United aiming to avoid dropped points against Everton

Not too many teams take points off of Manchester United, but Everton is one of the few.

The Toffees will head to Old Trafford for a meeting with the Red Devils on Sunday as they look to continue their fine run of form against the 19-time English champions.

Everton opened the season with a 1-0 defeat of Manchester United at Goodison Park, and the club stormed back from two goals down to claim in a point in a 4-4 draw in the corresponding fixture last term.

That draw derailed United's hopes of claiming a 20th league title, and manager Sir Alex Ferguson hasn't forgotten.

"It's a tough game on Sunday," Ferguson said at his pre-match press conference on Friday. "We were 4-2 up with seven or eight minutes to go. It was unexpected and we have to anticipate the unexpected in the run-in. That was a bad blow for us and it cost us the league [last season].

"Everton are very experienced and, if you look at their record, they've only lost three games this season [the same number as United]. They're obviously hard to beat."

United, who enjoy a nine-point lead atop the Premier League table, come into Sunday's affair on a 13-game unbeaten run across all competitions.

Everton is enjoying a sublime campaign as well, occupying fifth place with 42 points. The Toffees are in the midst of a five-game unbeaten in league play, and taking any amount of points from a game at Old Trafford would be a major coup in their quest for a Champions League spot.

Also vying for a Champions League position is Tottenham, which comes into the weekend holding down fourth place in the league with 45 points. Spurs will be put to the test on Saturday when they welcome Newcastle, resurgent after a sublime January transfer window, to White Hart Lane.

Arsenal and Chelsea, who are contending for the fourth Champions League slot, will be in action on Saturday as well. The Gunners, holding down sixth place on 41 points, head to the Stadium of Light to take on Sunderland while the Blues, retaining third place on 46 points following their loss to Newcastle last time out, are set to face Wigan at Stamford Bridge.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Manchester City looks to keep the pressure on first- place United with maximum points against Southampton at St. Mary's, Stoke City goes for its first league win since December 29 as the club hosts Reading at the Britannia, Norwich and Fulham, level on 28 points, square off in a massive clash at Carrow Road and QPR hopes to extend its unbeaten run to six games when it heads to the Liberty Stadium to face Swansea City.

In Sunday's lead-in to United's tussle with Everton, Aston Villa takes on West Ham at Villa Park. And in Monday's lone fixture, Liverpool hopes to inch closer to a spot in Europe with a positive result against West Bromwich.