Everton v Manchester United - Premier League

David Moyes vilified on return to Everton, as Manchester United nightmare continues

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LIVERPOOL — Boos rang around Goodison Park as David Moyes stood on the edge of his technical area before Manchester United’s 2-0 defeat to Everton on Sunday.

Every time he was shown on the big screen Everton’s fans showed their distaste and the home fans finished off the game with a rendition of “You’re getting sacked in the morning” just to rub salt further into the wounds.

This is not the homecoming the former Everton boss would’ve wanted on his first trip back to Goodison since he left last summer.

United were outfought, outplayed and looked inferior across the board as Everton recorded the double over United for the first time since the 1969-70 season, following their 1-0 win at Old Trafford back in October. With the victory Everton kept their top four hopes well and truly alive, while United saw theirs vanish mathematically.

(MORE: Everton 2-0 Man United – Toffees rampant in miserable return for Moyes)

After the match Moyes insisted his side played well, much to the bemusement of the assembled press, but with Champions League soccer out of the window for next season, the former Everton boss knows his side are struggling.

“It hurts [not finishing in the top four], it’s part of this club,” Moyes said afterwards. “We are doing everything we can to get ourselves back in it again. I think the supporters have been behind the team incredibly. I think they’ve realized it has been a difficult season. The supporters are supporting the team and they understand it has not been good. I recognize it hasn’t been good. It needs to be better.”

While United need to do better, Everton have reached 69 points for the first time in Premier League history. Throughout their win over United on Sunday, it was a strange sight seeing the man who’d been the hero of Evertonians for over 11 years, vilified by the fans who had adored him.

source: AP
Baines, a transfer target for Moyes and United, came back to haunt his old boss.

As Moyes brought his United side back to Goodison Park for the first time since he left the Blues last summer, instead of a heroes’ welcome, Moyes got a mouthful from angry Everton fans all afternoon.

They taunted him with songs (“Moyesy, Moyesy give us a wave”) and a home fan wearing a Grim Reaper costume with an inflatable scythe stood behind Moyes for the opening 15 minutes. That about sums up Moyes’ mood right now.

“We should’ve played better, we didn’t create chances,” Moyes said. “We passed it well enough but we could’ve done better. We didn’t do it today, we had a lot of the ball but we didn’t make it count. Everybody knows we are on track to make changes and do some different things. We are rebuilding. We’ve got things we want to do, today there were things we didn’t do well.”

United didn’t play well, at all, and Everton’s fans were lapping it up on the terraces. Yet, why the animosity towards a man who turned Everton from regular battlers against relegation to perennial top four challengers?

The United manager tried to raid his old team last summer, as he eventually signed Marouane Fellaini for $37.5 million and tried to lure Everton left back Leighton Baines to the Red Devils. The rhetoric Moyes used to try and unsettle both players angered the Everton faithful and with the subsequent success of new Blues boss Roberto Martinez and Moyes’ rough start to life at Old Trafford, Evertonians now believe life under Moyes wasn’t as grand as it once seemed.

Martinez spoke of Moyes’ past tenure at Everton and how he is reaping the benefits from the carefully laid plans the Scotsman put in place.

“I was a very fortunate man to walk into a football club where everything was in place,” Martinez said. “The work that David did over 11 years was there. Yes, I wanted to change many things, but I didn’t want to lose anything. I brought 10 player sin which is a big amount, the senior players were very open to play in a different manner and we gave a massive role to the younger players. That is the big difference in this squad. I thought David Moyes’ job at Everton provided the platform for the performances we have been able to put in this season.”

Following a number of poor performances this season, Moyes is now undertaking a total rebuild of United’s playing squad.

“We’re doing that behind the scenes and we will continue to do that behind the scenes just now,” Moyes said. “We will do everything we possibly can to get a team that is capable of winning better than what we’ve been doing recently.”

source: AP
Mirallas grabbed Everton’s second and was a constant thorn in United’s side down the right flank.

