Manchester United will face Everton at Goodison Park for the two clubs' opening game of the 2012/13 league season with all the attention on the Red Devils' much-hyped new signings - Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa.

The Toffees, on the other hand, have been much quieter on the transfer market but look to have made some smart additions, with Belgian forward Kevin Mirallas standing out. Unfortunately for David Moyes' side, the former Olympiakos striker is ineligible for this game.


Everton have always been a tough nut to crack for the big teams and United will be aware of that fact, especially after last season's thrilling 4-4 draw at Old Trafford. Moyes' side scored two late goals, in a three minute blitz, to earn the draw that effectively killed United's title chances. While pundits and United supporters will be eager to see how their two new boys blend in and contribute, Everton - renowned as slow starters - will be looking for a better start to the season than last year, when they lost eight of their first fourteen matches.

van Persie-Rooney
Manchester United have the top two goal scorers of last season in their ranks

Team News and Tactics:

Everton: David Moyes has a full strength squad available and will probably deploy a 4-2-3-1 formation at home against Ferguson's side. Tony Hibbert, John Heitinga, Phil Jagielka and United target Leighton Baines will line-up at the back, while captain Phil Neville and Marouane Fellaini should be at the heart of the midfield. Neville could also move to right back, at the expense of Hibbert, to accommodate another former United man in Darron Gibson.

The Toffees boss could start new signing Steven Naismith on the right of his attack, with Seamus Coleman giving the former Rangers star competition for the position. The remaining two spots in the midfield will go to Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar. The South African's link-up play with Baines has been impressive in the past and most of the home side's attacks are expected to be from the left. Nikica Jelavic, who was scoring at will last season, will be the lone striker up front.

Manchester United: Ferguson, meanwhile, will be without several key players, who all miss out due to injuries. His nightmare will be particularly virulent at the back, with Rio Ferdinand now reported as joining Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Phil Jones on the unavailable list. The absence of four defenders will mean midfielder Michael Carrick could partner Nemanja Vidic in the centre of the United back line. Frenchman Patrice Evra will retain his usual position on the left side of defence, while right winger Antonio Valencia is likely to reprise a right back role. Ferguson does have Brazilian defender Rafael at his disposal but the youngster may still be unfit after playing for his country in the final of the men's football event at the London Olympics 2012.

Ferguson does, however, have abundant attacking options at his disposal. Carrick dropping into the central defensive role means that one of either Tom Cleverley or Anderson will partner Paul Scholes in the centre of the park. The latter's impressive performances in pre-season might earn him the nod, particularly as Cleverly too was involved in the Olympics, for Team GB. Should Valencia drop to the right back slot, this means one of either Nani or Ashley Young will fight it out for a place on the right side of the attack. The Portuguese is the favourite for that role but with reports linking him to a move away from Old Trafford, Young has a good chance of beating him to the first team.

Wayne Rooney and Kagawa will occupy the other two spots in the side's attacking trio, with the England international set to occupy a central, False Nine position the Spanish national team deploy. The Japanese playmaker will start on the left wing but could regularly drift into the centre and make darting runs down the middle. Robin van Persie could start this game, if Ferguson feels he is fit enough, as the lone striker. However, since the Dutchman likes dropping to the flanks or deeper down the centre to hold up play, expect these three players to swap positions often as the match progresses.

Probable Line-up:

Everton (4-2-3-1): Howard; Hibbert, Heitinga, Jagielka, Baines; Neville(c), Fellaini; Naismith, Osman, Pienaar; Jelavic

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Valencia, Carrick, Vidic(c), Evra; Scholes, Anderson; Nani, Rooney, Kagawa; van Persie

Where to Watch Live (all times BST):

You can follow the game live from 7 pm on Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports HD 1 and Sky 3D. There is an hour-long build-up to the game on MUTV that starts at 7 pm.