Manchester United face what could potentially be a season-defining four days, with two home games against Everton and Newcastle United to come this week.
The Red Devils play Everton on Wednesday night before coming up against in-form Newcastle in Saturday’s early kick-off.
If United were to achieve maximum points from the two games, they would move ahead of both teams on the table - and depending on other results, could find themselves as high as second.
A welcome boost for David Moyes will be the return of Robin van Persie to the United squad. The Red Devils' boss confirmed Van Persie “has a chance” of featuring against Everton in his press conference this afternoon.
The Dutchman’s last game for United was the 1-0 victory over Arsenal, in which he scored the game’s only goal. Since then, United have slipped up twice in the league with away draws against Cardiff and Tottenham.
If Van Persie does play, it may mean Shinji Kagawa drops to the bench – with Wayne Rooney dropping into the number ten role. So far this season Moyes has been hesitant in playing Van Persie, Rooney and Kagawa in the same team, preferring to go for the strength of Marouane Fellaini or Phil Jones in midfield instead.
Speaking to the press today, Moyes maintained last week would have been a successful one but for the late goal conceded at Cardiff on November 24.
“The job is to keep it going, keep winning and keep on a good run of form," Moyes explained. "We've done that but as I've repeated myself many times we let in a late goal at Cardiff which turned what would have been a really good week into one that wasn't quite as good as we would have liked. But we still drew two games and won one last week."
United will recognise the importance of this week and certainly won’t be under-estimating the opposition. Everton haven’t lost since their trip to the Ethiad Stadium on October 5, while Newcastle are also unbeaten since their derby day defeat to Sunderland on October 27.
Tomorrow night will be the first time Moyes faces his former club since he left during the summer, but the former Everton manager believes he won’t be overcome with emotion - as he is not an emotional kind of person.
However, Moyes admitted he expects a mixed reception from the Everton fans.
He added: "I think it will be a mixed reception tomorrow night. The Everton fans understand their football and I think they'll understand I brought in a lot of good players there.”
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