest title rivals for the majority of the season, but their somewhat weak challenge all but ended Saturday after they drew 1-1 with Liverpool at the Emirates. Arsenal enjoyed most of the possession, had most of the chances, but could not find the net until the 92nd minute when Robin van Persie struck home a penalty. It should have been the winner but Emmanuel Eboue was clumsy in his tackle on Lucas Leiva in the Arsenal penalty area, and Dirk Kuyt duly stepped up in the last kick of the game to give the Reds a share of the points. However United still have some tough matches to play that they could easily drop points in. They still have to host Chelsea, travel to the Emirates to play Arsenal and host and host an Everton side this weekend that have moved up the table after some great form and are on a 7 match unbeaten run. Ex Everton player Wayne Rooney will come back into the team after serving a two match suspension and will no doubt want to continue his recent form against the club he now hates. United still keep their unbeaten home record at Old Trafford and have an amazing statistic of scoring 42 goals and conceding 9 at home in 16 matches.
Everton find themselves in 7th place, just 2 points off rivals Liverpool after some fantastic form. Leon Osman continued in his role as Everton’s new talisman to stretch their unbeaten run to seven matches when they beat Blackburn 2-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday. Osman has stepped up to the plate since Everton star Tim Cahill has been out injured but is likely to be playing alongside the Australian in this match as Tim Cahill will be welcomed back from injury. It will be a big boost for the Toffee’s as Cahill has proved a player for the big occasion. They have a quality team and two solid central defenders in Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin with one of the best left backs in the league playing with them, Leighton baines. They are a side that are able to mix it up with the bigger teams in the Premier League and drew the first round match 3-3 with United.