It’s back to the business of Premier League football for José Mourinho and Ronald Koeman, whose sides meet later today at Old Trafford after their midweek matches in Europe.
Manchester United faced and defeated Swiss side, Basel 3-0 in the opening game of the Champions League, while Everton were at the receiving end of a similar scoreline in the Europa League, after Italian side, Atalanta brushed them aside.
United had been flying in the league, having won three in three games, scoring ten goals while conceding none before they were halted last weekend during their visit to the Bet365 stadium.
Two goals from Eric Maxim Chupo-Moting denied the Red Devils am three points, ending their perfect start to the campaign.
For the Toffees, they were thrashed 0-3 by a Harry Kane inspired Tottenham at Goodison.
However, despite the contrasting forms of both teams, Everton travel to Old Trafford knowing that in Koeman, they have a manager Mourinho has struggled against.
The Dutchman has faced Mourinho more times than any other manager- 5- in the league with the Portuguese yet to win any.
But can the former Chelsea boss finally be able to get a result against Koeman or we are to see another frustrating day for Mourinho and his team against the Dutchman?
While both managers will be looking to get one over the other, the story of this game is undoubtedly surrounding the return of Wayne Rooney, Man Utd’s all-time top scorer, with 253 goals.
The ex-Red Devil, who spent 13 fruitful years at OT before going back to his boyhood team, comes to town hoping to help the Blues shoot down the Devils.
The Red Devils are smarting from their 3-0 defeat of Basel in midweek, responding to their disappointing draw at Stoke City days earlier.
For the Toffees, they really do need a response following two consecutive 3-0 losses suffered against Tottenham and Atalanta and what better ground and occasion to do so than OT, where Wayne Rooney makes a much awaited return since he left in the summer?
Player to Watch
United- Romelu Lukaku: Facing his former employers for the first time since his £75m switch in the summer, the Belgian will be looking to continue his impressive form which has seen him score four in four PL games for his new club.
Everton- Gyifi Sigurdsson: With six goals contributed in his six outings against United, the Iceland international will surely be one man Koeman has to look up to to produce the goods once again at OT, where he also scored in his last visit in the 1-1 draw while at Swansea.
The home side are expected to be without talented midfielder, Paul Pogba, who limped off the pitch during United’s midweek win against Basel in the CL.
United will also be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who continues his rehabilitation for, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw are also out, while Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are expected back to the team after missing the Basel game due to suspension.
For the away side, they’d be without Ross Barkley, Ramiro Funes Mori and long-term absentees, Seamus Coleman and Yannick Bolasie.
However, Morgan Schneiderlin is expected to be available to face former side, United.
United boss, Mourinho: “I think sometimes the word ‘legend’ is used too easily but that’s not this case. He’s [Rooney] a real legend in the club. “The numbers, they speak by themselves. He’s obviously a legend for this club and for sure he’s going to get the welcome that he deserves.”
Koeman, Everton’s manager: “Everyone knows what Rooney did at Manchester United. But he is an Everton player now.”
United have only lost one of their last 24 home games against Everton in the PL, with their last defeat against them coming in the 3-0 defeat in April 2015.
The hosts have been the better side all season, and while i expect the game to be an interesting one, I don’t see either side picking all three points.
I’m going for a 1-1 draw in this one.
Photo credit: Manchester United