Schedule to impact quality of third round tie
Manchester United host Everton in the third round of the FA Cup on Friday evening, amongst a gruelling schedule for Premier League clubs.
Both sides are in top-flight action on Tuesday, United host Bournemouth and the Toffees welcome Brighton and Hove Albion to Goodison Park.
There is no scheduling advantage, but squad depth-wise, United could have the edge, able to rotate their side a bit more, expecting to beat the Cherries without a full strength side.
Whereas Everton are just one point above the relegation zone ahead of hosting the Seagulls, and for that reason Tuesday’s fixture will be of higher priority, than it is in relative terms for the Red Devils.
Everton will have a full week off after the fixture where United do not, but it is unlikely that Erik ten Hag rests players ahead of taking on Charlton Athletic in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals next midweek.
Axel Tuanzebe, Diogo Dalot and Jadon Sancho are likely to miss out where Scott McTominay is doubtful.
The visitors have encountered deeper fitness issues, Frank Lampard will likely be without Michael Keane, James Garner and Andros Townsend, while Anthony Gordon and Yerry Mina are doubtful.
A run in the FA Cup could be something that buys Lampard time in what has been a very tricky period as Toffees manager, however, they are likely to set up to spoil the game at Old Trafford.
Neither side will want a replay to come from this fixture, although United would accept it if that is what it takes to qualify, but it is hard to see Everton recovering in time to produce an enterprising attacking display.
That could in turn lead to United piling on the pressure, but ahead of team news it is very tough to second guess the strength of their forward line.
Fixture congestion often leads to drab affairs, and that is what I am most comfortable getting onside, typically as a punter who steers clear of the early rounds of cup competitions.
Man U have scored in all of their last 11.
Man U have conceded in four of ten.
Man U have seen both teams score in four of ten.
Man U have seen over 2.5 goals in five of ten.
Everton have scored in five of ten.
Everton have conceded in eight of ten.
Everton have seen both teams score in four of ten.
Everton have seen over 2.5 goals in five of ten.
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