Make no mistake about it, Moyes worked wonders on a shoestring budget with the Toffees as he guided them to fourth place, guaranteed a top 10 finish and brought in plenty of profit from many shrewd transfer dealings. Moyes put the building blocks in space for Martinez to succeed, yet the free-flowing attacking soccer Everton now roll out on a weekly basis is in stark contrast to the restrictive and simple soccer Moyes deployed.

That was evident on Sunday, as Everton marauded down the right-wing effortlessly — with Seamus Coleman, Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku ganging up on Alexander Buttner to devastating effect — as United’s defense couldn’t handle the Toffees’ inventive and forthright approach. Moyes’ own United team looked lightweight, with Shinji Kagawa, Juan Mata and Nani trying to get on the ball but as soon as the ball was lost none of them got back to defend. That left United horribly exposed, as the Red Devils knocked the ball from side to side with no real purpose and lacked creativity in the final third.

Moyes admitted, his current side failed to compete with the team he meticulously assembled and is now watching flourish from afar.

“We had good control of the game, we had the bulk of the ball,” Moyes said. “Everton area a threat on the break, their first goal was a big kick up the pitch from Ross Barkley, nodded down, picked up and for us to conceded a goal like that was terrible. The second one was a better move, but we should’ve defended them much better.”

Does Moyes deserve to be a villain at Goodison Park?

The Scotsman has done nothing wrong, yet in a world were instant success is now expected and legacies are quickly forgotten, what he left behind at Everton is now being built on as Martinez takes the Blues to the next chapter.

UEFA Champions League dreams are real at Goodison Park with three games to go this season, while Moyes’ United have been overtaken by the side he left to further his coaching career, win trophies and play in Europe. Oh, the irony.

Xavi backs Dybala, Verratti to succeed at Barcelona over Pogba

TURIN, ITALY - JANUARY 24:  Paulo Dybala (R) of Juventus FC celebrates after scoring the opening goal with team mate Paul Pogba during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and AS Roma at Juventus Arena on January 24, 2016 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
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With Paul Pogba linked with a possible summer move to Barcelona worth more than $100 million, one legend at Camp Nou believes Pogba may not be the right signing.

[ MORE: Top 5 PL storylines ]

After making more than 700 appearances for Barcelona, Xavi knows the club as well as anyone, and he prefers Pogba’s Juventus teammate Paulo Dybala for a move to the Catalan giants.

Xavi also praised the play of Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti, saying that while Pogba is a star player, Dybala and Verratti have “Barca DNA.”

There’s two players I really like, both of whom I think have Barca’s DNA. They are Marco Verratti and Paulo Dybala.

They are amazing and, thanks to their quality and style of play, would easily integrate into the [Barca] machine. I see them as future stars at the club.

[Pogba] is a great player. He’ll be a star for France as he is for Juve, but I see him with a different game to ours.

Both Pogba and Dybala are 22-years-old, while Verratti is 23. All three players have been among the elite young talents in the world, with Pogba earning the most praise of the group and always linked with a big-money move to Europe’s top clubs.

[ RELATED: Messi named La Liga Player of the Month for first time in career ]

Dybala is enjoying a breakout season at Juventus, currently with 13 goals and eight assists in Serie A play. In Paris, Verratti is part of a PSG side that hasn’t lost in 25 matches and holds a 24-point lead at the top of the table.

Vincent Kompany set to make Manchester City return this weekend

during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Etihad Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Manchester, England.
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Vincent Kompany is set to make his first appearance for Manchester City since Boxing Day as the defender has returned from injury.

City’s captain and center-back missed more than six weeks with a calf injury before Christmas, and then reaggravated the injury just minutes into his return at the end of December.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

However, Kompany has been back in training and manager Manuel Pellegrini said he is fit to play this weekend when City host Tottenham in a huge top-four matchup.

We’ll see what the starting XI is tomorrow – we’re not just thinking about one player and one game, we’re involved in a lot of competitions. Maybe we have a lot of criticism when we don’t play well but I’m happy with the squad over the whole season.

Every player must play a game when they’re 100%. Vincent has worked for three weeks with no problems. He played 45 minutes in a friendly game against the under-21s and I think he’s ready to play.

