Man United’s pre-season clash with Preston North End, which was scheduled for last Saturday, had to be postponed following suspected coronavirus cases in the Red Devils camp, although it ultimately proved to be a false alarm, with the squad quickly cleared to return to training.
As a result, the 20-time English champions have only taken part in three friendlies this summer, opening their preparations for the new campaign with a 2-1 victory over Derby County on July 18 before suffering a 4-2 defeat at Queens Park Rangers on July 24.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side then played out a 2-2 draw with Brentford on July 28 and will now round off their pre-season with a clash against Everton at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.
The Red Devils will open their 2021-22 Premier League season at home to Leeds on August 14 before finishing the month with clashes against Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers, and it is vital that the team make a strong start if they are to seriously challenge for the league title.
Jadon Sancho is due in training for the first time on Friday, but Raphael Varane has not yet completed a move to the 20-time English champions, meaning that he will not be involved against Everton; the Frenchman, though, could potentially make his debut against Leeds at Old Trafford.
Everton, meanwhile, took part in the Florida Cup towards the end of July and managed to play two matches despite the competition being altered due to Arsenal and Inter Milan both withdrawing.
The Toffees beat Millonarios on penalties following a 1-1 draw on July 25 before recording a 1-0 victory over Pumas UNAM on July 28, with Moise Kean finding the back of the net.
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The fact that the Merseyside giants have only played twice this summer is far from ideal, but this weekend’s contest with Man United will prove to be an extremely valuable exercise for new head coach Rafael Benitez, who will lead his side into their league opener against Southampton on August 14.
Everton have made three new signings during this summer’s transfer window, bringing in Demarai Gray, Andros Townsend and Asmir Begovic, while Kean, Cenk Tosun and Jonjoe Kenny at back at Goodison Park following loan spells, and it will be interesting to see what happens with the trio in the coming weeks