Preview: Everton v Manchester United

It’s winner takes all as Everton take on Manchester United in Saturday’s all-important FA Cup semi-final clash at Wembley.

FA Cup
23 April 2016
Semi-finals
Kick-off: 16:15 GMT

Venue: Wembley Stadium

Referee: A. Taylor
Assistants: S. Burt and J. Brooks
Fourth official: J. Moss

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Everton 194 69 41 84
Man Utd 194 84 41 69

Previous encounter:

Manchester United 1-0 Everton

Man Utd goalscorer: A. Martial (54′)

Players to watch:

Everton will be banking on Romelu Lukaku to get them through to the FA Cup final at the expense of Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on Saturday evening.

The burly Belgian striker has scored three goals in the competition this season, two of those coming in the previous round against former club Chelsea to secure a 2-0 win for the Toffees. Lukaku is also fourth in the Premier League scoring charts with 18 goals, although he hasn’t found the back of the net for five games now.

United’s chief threat is likely to come from Marcus Rashford, who has seized his chance during the second half of the campaign following injuries to Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial. The 18-year-old striker already has seven goals to his name and scored braces on debut in the Europa League and the Premier League.

Rooney will also be keen to impress against his boyhood club as he bids to lift the FA Cup trophy for the first time in his Red Devils career, the club having last won the famous competition in 2004 – just a few months before the striker’s arrival at Old Trafford.

All smiles in training today! ? #mufc

A photo posted by Manchester United (@manchesterunited) on

Team form and manager quotes:

Roberto Martinez’s men enter the cup-tie on the back of a six-match winless streak, their last victory coming against the Blues in the quarter-finals last month. A humiliating 4-0 defeat to neighbours Liverpool on Wednesday halted a run of three straight draws, although the Toffees have yet to concede a goal in the FA Cup this year.

Martinez has set his sights on a second FA Cup triumph in four years, having won the trophy with Wigan in 2013, and admits to being motivated by their Capital One Cup run this term.

“[Winning the trophy] gives you a little bit of experience and knowhow of what to expect, but every round is a fresh challenge,” the Spaniard said in his pre-match press conference.

“This opportunity we’ve had to earn through all the hard work of the last 10 months. We felt a little bit hard done by in not getting to Wembley in the Capital One Cup, but that gave us that extra drive and inspiration to get there in the FA Cup.

“We are hurting and the way to get rid of that is to bring back a winning feeling. We need to embrace the semi-final – and I want every person connected to Everton to have that approach.”

United bounced back from an embarrassing 3-0 reverse at Tottenham to win their last three outings, which included a 2-1 success over West Ham in an FA Cup quarter-final replay after the original tie ended 1-1.

Louis van Gaal’s team subsequently beat Aston Villa and Crystal Palace in the league to keep their Champions League hopes alive – they trail fourth-placed Manchester City by two points in fifth with four fixtures left to play.

Van Gaal is striving to bring silverware to the Old Trafford trophy cabinet, telling the assembled press at the Aon Training Complex: “I have said this already. I do my utmost best.

“We are in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and are in the race for the fourth position and that was our aim.”

Team news:

Martinez must do without Ramiro Funes Mori after the defender was sent off in the midweek loss to the Reds, which earned him a three-match suspension.

Right-back Seamus Coleman is also unavailable as he has failed to overcome a hamstring injury sustained against Southampton at the weekend.

Meanwhile, Phil Jagielka, Gareth Barry and John Stones will be assessed closer to kick-off, but Aaron Lennon, Leighton Baines and Tom Cleverley are all expected to feature, despite picking up knocks at Anfield.

Van Gaal has an almost clean bill of health after Chris Smalling declared himself fit, having taken a knock late on against Palace on Wednesday.

That leaves only long-term injury victims Luke Shaw and Bastian Schweinsteiger on the treatment table, along with Adnan Januzaj, who has been battling with a hamstring problem.

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