Kompany’s presence in the City back-line has been pivotal this season. In the eight Premier League games Kompany has started, City have kept seven clean sheets. In the 18 matches without the big Belgian in the starting lineup, City have kept just five.

[ RELATED: Diego Costa suffers broken nose in Chelsea training ]

With City just a point behind Tottenham, Kompany returns from injury just in time for one of the biggest matches of the season. Tasked with slowing down Harry Kane and Spurs’ high-flying attack, Kompany’s play could prove crucial to the Citizens getting a result.

Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs. Newcastle United

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  • CFC unbeaten under Hiddink (W5, D6)
  • Newcastle have just 6 away goals all season
  • Diego Costa: 6 goals in his last 7 PL matches

Chelsea look to extend their unbeaten streak under Guus Hiddink to 12 matches on Saturday when the Blues host relegation-threatened Newcastle (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).

The Blues’ last loss came under Jose Mourinho in December.

[ WATCH LIVE: Stream every PL game via Live Extra ]

Chelsea are up to 13th on the table, currently riding a run of 11 matches unbeaten in all competitions. Guus Hiddink is yet to suffer a loss after taking over for his second stint at Stamford Bridge in December, although draws have kept Chelsea from climbing further up the table. Diego Costa has had the hot-hand with six goals in his last seven appearances, but the Spanish striker will be forced to play with a mask after suffering a broken nose in training.

[ MORE: Hiddink has “no fear” of playing youngsters in Zouma’s absence ]

For Newcastle, the Magpies sit 17th on the table just one point above the drop. Their away form has hurt the club all season, as Steve McClaren‘s men have scored a league-low six goals on the road this year. The Magpies are coming off of a win over West Brom, and supporters will be hoping the club’s new January signings continue to produce. Seydou Doumbia could make his Premier League debut on Saturday, which would be a massive boost to the attack.

What they’re saying

Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink: “The status of being unbeaten sounds good but realistically we would have wished to have more victories, especially at home. And we have an opportunity to do so against Newcastle. They improved their squad with substance, some good signings, and they are more competitive now.”

Newcastle boss Steve McClaren: “In our home games we are starting to get a consistency in our performance and the way we play. We need to start transferring that to our away games and picking up points away from home – we owe it to the fans.”

Prediction

Newcastle have just two wins in their last 18 league matches away from home, and I don’t see that trend changing this weekend. Chelsea have looked a new team with Guus Hiddink in charge, and they stay unbeaten under the Dutchman. Chelsea 2-1 Newcastle United.

Pochettino enjoying best spell of career ahead of massive clash at Man City

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23:  Mauricio Pochettino (R) Manager of Tottenham Hotspur is seen on arrival at the stadium prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur at Selhurst Park on January 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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Mauricio Pochettino is getting ready for one of his biggest matches in charge at Tottenham, but he’s not letting the pressure get to him.

The Spurs’ boss talked down the importance of Sunday’s match against Manchester City (Watch live, 11:15 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra), and went on to say he is currently having the most enjoyable time of his career.

[ WATCH: Full PL match replays ]

Pochettino has Tottenham sitting second on the table, and they travel to the Etihad this weekend for a clash against fourth-placed Manchester City, who sit one point behind Spurs.

When asked if this weekend’s match could be a decisive result in the title race, Pochettino was unwilling to admit it was anything more than three points in a long campaign. However, when asked about the season as a whole, the Argentinian manager said he was having great fun at White Hart Lane, responding “Is it my most enjoyable time of career? Yes, maybe yes if I’m honest.”

[ MORE: Who are the Premier League title favorites? ]

Pochettino’s work at Tottenham has made him one of the most well-respected managers in the Premier League, with some reports tabbing him as the potential future boss of Manchester United.

Spurs have won six on the spin in all competitions, and will be confident facing a City side they smashed 4-1 earlier this season. With leaders Leicester facing Arsenal on Sunday, Tottenham could see themselves just two points off the pace if results go their way.