After mixed starts for both at the start of the Premier League season, Newcastle United host Manchester United at St James Park.
St James Park, Newcastle, England
Key Stat: Manchester United have won their last five Premier League away games and are unbeaten in their last eight on the road.
Expert Verdict: A crushing 6-1 defeat at home to Spurs last time out asked plenty of questions of Manchester United's defence and continued an indifferent at best start to the season. The punishing loss, combined with Newcastle's better form of late, should give the hosts confidence to earn at least a point.
Paul Dummett, Ciaran Clark and Matty Longstaff all played for the under-23s on Monday night to prove their fitness ahead of this game. DeAndre Yedlin, Jamal Lascelles, Allan Saint-Maximin and Jamal Lewis are all expected to be fit. Karl Darlow will continue in goal with Martin Dubravka out, while Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie are long-term absentees.
Callum Wilson – Scored twice in the win against Burnley last time out as he looks to be the missing piece Newcastle have so desperately needed up front.
Allan Saint-Maximin – A goal and assist last weekend showed the start of a blossoming partnership with Wilson.
Jonjo Shelvey – When he plays well, so do Newcastle. He can set the tempo in the middle against the beleaguered United players.
Newcastle United needed penalties to beat Newport County in the Carabao Cup after Jonjo Shelvey’s late equaliser and they carried that momentum into a 3-1 league win against Burnley. Allan Saint-Maximin opened the scoring and Callum Wilson netted twice in a comfortable home victory.
Defenders:Emil Krafth, Jamal Lascelles, Federico Fernandez, Jamal Lewis
Midfielders:Jeff Hendrick, Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden, Allan Saint Maximin
Forwards:Joelinton, Callum Wilson
Anthony Martial is suspended after his red card last time out, while Edinson Cavani is not yet out of isolation to replace the Frenchman. Harry Maguire, down on form and struggling on and off the pitch, could be rested after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed he was being assessed for a slight knock.
Bruno Fernandes – Scored yet another penalty before United’s collapse last time out, and his goals and assists were key for United last season.
Marcus Rashford – More excellent work off the pitch has earned him more plaudits from a wide audience. Now he needs his on-pitch performances to match to cement his status.
Mason Greenwood – With Martial and Cavani unavailable, this is a big opportunity for the teenage striker to reiterate his worth.
Manchester United’s 6-1 home defeat to Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur last time out was their second defeat in three league games. They beat Brighton in between, as well as Luton and Brighton again in the League Cup, but Bruno Fernandes’ second-minute penalty could not help them in a crushing defeat last time out. Anthony Martial was sent off on 28 minutes, with United already by then 2-1 down, and they capitulated.
Goalkeeper:David de Gea
Defenders:Aaron Wan Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Alex Telles
Defensive Midfielders:Donny van de Beek, Paul Pogba
Attacking Midfielders:Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Daniel James
Newcastle claimed a 1-0 win when these teams last met at St James Park, but Man United won 4-1 at Old Trafford and did the double the previous season too. Matty Longstaff’s debut goal made the difference in the first meeting last season, but his opener in the return fixture could not set up a second win. Instead, Anthony Martial netted twice, either side of goals from Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford, in a dominant 4-1 win. Here are the results of the last five matches:
Dec 26, 2019: Manchester United 4-1 Newcastle United
Oct 06, 2019: Newcastle United 1-0 Manchester United
Jan 02, 2019: Newcastle United 0-2 Manchester United
Oct 06, 2018: Manchester United 3-2 Newcastle United
Feb 11, 2018: Newcastle United 1-0 Manchester United
Manchester United crashed to an embarrassing defeat before the international break and things have not got much better since with Harry Maguire’s horror-half-hour for England highlighting his issues this season.
Anthony Martial will miss the game through suspension after his sending off against Spurs, while Edinson Cavani is not yet available either.
Furthermore, they come up against a Newcastle team who won well last time out, and have Callum Wilson firing up front – having been crying out for a goalscorer for several seasons now.
And yet, Newcastle’s inconsistency makes them hard to back for this fixture.
They did win 1-0 last time these teams met at St James Park, and a similar result against a similarly beleaguered Man United team would not be hugely surprising.
And yet, United improved massively in the latter half of last season to prove what they can achieve with these players.
The chastening defeat to Spurs could be the beginning of the end for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – or it could be a turning point.
A win in this game will be key in ensuring it is the latter.
Manchester United are odds-on favourites to bounce back by beating Newcastle and can be backed at 7/10 with Betway.
Their defensive horror show last time they met could make the 3/4 from Betway on both teams to score a generous price.
United to win and BTTS is worth a best price of 12/5 with Bet365, meanwhile.
Bruno Fernandes is a best price of 8/5 with 888sport to score at any time – which is generous given his penalty record.
Manchester United need to bounce back but inconsistent Newcastle are difficult to bet on – the visitors can claim a key win.