20/08/2012 09:14 BST | Updated 20/08/2012 11:54 BST

Everton Vs Manchester United Premier League Preview

As Sergio Agüero's Premier League clincher is replayed over and over again to torment Manchester United, their supporters are just as likely as to bemoan their 4-4 draw against Everton in April of last season.

Four-two up in their preantepenultimate league fixture with nine minutes remaining, Patrice Evra then somehow contrived to hit the post with a header. Five minutes later, Everton were level and now Manchester City had the initiative.

Everton and United's Premier League opener on Monday night also induces mixed emotions for supporters of both clubs who recall their opening day game at Goodison Park in 2005.

United had just been taken over by the infamous Glazer family but were about to embark on a golden era which would take in four Premier League titles, one Champions League and three League Cups within six years. The Toffees meanwhile had just experienced the brief giddiness of the Champions League, having lost their first leg qualifier to Villarreal at home four days earlier.

David Moyes' side have changed little since goals from Ruud van Nistelrooy and a returning Wayne Rooney consigned the them to their customary 'slow start'. The club continue to buy prudently, much to their followers' frustrations, while that elusive owner-come-saviour is yet to appear on the horizon.

Five months prior to their August 2005 meeting, they had beaten United at home for the first time in 10 years. And just like in 1995, it was a Duncan Ferguson header which sent a nocturnal Goodison into raptures.


United used to boast a near-immaculate record at the blue side of Stanley Park, and although Ferguson's header didn't turn the tide, it did exorcise some demons.

Sir Alex Ferguson's team have won four from their last seven matches away at Everton, but have been victorious just once in the past four seasons. Javier Hernández's tap-in during a messy match was the difference last year, but Everton's growing physicality has regularly exposed a United side which appears lightweight.

Marouane Fellaini has often caused problems, and his leveller in the 2008/09 1-1 draw was arguably more significant than Ferguson's winner four seasons earlier. He struck past David de Gea at Old Trafford last season too while Nikica Jelavic, a striker boasting silk and steel, tormented a haphazard Red Devils defence which missed injured captain Nemanja Vidic.


Ironically, Vidic is the only fit central defender for United's season opener. Jonny Evans, who has struggled tremendously against Everton in the past, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling were all confirmed absentees on Friday, but now they've been joined by Rio Ferdinand.

Jelavic has scored 11 goals from a mere 16 appearances for the Blues following his £5.5m transfer from Rangers in January this year, and will relish the battle with Vidic, the only recognised United centre-back making his first competitive outing since December.

But United have new striker Robin van Persie, set to make his debut alongside Evertonian Wayne Rooney. The Dutchman scored just once at Goodison Park during his eight years for Arsenal as he bids to fare better in the red of United.