Manchester United take on Everton this weekend looking to start building up a run of victories.
Wins over Tottenham and Manchester City were great, but they will count for nothing if United can’t beat sides at the lower end of the table.
Despite Everton’s ambition to be a top six side, they are a long way off that right now. They have had a poor start to the season which has left them down in 14th place.
Duncan Ferguson is in caretaker charge and he led them to a win over Chelsea last week, so United can’t underestimate them.
Nearly full strength
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a nearly full squad to choose from. Paul Pogba remains an absentee with injury, but we have become accustomed to dealing with this by now.
Jesse Lingard is an injury doubt although Solskjaer told the club website he is ‘hopeful’ the attacker may be available.
Deciding over Lingard is one of the biggest dilemmas United have. There should not be any urgency to rush him back and risking further injury, considering the amount of fixtures United have in the second half of December.
Both Andreas Pereira and Juan Mata made strong cases for selection in the second half against AZ Alkmaar.
If Lingard isn’t ready to go, we would expect Pereira gets the edge as his energy and combative style is closest to what Lingard can bring, and could be suited for a physical contest with Everton.
What are the other decisions facing Solskjaer?
A lot of the team picks itself. David de Gea in goal, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelöf, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back.
Brandon Williams made a good case for left-back at the weekend but Luke Shaw is rested and will likely get a second successive Premier League start.
The midfield of Fred and Scott McTominay has become United’s first choice and they will both be back in after missing the Alkmaar game.
Marcus Rashford is undroppable, but there are questions over Anthony Martial after he was outplayed by Mason Greenwood in midweek.
Solskjaer’s decision to withdraw Martial after 58 minutes against Alkmaar indicates he plays to play the Frenchman this weekend.
Dan James is also rested and will likely start on the right, although there is also a case to select Greenwood here if not up front.
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