PREVIEW | EVERTON VS MANCHESTER UNITED
The feelgood factor at Everton continues going into their next match: a Sunday night clash under the Goodison lights against Manchester United.
The Toffees are unbeaten in their last seven, winning their last two, and the connection between the fans and players, as well as the manager, hasn’t been this strong for a very long time.
Additionally, with Liverpool poised to do battle with high-flying Arsenal while their own form is patchy at best, there is a chance Frank Lampard’s side could round off the weekend ahead of their arch rivals in the table.
In their way is Manchester United, embarking on a fresh start under Erik ten Hag and coming off the back of a humiliation at the hands of their city rivals last Sunday.
The Calvert-Lewin conundrum
For many weeks now, there have been mutterings around the fitness of Dominic Calvert-Lewin who is still yet to make an appearance this season due to a knee injury.
But this week, Lampard has confirmed that the centre forward will be available for selection to face the Red Devils.
However, with the history of the 25-year-old being rushed back into the fray after a lengthy time on the sidelines, many will be hoping he is not thrust straight back into the starting XI on Sunday.
It is much more likely he will be brought off the bench towards the end of the match and Neal Maupay can deservedly retain his place up top.
One to watch – Conor Coady
Rarely has a player arrived at Goodison with such baggage and still managed to effortlessly win the fans over as quickly as Conor Coady has.
It’s now almost inconceivable to think the 29-year-old is a boyhood Liverpool supporter who made two appearances for the Reds first team, such was the extent of his ecstasy when he thought he’d scored in the Merseyside Derby last month.
He and James Tarkowski have revitalised Everton’s infamously leaky defence to the point where the Blues now boast the best defensive record in the Premier League so far this season.
While there is almost no chance of that stat lasting very long, one thing for certain is Coady will continue to be a fan favourite throughout his season-long loan from Wolves.
And it was revealed earlier this week that the Toffees need only pay £4.5m to keep the centre-back permanently.
One to watch – Anthony Martial
As good as Coady is, he will still have his work cut out keeping a certain man quiet on Sunday.
Anthony Martial simply loves scoring against Everton, finding the net six times in 13 previous appearances against the Toffees.
Even last season when it appeared his time with United was coming to end, he still opened the scoring when the Blues made the trip to Old Trafford in October with his only goal out of seven appearances for the club that season.
Now that he’s rejuvenated under a new manger willing to give him another chance, the Frenchman will be looking to add to his outstanding record against the Toffees after scoring twice against City last week.
Frank Lampard does genuinely appear to be building something at Goodison Park and Everton already look a million miles away from the side that so nearly went down last season.
They are much tougher to beat, packed to the rafters with leaders and much more of a team that works hard for one another.
With Manchester United having made an inconsistent start to the season and not having the best record at Goodison in recent years, the Toffees will fancy their chances of claiming a big scalp this weekend.