Manchester United vs Everton | Saturday 6th February 2021, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Man Utd could join Man City at the summit of the Premier League on Saturday night. But they have to pick up the three points against Everton. It won’t be an easy task – this Toffees side are unbeaten in their last six league games on the road.
Both sides picked up wins in midweek but in slightly different fashions. The Red Devils inflicted a 9-0 defeat on Southampton, where the early red card picked up by Alex Jankewitz helped.
While 24 hours later, Everton bounced back to winning ways with a spirited performance at Elland Road. Shot-stopper Robin Olsen was the hero of the hour making multiple smart saves to help the Toffees pick up three points.
That win saw Carlo Ancelotti’s men climb to sixth in the table, and they have a couple of games in hand over Merseyside rivals Liverpool, who sit in fourth, four points ahead.
The betting angles
It’s an intriguing match-up between two sides that have already met twice this season. Man Utd won both games, including quite a tactical affair in the League Cup, which was settled with two late goals.
Ancelotti is the Italian maestro, and he’s made his side difficult to beat, especially on the road. Their away record is quite impressive, and one that had slipped past me.
Only Saturday's opponents (27) and Leicester (26) have picked up more points than Everton’s 22 in away games. And, they could write a bit of club history – they’ve won their last four away games and are looking to win five consecutive games on their travels for the first time since 1970.
The Toffees have won seven of their 10 away games, drawing one and losing the other two. Those two defeats came earlier in the campaign at Newcastle and Southampton.
So I’m eyeing up a bet that has won in eight of their away games, while it has seen money back in one of the other two. It’s Everton +1 on the Asian Handicap (99/100 Bet365). We’ll get our money back if Man Utd win by one goal, and it’s only a loser if the Toffees lose by two-plus goals.
The Red Devils have won just five of their 11 league games at Old Trafford, with three of those wins by single-goal margins, equalling money back. In all of those 11 games, this bet would have only lost twice, and I’m not expecting Everton to be easy to beat.
Plus, with how the earlier clashes have played out there could be late drama. Even in their last 10 league meetings at Old Trafford, backing this bet has only lost twice, with four wins and four voids.
I’m hopeful that it’s the same pairing in the full-back roles for Everton as Wednesday – Mason Holgate and Lucas Digne. They could have a field day racking up the tackles with the way Aaron Wan-Bissaka and the reformed Luke Shaw have bombed forward in the past few weeks.
I was contemplating pairing the two together and going for both to have 2+ tackles at 13/10 on Ladbrokes, but looking through the data, the Frenchman’s tackle stats aren’t what I hoped or expected. He’s made 2+ in seven of 12 games this term, including 12 in his last two, with four v Leeds and eight against Newcastle. He could continue those figures here, but Holgate appeals more.
The 24-year-old is interesting given how United attack – 43% down their left side, meaning the opposition right-back gets through a pretty substantial shift. Examples in recent weeks have seen:
- Kayne Ramsey (RB) – five tackles
- Héctor Bellerín (RB) – three tackles
- Chris Basham (RCB) – four tackles
- Kenny Tete (RWB) – five tackles
It’s worth pointing out that Seamus Coleman started at right-back in the reverse fixture and completed four tackles. While the right-sided central midfielder Abdoulaye Doucouré racked up six.
If you want to play the 2+ double, then Holgate has hit that line in six of 10 appearances, including four in the reverse when playing at centre-back. He’s hit 3+ in five of his ten, including five completed at Leeds in midweek.
Holgate is 6/4 for 3+ tackles, 19/5 for four and 9/1 for five on Ladbrokes, and given the way we’ve seen Utd rampage forward with Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford down that left flank, all of those are interesting.
Despite Jon Moss being in charge, both Holgate and Digne could be worth a look in the cards market, especially in-play, when the pattern of play is established.
One man in my notes, as one to watch in that market is Yerry Mina. How on earth he escaped from Elland Round without a card, I’ll never know. Maybe he just found Michael Oliver on a good day. The Colombian committed five fouls!
He has more goals than yellow cards this season, but if this game gets stretched, he could be one that gets found out, so I’ll wait until it goes in-play before taking that wager.