Manchester United host Everton on Tuesday with both teams in desperate need of a result to keep their European hopes alive. A win would lift Everton into fifth place, while three points for United would put them within touching distance of Manchester City in fourth. For either side to continue the dream of finishing within the Champions League places, they need a win out of this one.
Here are nine questions ahead of this crucial matchup:
Will Zlatan's return be triumphant?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has sat out the last three matches due to suspension following a clash with Bournemouth defender Tyrone Mings. United have clearly missed his presence in the side, and they'll welcome him back to the pitch with songs and cheers in Old Trafford. But will he have an effect on proceedings against Everton?
Can Romelu Lukaku take advantage of United's suspect defense?
Liverpool aren't known for their defending prowess, but they kept Romelu Lukaku well at bay in the Merseyside Derby. He barely got a touch of the ball, and it was a frustrating day on the whole for the big Belgian striker. Against United he faces another suspect defense, but can he find more success than he did against Liverpool? Everton's hopes probably rest on him getting it done.
Is Paul Pogba fully fit?
Paul Pogba missed United's last two matches due to a hamstring injury, and sat out for France over the international break, but he's back in training ahead of the clash with Everton and is expected to play from the start. Hamstring issues can be tricky though, and it doesn't take much to re-aggravate a hamstring injury if players rush back too soon.
Pogba's presence is needed in United's midfield, and the match against Everton is vitally important, but there's always the risk of losing him for longer should he come back too soon. We won't know if he's fully fit until he steps out on the pitch, but it's a big question mark for United.
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Can Idrissa Gueye take command of the midfield once again?
When Everton and Manchester United last met, Idrissa Gueye was a huge factor in limiting Paul Pogba's influence on the game. He's been one of the league's best midfielders this year, leading the charts with tackles per game, and Everton will need him to be at his best if they're going to have any chance at beating United. Gueye's the key to Everton's midfield, and if he performs well they have a real shot.
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What role will Henrikh Mkhitaryan play?
Jose Mourinho blasted his players after the goalless draw against West Brom over the weekend, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan one of the players he singled out for criticism. Mkhitaryan's form has been spotty throughout this season, and he hasn't really found any consistent form since his slow start after injury. With Juan Mata out indefinitely due to injury, the Armenian attacking midfielder will likely start, but there's no telling how Mourinho will use him.
Will Ross Barkley step up?
Ross Barkley wasn't good against Liverpool, and he's struggled often when the pressure's been on this season. He's Everton's second top scorer after Romelu Lukaku, but with just four goals on the season, he has to contribute more for the Toffees to have a prayer of finishing in the top six. They need him to step up against United and start to show that he can be a player they can count on in the big matches.
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Which Anthony Martial will show up?
Anthony Martial's blown hot and cold this season for United. The expressionless Frenchman's had his struggles, and his form has been wildly inconsistent throughout. He's got the ability to be a world beater on any given day, but has shown a frustrating tendency to drift out of matches for long periods of time. United need his pace, dribbling ability, and quality in front of goal against Everton, but will he show up?
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How will Ronald Koeman set up his team?
With a spate of injuries to deal with Ronaldo Koeman's had to reshuffle his pack a few times to put out a decent team. He went with a back three against Liverpool, and it didn't work out too well, but with injuries to two of his best defenders, he may not have any other choice. A third member of the starting XI, midfielder James McCarthy, is also out due to injury, so Koeman has a tough ask on his hands.
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What's Mourinho got up his sleeve?
It's crunch time in the Premier League, and Manchester United fans expect results. The Red Devils currently sit in sixth place, and nothing less than three points will satisfy the Old Trafford crowd, much less the manner with which it's done. Mourinho has Ibrahimovic and Pogba back for this one, but he's got an injury riddled defense and a team that hasn't really been consistent all year. He'll have to conjure up something special to protect his back line and still give his stars freedom.