Manchester United fans are unanimously echoing a singular sentiment after Everton faced a 10-point deduction in the Premier League.
Following the official confirmation of their penalty on Friday, Sean Dyche’s team plummeted from the 14th to the 19th position in the league standings.
The Everton club came under the scrutiny of an independent commission in March for purportedly breaching profitability and sustainability regulations during the 2021/2022 season.
In response, Everton issued a statement confirming their intent to contest the decision through an appeal process.
Notably, Everton’s statement seemingly contained a veiled insinuation directed at reigning Premier League champions Manchester City. This subtle reference draws attention to City’s previous encounter with charges involving 115 alleged rule breaches back in February.
It means Everton are now in the relegation zone and two points from safety. This is where Manchester United enter the picture.
Erik ten Hag takes United to Goodison Park on November 26 for a 4:30pm kick-off.
Given the Red Devils’ poor performances on the road this season, it could be a slip-up waiting to happen.
United struggled to wins over Burnley, Sheffield United and Fulham on their travels this term and were beaten by Bayern Munich and FC Copenhagen in the Champions League.
They’ve won four of their last five in the league, but Manchester United fans on social media are concerned.
One person said: “We’re going to a hostile Goodison Park first after this news. It’s not looking good.”
Another put: “They’ve invented points deduction bounce.”
Someone tweeted: “Think that United game could be the most feral Goodison Park will ever be.”
While a fourth added: “Just clocked our first game after the international break. Oh no.”
Last season, United beat Everton three times. They ran out 2-1 and 2-0 winners in the league, then also knocked the Merseyside outfit out of the FA Cup.
United could be without several first-team players for the trip to Goodison Park on the 26th of November, 2023.
Christian Eriksen and Rasmus Hojlund both went off injured in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Luton Town and didn’t join up with Denmark for their Euro 2024 qualifiers.
Erik ten Hag;s team is currently struggling with nine injured players;
Casemiro (thigh), Lisandro Martinez (ankle/foot), Jonny Evans (undisclosed) Aaron Wan-Bissaka (illness), Tyrell Malacia (knee), Luke Shaw (undisclosed), Christian Eriksen (knee), Rasmus Hojlund (thigh), Amad Diallo (knee)
For Everton, with 26 games remaining, however, all hope is not lost at Goodison Park. If there was one season to be hit with a points penalty, it would be the current campaign. Here are the key factors why Everton may avoid relegation to the Championship.
Everton have the right manager in place for a battle against relegation, with Sean Dyche working miracles at Burnley on a budget to get them in the Premier League and suffered relegation once during his six full campaigns in the top flight.
He put together teams who were disciplined and well-drilled in defence but still had the ability to score goals to keep their heads above water.
Dyche will not be fazed by the challenge of climbing out of the relegation zone. He has suffered poor starts at Burnley before, notably when his squad had to juggle European football with the Premier League. His teams are balanced and he has power in his midfield – Abdoulaye Doucouré and Amadou Onana gives them a chance to take control of matches.
After taking one point from their first five Premier League games of the season Everton have accrued 13 from their last seven. Maintaining even half that form should be enough to keep them up.
Relegation rivals lack quality
The gulf between the teams at the bottom of the table and the rest of the Premier League is such that football agents are not expecting much money to be spent in January.
There will be trading for loan players and bargains, but there is no sense of panic yet from mid-table teams needing something extra in their squad when the market opens in six weeks.
Last season, the relegation fight looked like it would involve most of the teams in the bottom half of the table, with a bad run of results seeing clubs sucked into the bottom. On the final day, 19th-placed Leeds United still had a chance of survival if results went their way.
This time around, the three clubs promoted from the Championship have only recorded one victory each with almost a third of the season gone. Sheffield United have played well without winning until beating Wolves two weeks ago, while Burnley’s only win was against Luton Town.
Without a drastic turn in fortunes, it looks as though the promoted clubs this season have given Everton an excellent chance of staying up despite their 10-point deduction.
Ahead of the game against United, what are your predictions?