Everton v Manchester United
Sunday April 21, 13:30
Live on Sky Sports
Everton look to extend fine home run
Everton's 2-0 defeat at Craven Cottage last weekend was a baffling result. Already relegated Fulham had lost nine Premier League matches in-a-row and it was new manager Scott Parker's first win. It's often the case that a team enjoys a slight upturn in fortunes once their inevitable relegation is confirmed mathematically but given Everton had won their previous three – at home to Chelsea and Arsenal, and away at West Ham, it was very surprising to see them offer so little and their 2-0 defeat was quite a shock.
It hasn't been a terrific first season for Marco Silva, and it's noticeable how surprisingly poor the Toffees have been at Goodison Park this term. It's one thing being beaten by the likes of Manchester City and Spurs at home but defeats to West Ham, Leicester and Wolves will have been a big disappointment to Evertonians given how much of a fortress Goodison is most seasons.
Everton won just one in eight Premier League home games (Bournemouth 2-0) throughout December, January and early Feb but things have improved considerably of late. Since losing back-to-back home games to Wolves and Manchester City in early February, the Toffees haven't been beaten at Goodison and they've kept three clean sheets in-a-row and against three of the top-six – drawing nil-nil with league leaders, Liverpool, before beating Chelsea and Arsenal to nil.
Top four finish a bridge too far for Solskjaer's side?
Jose Mourinho's replacement, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, was supposed to be a temporary appointment, with a decision on his future to be made at the end of the season but after a very encouraging run of results, the board decided to call it early and despite a 2-0 defeat away at Arsenal in the Premier League and elimination from the FA Cup at the hands of Wolves the following week, Solskjaer was given a three-year contract at Old Trafford on March 28. A decision that is starting to look a little bit suspect…
Since the appointment was made permanent, United have been largely poor. An unconvincing 2-1 home win against Watford was followed by a 2-1 defeat to Wolves (this time in the Premier League) and in-between two defeat to Barcelona, to see them eliminated from the Champions League, they did manage to beat West Ham at home last Saturday evening but they were lucky to take the points.
Despite their 2-1 win against the Hammers last week, United have drifted from [3.8] to [4.0] in the top four finish market and given their next two games after this one are against Manchester City and Chelsea, they look far from certain to be playing in the Champions League next season.
The historical stats don't look great for the home side. Everton have lost more Premier League matches against Manchester United than they have against any other club – 36 in total – and Manchester United are undefeated in their last eight in all competitions against the Toffees. The Red Devils have won six times against them since losing 3-0 at Goodison Park four years ago and they won the reverse fixture at Old Trafford 2-1 at the end of October.
Historical stats are of some value but anyone that watched United labour against a very ordinary West Ham team last week won't be in a hurry to back them here at less than 6/4 and I'm more than happy to oppose them.
United have won just two of their last seven in all competitions and both of those home wins, against Watford and West Ham, were extremely unimpressive. Having been beaten by Arsenal and Wolves in their last two games on the road, Solskjaer's sorry side are looking to avoid three consecutive Premier League away losses for the first time since 1996 but Everton are value at [3.40] to inflict a third in-a-row.
The suspension of the in-form Andre Gomes is a blow for the home side but it's not a big enough negative to put me off. If United's performance mirrors last weekend's they'll leave Goodison with precisely nothing and they look worth taking on.
Prolific Red Devils odds-on to score again
Manchester United games tend to produce an abundance of goals and 76% of their Premier League matches this season have seen three or more scored. Slightly more goals go in at Old Trafford but the percentage only drops to 71% if we look at United away games only and that's why Over 2 ½ in the Over/Under 2 ½ Goals market is trading at odds-on but it's not clear cut.
In stark contrast to the visitors, Everton games produce less than three goals more often than not and only 47% of their matches have produced three or more this season, but that percentage drops to only 41% at Goodison Park. They haven't conceded in any of their last three at home and they don't score many either.
With United in such poor form, and with Everton likely to keep things tight again, odds-on about Over 2 ½ looks short enough but I'm in no rush to lay it.
Yes is odds-on in the Both Teams to Score market too and again, that's largely due to United's past results rather than Everton's. Both teams have scored in 73% of Premier League games involving the Red Devils whereas only 47% of Everton games see both sides score. Yes is trading at around [1.75] and that doesn't look out of line but the industry-best of 5/1 with the Sportsbook about Everton to win and both teams to score looks a far more attractive option.
Same Game Multi
If you fancy combining two or more scenarios to build a bet that pays handsomely, click on the Same Game Multi tab at the top of the Sportsbook market and pick two or more selections to build a wager. For example, Everton to win and Gylfi Sigurdsson to score in his fifth goal against United pays £6.65 for £1 stake.