Champions League-chasing Everton take on bottom-of-the-pile Sheffield United
Everton to win 2-0
Everton have the chance to move up to 2nd in the table this weekend, if they win their match against bottom of the table Sheffield United and Leicester and Manchester United take points off one another.
Understandable, a team currently sitting within the top four will automatically be favourites against a side who have been 20th since early in the season. But, the day after Christmas, nothing can be taken for granted and Carlo Ancelotti will want his players to avoid complacency.
The Toffees have been brilliant of late, bouncing back from a series of poor form to win three on the trot against Chelsea, Leicester and Arsenal.
On the other hand, Sheffield United remain rooted at the foot of the table, though have at least doubled their points tally of late. Their draw against Brighton took them a point closer to survival, but Chris Wilder will be under no illusions that the road ahead will be any easier.
Form Guide (all comps): LLLLD
Reasons to be cheerful:
Draw will have given them confidence
Performances are definitely improving
Reasons to be fearful:
Have the lowest points at this stage of any Premier League season
Everton could blow them away
Chris Wilder’s side picked up from where they left off in the second half against Manchester United a couple of weeks ago.
They pushed United hard in those closing minutes, just unable to claim an equaliser but showing great courage to push back against their negative position in the table.
The Blades pushed hard again against Brighton, scoring first and then clinging onto a point near the end after Brighton had equalised.
At 20 years of age, Jayden Bogle became the fifth Sheffield United player to score on his debut, bringing some youthful positivity to his side in a much-needed moment.
Their chances against Everton are slim, and they will still need a minor miracle to escape relegation, but Wilder will be content with how his side are continuing to fight.
Star Man – David McGoldrick
Scored two against Manchester United the other week, and then laid on the assist for Bogle’s goal against Brighton.
Form Guide (all comps): LDWWW
Reasons to be cheerful
Wins against top teams show quality
Opportunity to go 2nd will be huge incentive
Reasons to be fearful
James Rodriguez remains out injured
Threat of complacency after Christmas
Everton have come full circle since topping the table at the start of the season.
Despite winning just once in seven fixtures, Everton have responded with a bang to win their last three matches, all of them against big club opposition.
They’ve also had to cope without midfield star James Rodriguez during this period, but have not struggled in his absence as the likes of Sigurdsson and Richarlison have really stepped up in the creation department.
The Toffees have an opportunity to move into 2nd position, behind close rivals Liverpool, if they win this fixture – Leicester and Manchester United face each other with the possibility of one or both dropping points.
Everton will be firm favourites here, but must be wary of taking this one too easily.
Star Man – Dominic Calvert-Lewin
Hasn’t scored in the last three league matches, but will be eyeing the Sheffield United defence as his opportunity to change that
One-sided with Everton bossing the game
The Toffees favourites to make it four in a row
The Blades must stay in the game as long as possible
Everton have the perfect opportunity to win four on the bounce for the first time since their opening four league matches of the season.
They have players out injured, but those remaining possess plenty of quality and they will be confident of getting the job done.
Everton to win 2-0