While four defeats from six games would ordinarily be seen as a worrying slump, there are mitigating circumstances in Everton’s case.
The Toffees’ defeats in this sequence have come against Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea twice (in the league and Carling Cup), and while David Moyes will be disappointed not to have secured any points – or progressed further in the cup – during this sequence, it is hardly surprising Everton have nothing to show for their efforts.
The truth of the matter is that, since an opening-day defeat to QPR at Goodison Park, Everton have picked up points when they have been expected to do so, with wins secured against Sheffield United, Blackburn, Wigan, West Brom and Fulham and Aston Villa held to a draw.
However, faced with the prospect of playing one of the established big six and Everton have been powerless to prevent defeat .
Given this, Manchester United can be expected to pick up a win at Goodison Park in the 12:00 kick-off on Saturday.
For while Everton ran Liverpool close before Jack Rodwell’s sending off and were unlucky not to beat Chelsea in the Carling Cup on Wednesday, the fact they have only kept one clean sheet this season – against Blackburn -shows that for all their qualities they are not equipped to deal with teams with the attacking potency of the title-chasing elite.
Of course, United have added motivation going into the match following their 6-1 loss to Manchester City last Sunday, with a 3-0 victory over Aldershot unlikely to have soothed the pain of the derby defeat.
And with nine goals scored in their four away matches so far this season, United certainly have the firepower to take advantage of Everton’s inability to keep things tight at the back.
However, with the Red Devils going into the match as 4/5 favourites to pick up three points in bwin’s 3Way football betting market, punters may want to look elsewhere to increase their winnings.
One way of doing this would be to bet on an away win in a match with at least four goals at odds of 15/4.
League games involving United have seen an average of 4.2 goals so far this season, while three of the last five meetings between the two clubs have contained four goals.
And with Sir Alex Ferguson keen for his side to make a statement, using the £25 free bet on this outcome could prove a wise move.
A successful £25 free bet on Man Utd to win a game with more than 3.5 goals would return £118.75.
The fact Everton are likely to score will only help this bet as, for all the plaudits United have received for their attacking play so far this season, they have been criticised for their defensive vulnerability.
And with the Toffees more likely to score in the second half – six of the ten goals they have scored in the league have come in the final 15 minutes of matches – another good bet could be on Everton to score more after the interval than they do in the first 45 minutes at odds of 37/20.
Finally, those who think late goals can help Everton snatch victory can back the Toffees to win at 17/5, while a draw is priced at 5/2.
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