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FA Cup: Manchester United add to Everton's woes

Manchester United had few problems in seeing their way past Everton in the third round of the FA Cup on Friday and manager Erik ten Hag finally seems to be enjoying life at Old Trafford.

For the Toffees it was a case of more woe and the pressure continues to intensify for manager Frank Lampard, with his team already in the bottom three of the Premier League.

So there was plenty for both teams to take out of the game with the two sides facing key battles just around the corner.

United are turning the tide

United got off to the perfect start when Antony handed them a fourth-minute lead, but it took Everton just 10 minutes to get back on terms through Conor Coady.

However, the defender, who travelled to the World Cup with England, later turned the ball into his own net and United were able to press home their advantage from there, with Marcus Rashford scoring for the fifth-successive game when he netted from the penalty spot in second-half stoppage time.

It does seem strange for one of the world’s most high-profile clubs, but United appear to be flying under the radar.

Friday’s success was their seventh-straight win and they have suffered just one defeat since a 6-3 loss at Manchester City on 2nd October.

It’s eight-straight wins in all competitions at Old Trafford and their league position is looking quite rosy as they sit fourth, level on points with Newcastle but with a game in hand.

However, there are a couple of things that are worth noting to stop getting carried away.

Firstly, United have scored just 27 goals in their 17 Premier League matches, which is the lowest tally among the teams in the top nine.

And then the five victories they have posted since the World Cup break have come against Championship leaders Burnley in the League Cup, Nottingham Forest, Wolves, Bournemouth and now Everton.

They are 1/2 to claim a top-four finish this season, but those odds may lengthen after they face City at home on January 14th and head to leaders Arsenal eight days later, although they are the only team to have beaten the Gunners in the Premier League this season.

Plenty of trophy opportunities for the Red Devils

If Ten Hag could win a trophy and claim a place in next season’s Champions League then it would be classed as a pretty decent campaign.

They should take a big step towards claiming their first piece of silverware under the Dutchman when they face League One Charlton in the quarter-finals of the League Cup on Tuesday.

They are 3/1 to win that competition and, as the odds suggest, they look well placed to put that on their mantelpiece, even if Manchester City are 4/5 favourites.

But there are other opportunities too and they are 8/1 to win the FA Cup for the first time since 2016 after booking their place in the fourth round.

Also, don’t forget they are in the last 16 of the Europa League and they are 8/1 to claim that prize, odds that will surely tumble if they get through against Barcelona, who are one of two teams ahead of them in the market - favourites Arsenal, who could easily get distracted by a Premier League title campaign are the other.

The first leg of the Barcelona tie takes place on 16 February.

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Everton face more tough times

Frank Lampard would love to have the kind of opportunities United will have over the second half of the season at Everton, but it’s going to get a whole lot tougher for the Toffees boss in the next few weeks.

An FA Cup exit at Old Trafford was expected and their performance was far from disastrous.

There was a lot more spirit in evidence than there was when they were booed off the pitch following a 4-1 home defeat to Brighton in their last Premier League game.

But many expect Lampard’s remaining time at the Goodison helm to be limited and their league position will dictate his future.

And, as they sit in the bottom three, it’s not looking good.

Everton have not won any of their last eight games and that run included a 4-1 humbling at Bournemouth in the League Cup.

They have lost their last three at Goodison and next up are basement boys Southampton, so anything other than victory in that one would leave the former Chelsea and Derby boss in big trouble.

They then face another six-pointer at West Ham, where former Hammer Lampard can be guaranteed a hostile reception.

They are 11/10 to be relegated with only Bournemouth, Southampton and Nottingham Forest available at shorter prices, although they are 4/6 to avoid falling into the Championship.

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