Manchester United will be aiming to keep up the pace with Premier League leaders Manchester City when they take on Newcastle United on Sunday night.
Manchester United will be aiming to return to winning ways in the Premier League when they play hosts to Newcastle United at Old Trafford in matchweek 25.
After looking like potential title challengers, Manchester United have won just one of their last five league games, allowing Manchester City to open up a ten-point lead at the top, which could be 13 by the time the Red Devils’ game kicks off. But the performance in the 4-0 win over Real Sociedad in the UEFA Europa League earlier this week will have lifted the morale within the squad.
Newcastle United, meanwhile, are dawdling just above the drop zone, with Steve Bruce’s men only a few points clear of 18th placed Fulham. The Magpies head into Sunday’s game on the back of a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea but having managed to get the better of the likes of Everton and Southampton over the past few weeks, they will back themselves to cause an upset this weekend.
The reverse fixture at St. James’ Park in October last year saw Manchester United come back from a goal down to beat Newcastle United 4-1. And ahead of their latest meeting on Sunday night, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
Paul Pogba and Phil Jones remain sidelined for Manchester United while both Donny van de Beek and Edinson Cavani are likely to be available after missing the Europa League encounter with muscle injuries. Scott McTominay is also a doubt for the contest.
There will be changes made to the side that won in Europe, starting from goal where David de Gea is expected to reclaim his spot from Dean Henderson on the back of his heroics against West Brom in the last league encounter. Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly should, however, continue at the heart of the Manchester United defence.
Alex Telles impressed at left-back in midweek but is expected to make way for the in-form Luke Shaw on Sunday while there is no looking past Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back. The duo will look to provide a constant outlet with their forward forays and create chances for the attackers.
With still no Pogba and McTominay a doubt, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have to go in with Fred and Nemanja Matic as his midfield axis while Bruno Fernandes takes over the creative onus from the No. 10 role. Daniel James may have scored a goal in midweek but is unlikely to retain his spot in the lineup.
Instead, Mason Greenwood should move out to the right flank while Marcus Rashford keeps hold of his spot out on the left with Anthony Martial set to spearhead the Manchester United attack against Newcastle.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): de Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, Matic; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial
Newcastle United will be without four first-team players as they embark on their trip to Old Trafford this weekend. Key man Callum Wilson is set for an extended spell out on the sidelines as is defender Fabian Schar while Federico Fernandez and Javi Manquillo are also ruled out.
40% – Callum Wilson has scored 40% of Newcastle's league goals this season (10/25), the largest share of a Premier League side's goals for any player in 2020-21. Hamstrung. pic.twitter.com/EIJJlxIj7A
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 11, 2021
Steve Bruce has favoured a 4-3-1-2 formation in recent games and is expected to set his team up in a similar shape on Sunday with Karl Darlow the preferred choice in goal ahead of Martin Dubravka. Emil Krafth and Jamal Lewis should be the two full-backs who are likely to stay tight and compact at the back alongside Jamaal Lascelles and Ciaran Clark.
Isaac Hayden will sit at the base of the midfield and look to snuff out danger for Newcastle, allowing Jonjo Shelvey to go about in his attempt to create openings with his range of distribution. On-loan midfielder Joe Willock, who has impressed since joining in the winter window, will provide the box-to-box presence. Jeff Hendrick, who is back from suspension, is also an option for Bruce.
Miguel Almiron will look to pull the strings in the final third and make things happen with his movement and eye for a pass. Allan Saint-Maximin will play in a slightly more central role than he generally does but will continue to pose a threat nonetheless, with Dwight Gayle likely to partner him at the top.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Darlow; Krafth, Lascelles, Clark, Lewis; Willock, Hayden, Shelvey; Almiron; Gayle, Saint-Maximin
1. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.57
1. Manchester United to win Both Halves @ 2.75
- Manchester United have won four of their last five Premier League against Newcastle United, winning the last two by a 4-1 scoreline.
- Newcastle United have lost six of their last seven away matches in the Premier League. The Magpies have failed to score in five of their last six league games on the road.
- Manchester United have conceded the first goal in 11 games this season in the Premier League, winning as many as seven times in such games (D1 L3).
- Newcastle United have conceded at least two goals in six of their last seven encounters in the Premier League.
- Manchester United have lost just one of their last seventeen matches in the Premier League, with the defeat coming to bottom side Sheffield United last month.
Player to Watch
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 20, 2021
Who else but Manchester United’s talismanic midfielder. The 26-year-old has been a revelation since arriving at Old Trafford a little over a year ago and has been the driving force behind their strong campaign thus far. Following his brace in the midweek game against Real Sociedad, Fernandes has now scored 21 goals in all competitions this term and is the club’s leading goalscorer.
On Sunday, going up against a Newcastle United side that are likely to employ a deep defensive block, the Portuguese international’s vision and creativity, coupled with his eye for a goal will be crucial as Manchester United look to end their recent slump in the Premier League.
Manchester United 3-0 Newcastle United
Manchester United haven’t had the best of record at home this season and have been in a bit of a dodgy form of late. However, the midweek performance against Real Sociedad will serve as a massive boost for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men as they look to keep up the pace with their neighbours at the top.
Newcastle United, meanwhile, hardly threatened the Chelsea goal in their last game and with Callum Wilson ruled out, their task of getting a positive result at Old Trafford becomes that much harder. As a result, The Hard Tackle is predicting a straightforward win for the home team, with Bruno Fernandes likely to be a key contributor once again.