Everton-Manchester United Preview
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has no doubt Manchester United will be in for a stern test of their title-challenging credentials when Carlo Ancelotti's Everton visit Old Trafford on Saturday.
Everton beat Leeds United on Wednesday to make it four successive away wins in the Premier League, while United thrashed Southampton 9-0 at home on Tuesday.
United have already beat Everton twice this season, in the league and the EFL Cup, with both of those matches having been played at Goodison Park.
However, Solskjaer - whose side would move level with leaders Manchester City with a win - knows to expect a tough battle.
"He's a manager you really look up to and respect, been a winner everywhere he's been, he's had influence," Solskjaer said of Ancelotti.
"For example at PSG what he started there, what he's done at Milan, Chelsea, Real Madrid - you can see that at Everton now. They started the season fantastically, won last four away games. It's a team you know you're in for a battle when you're up against them."
Seven of Everton's 11 league victories this season have come on the road, and Ancelotti is looking for his team to build on that run at a ground where the Toffees have only one once in their last 27 league visits.
"I think all the teams have more difficulties at home than away. United is the same. They have a fantastic record away but at home they have lost against Arsenal, Tottenham, Crystal Palace, Sheffield United," he said.
"It is because the crowd is not there to help you when you are playing at home and it is not there to go against the opponent."
Solskjaer, meanwhile, added that his side's main focus is maintaining consistency.
"Consistency is vital," he said. "We're ready to kick on, hopefully we can gain some momentum."
Manchester United - Anthony Martial
Martial has been directly involved in nine goals in his last 11 appearances against Everton in all competitions (six goals, three assists), scoring and assisting as a substitute in their 2-0 win in the EFL Cup earlier this season.
Everton - Lucas Digne
With Ben Godfrey so impressive in defence, Digne may well play further up the pitch on Saturday, though wherever the Frenchman is positioned, his crossing is a major asset to Everton's play. After his assist for Gyfli Sigurdsson's opener at Leeds, no other defender has created more Premier League goals than Digne this season (six).
•Martial's next appearance for United will be his 250th in all competitions for the Red Devils, becoming the third Frenchman to reach this milestone for the club after Mikael Silvestre and Patrice Evra.
•United's Bruno Fernandes ended a run of five Premier League matches without a goal or assist against Southampton, scoring once and assisting two more. Fernandes netted his 10th penalty goal in what was his 36th appearance, the fastest player to reach that tally in appearances since Andy Johnson in April 2005 (32nd appearance).
•Ancelotti has led two teams to victories at Old Trafford, winning with Milan in February 2005 and Chelsea in April 2010. Ancelotti could be only the second manager to win away at United with three different teams in the Premier League era, after Jose Mourinho (Chelsea, Real Madrid, Spurs).
•Everton are looking to win five consecutive away league games for the first time since April 1970 under Harry Catterick, a season which saw them win their seventh top-flight title. Only United (eight) and Leicester City (eight) have won more times on the road this term.
•This will be Solskjaer's 100th Premier League match as a manager (18 with Cardiff, 82 with United). He is the 70th different manager to take charge of 100 games, though none of the three who managed their 100th game against Everton have won: Dave Bassett in 1998 (lost 0-2), Roberto Martinez in 2012 (drew 1-1) & Paul Lambert in 2014 (lost 1-2).
Updated February 5, 2021