This coming Saturday Newcastle travel to Old Trafford for a 12:45 kick-off, showing live on BT Sport 1 with the impartial, lively and insightful analysis of Michael Owen.
The corresponding fixture last season was a 3-1 win to the home side, goals from Rooney (2) and Van Persie easily won the game before a late consolation penalty. Losses at Old Trafford are frequent for the Magpies, with the Newcastle’s December 2013 the first (and last) since 1972. Later in last season, a late Ashley Young goal snuck a away victory in a poor game.
Our opponents come into this game on the back of a winning three game steak this season. Hard fought, aesthetically challenging wins versus Villa and Spurs sandwich a comfortable 3-1 win in the Champions League. Questions remain about their relative paucity in the striking position, no new centre back and this transfer window’s tedious Real Madrid signing story. Their new signings in midfield seems to have slotted in well though.
As for Newcastle, an encouraging start against Southampton was mediated by conceding two poor goals. This was followed by a poor day in South Wales, with defeat looking likely before Janmaat’s sending off.
I’m bad a predictions, but I’m moderately confident this won’t be a good watch. In midfield I feel Newcastle will struggle to keep possession against the experience on offer. However, Manchester United’s attack is not at its best, particularly with Rooney’s poor form. I suggest it will take a while for Manchester United to break us down, but eventually we will relent, conceding two goals after 70 minutes of drabness. Newcastle’s best avenue would seem to be exploting Blind’s lack of height at cb, possibly through Mitrović’s ‘robust’ approach to English football so far. 2-0.
Or they could score early and thrash us. Or a nil-nil. Or the game gets called off because of flooding. Basically my predictions carry very little weight.
Craig Pawson will be looking to have a better game than his last, Liverpool’s somewhat controversial home win against Bournemouth. The tweak to the offside law was widely seen to be incorrectly applied to Benteke’s goal.
Possible Line Ups
Darmian – Smalling – Blind – Shaw
Schweinsteiger – Schneiderlin
Mata – Hernández – Depay
After his torrid time in South Wales, Janmaat is suspended, with Steven Taylor expected to fill in, either at RB or CB with Mbemba moving wide. With Sissoko still recovering from the strain he picked up against Swansea, Aarons may get a chance to come into the side. New signing Thauvin will have had little time to prepare, so I doubt he’ll start. Up front, many would like to see Mitrović given a starting chance, particularly in hope of holding the ball up better than Cissé. De Jong and Tioté will be available but Dummett is still out.
For the home side, few changes are expected to a winning side as Van Gaal is not thought to consider rotation for this one. Rojo is near a return, however the Man Utd fans in my office expect Blind to retain his CB after impressive performances. In the no 10 position, I suspect Hernandez may get some game time, but not a start. Van Gaal’s side will need to rely on the Mexican this season and a fixture where possession dominance is expected may suit him. Hernandez does have a knack of scoring against us, but then again…
“Januzaj’s goal ended his drought of 1,169 minutes in the Premier League. It was his first since April 2014 against Newcastle.”
–BBC Match Report for Aston Villa 0 – 1 Manchester United
Where to Watch/Listen
The match is televised live on BT Sport 1, with the main coverage starting at noon, but Matchday Live with Fletch and Sav is on for the prior two hours. Local commentary, as always, is on BBC Newcastle, with national coverage on BBC Radio 5 Live.
How do you think we’ll get on in this game? Have your say in our discussion thread.
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