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Manchester United must put their diabolical derby showing behind them when they travel to Goodison Park to face a resurgent Everton on a seven-match unbeaten run in Sunday’s late game.
The Toffees have not lost since August 13 on the back of forging the Premier League’s best defensive record by conceding only seven goals in their last eight top-flight contests.
United shipped almost as many in one disastrous display last week, although they will not come up against an attack as sharp as Manchester City’s on Merseyside.
However, the Red Devils flirted with disaster again in Nicosia on Thursday with both of Omonia’s goals in a 3-2 Europa League win demonstrating that Erik ten Hag still has plenty to do to sort out United’s brittle backline.
Frank Lampard confirmed Dominic Calvert-Lewin is finally in contention to feature after working his way back from a freak injury that occurred just days before Everton’s opening fixture of the campaign against Chelsea.
The England striker could have to settle for a place on the bench with Lampard loath to leave Neal Maupay out of his forward line after his impactful arrival from Brighton.
Everton’s boss could name an unchanged line-up from last weekend’s 2-1 away win over Southampton that took the Toffees up to 11th place, level on points with Liverpool and only two behind United.
Defenders Yerry Mina and Mason Holgate, both sidelined since August, are back in training but unlikely to play any part.
Nathan Patterson (knee), Andros Townsend (knee) and Ben Godfrey (leg) remain on the casualty list.
For United, Jadon Sancho and Tyrell Malacia are in danger of being dropped after struggling for form of late with Cristiano Ronaldo and Anthony Martial pushing for recalls.
Luke Shaw looks likely to come in at left-back while Raphael Varane will undergo a late fitness test to determine if he is able to slot in alongside Lisandro Martinez in central defence .
The Frenchman came off in the 40th minute of United’s 6-3 Etihad Stadium evisceration with an ankle injury and did not travel to Cyprus in midweek.
Victor Lindelof is in line to replace the ex-Real Madrid star if he is not able to play on Sunday with Ten Hag confirming that captain Harry Maguire is still sidelined by a thigh strain.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Donny van de Beek are also unavailable because of injuries.
In his seven starts, Everton have conceded just five times with Conor Coady on the pitch.
Fellow summer signing Dwight McNeil’s strike at St Mary’s was his first Premier League goal since scoring for Burnley against Everton in March 2021, ending a barren run of 54 Premier League games and 66 consecutive shots without scoring.
The in-form Alex Iwobi has provided three assists in his last four Premier League games — one fewer than he had provided in his previous 87 league games for the Toffees.
Meanwhile, there were just five minutes between Everton conceding to fall 1-0 behind and taking the lead against Southampton — their quickest turnaround since against Blackburn in November 1962 (3 minutes).
Bruno Fernandes has six goal involvements in his five Premier League appearances against Everton (four goals, two assists), with four in three coming at Goodison Park (three goals, one assist).
United have conceded a league-high share 71% of their Premier League goals in the first half of games this season (10/14).
United have conceded 27 goals in their last 10 Premier League away games and their defensive issues have not really gone away this season with their two clean sheets at Southampton and Leicester owing more to their opponents’ profligacy.
There is scope for a fully-rested Everton to get at them on Sunday and the likely late introduction of fit-again Calvert-Lewin could ensure the Blues get at least one goal.
The Red Devils attacking play still seems to rely on the off-the-cuff brilliance of individuals and, while Man Utd might muster some magic moments, supporting Everton to avoid defeat at 10/13 looks like the logical step.
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