Paul Merson reveals his Everton v Man United prediction
Paul Merson looks ahead to Man United's trip to face Everton in the Premier League on Sunday evening
Paul Merson is backing Everton to earn a 1-1 draw from their home game against Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday evening.
After a slow start to the campaign, the Toffees have bounced back to win their last two Premier League games against Southampton and West Ham – results which have moved them up to 11th place in the table heading into the weekend.
Manchester United, meanwhile, were left licking their wounds during the week after they suffered a comprehensive 6-3 defeat by Manchester City in the derby at The Etihad, before they bounced back with a 3-2 win over Omonia Nicosia in the Europa League on Thursday night.
The two sides last met in the Premier League back in April at Goodison Park, with Everton claiming a 1-0 win thanks to Anthony Gordon’s first-half goal.
Former Arsenal midfielder Merson says he cannot envisage Manchester United winning Sunday’s clash and believes that Everton will be difficult for the visitors to break down.
Writing in his column for Sportskeeda, Merson said: “Everton have done really well in recent weeks and I’ve been impressed with what Frank Lampard has done at the club so far. He’s getting the absolute best out of the players at his disposal, which is what the fans want to see.
“I don’t see Manchester United winning this game, as Everton are notoriously hard to break down and tend to frustrate teams like they did so against Liverpool.”
Merson continued: “Will Cristiano Ronaldo play against Everton? My feeling is that if he starts against Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus (Ronaldo played the full 90 minutes of the Europa League game), there’s no way Erik ten Hag names him in the starting XI for a Premier League game on Sunday evening.
“There’s been a lot of talk about Ronaldo’s situation in recent weeks but I’m not really sure what the future holds for him.
“Ten Hag said he didn’t want to disrespect what he’s achieved in his career so far by bringing him on when Manchester United had virtually lost the game against Manchester City, but I think it’s disrespectful in the first place to not be playing someone of Ronaldo’s stature regularly!”
Red Devils boss Ten Hag made the decision to keep his squad in Cyprus following their win on Thursday night, with his players training on the Mediterranean island on Friday before flying back to Manchester that evening.
Explaining that decision after Thursday’s game, Ten Had said: “Because it’s best in relation to recovery and to preparation for the game on Sunday.”
Meanwhile, looking ahead to Sunday’s game against Everton, Ten Hag warned his players that they will have to be “ready for a fight” against Frank Lampard’s side as they look to bounce back from their derby defeat last weekend.
“We don’t have so many moments in training [before that game] but it was the warm-up, Sunday we have to be ready for a fight, for a battle there,” Ten Hag said on Thursday night.
“It’s about intensity, that has to be much more and really improved. When you compare that last Sunday with City, that was the main lesson for us. We have to bring much more intensity in games, like against City and Everton is the same. That’s going to be a hard battle and we have to be ready for that.”