Sunday brings a trip to the cesspit that is Goodison Park with the hosts looking to pick up a win in what has proven to be a disappointing league season for them despite still being active competitors in the Europa League. This is a fixture in which we don’t have the most impressive of records; with our last win here coming in 2010 when Hatem Ben Arfa hit a spectacular winner on what was he and Cheick Tiote’s full debut, our performances here since then have been pretty minging to say the least.

John Carver comes into this game welcoming the return of Jack Colback but bemoaning the loss of Papiss Cisse for the next 7 games who whether provoked or not behaved like a right knob in our last game; not for the first time either. There’s no doubt in my mind that Ayoze Perez will be back in the starting line-up for this game having been taken out the limelight in recent games, his replacement Riviere hasn’t covered himself in glory; despite working hard and getting into good positions when the chances came he’s fallen to bits. I still think there’s a player in there somewhere, but I expect Carver to play Sissoko behind Ayoze in this one. Friday brought news of Mehdi Abeid being out of action for a month or so, seriously the amount of muscle injuries our players get is something that needs investigating. Three youth team players have supposedly been called up for this game, Jamie Sterry, Oliver Kemen and Callum Roberts; why does our squad seem to shrink year upon year?

Everton come into this match on the back of a 2-1 win in Europe against Dinamo Kiev in which their performance was streaky to say the least. Towards the end of the game they looked sharp, but their start was incohesive and they appeared easy to get at, we need to take advantage of the obvious tension at Goodison if we’re going to get anything; hoping for a “Europa League hangover” just won’t cut it. If Alcaraz starts in this game we have a real chance, I’d fancy Ayoze to have him on toast.

Likely Line Ups

Everton 4-2-3-1: Howard; Coleman, Stones/Alcaraz, Jagielka, Garbutt; McCarthy, Barry; Miralles, Barkley, Naismith; Lukaku

United 4-2-3-1: Krul; Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Taylor; Anita, Colback; Obertan, Sissoko, Amoebi; Ayoze.

Previous Meetings

Everton 3 United 2 – September 2013 – An appalling first half performance with our defence at sixes and sevens was improved in the second half as goals from Cabaye and Remy made for an interesting last few minutes. But in truth this was an embarrassment on national TV

Everton 0 United 1 – September 2010 – Impressive full debuts by Tiote and Ben Arfa with the former coming away with a 100% pass completion rate (will we see that again?) and the latter scoring the winner as Chris Hughton’s men got their first of many away wins in this season.