The international break has provided Manchester United with a chance to regroup following their torrid start to the new season, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side desperate to bounce back when they travel to face Newcastle on Saturday evening.
Here is everything you need to know about this weekend’s clash at St James’ Park:
It’s been a solid, if unspectacular, start to the season for Newcastle in terms of results, though their performance levels have fluctuated from week to week in an unpredictable season thus far.
Newcastle opened the campaign with an impressive win at West Ham before a dreadful display saw them lose to Brighton at St James’ Park, a similarly unimaginative performance resulting in a fortunate smash-and-grab draw at Tottenham amid penalty controversy.
Victory over struggling Burnley before the international ensured it is seven points from four fixtures, however, and Steve Bruce will no doubt be pleased with his side’s position in the top half at present.
Callum Wilson has settled quickly with four goals already since signing from Bournemouth, whilst Ryan Fraser will hope his influence can increase after impressing for Scotland during the international break.
Allan Saint-Maximin’s signing of a new long-term contract is another major boost to a side now boasting more firepower than in recent seasons, the flamboyant Frenchman a hugely popular figure in the North East.
Man United: LWL
The pressure is continuing to mount on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United, who have begun the new season in disastrous circumstances, winning just once in three league fixtures and suffering embarrassing home defeats to both Crystal Palace and Tottenham.
That latter loss was the club’s joint-biggest in Premier League history as the north London side ran riot at Old Trafford, scoring six times with Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane ruthlessly punishing United’s defensive shortcomings.
A frustrating summer in the transfer window led to a deadline day splurge on four new faces, but the timing of the moves has only led to further criticism towards the club’s current management and much-maligned hierarchy.
Solskjaer faces a defining period in his reign with the Red Devils facing Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, RB Leipzig and Arsenal following this weekend’s trip to Newcastle, the vultures already circling following their poor performances.
The Norwegian also faces a major decision on Harry Maguire, the club captain looking horribly short of form, confidence and focus following his summer arrest in Greece, his fortunes worsening further following a first-half sending off for England this week.
Manchester United 4-1 Newcastle, 26th December 2019
Anthony Martial starred as United secured a thumping win over their North East rivals on Boxing Day, the forward scoring twice to move the club within four points of the Champions League places.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had fallen behind to Matty Longstaff’s opener for the visitors at Old Trafford, only for Martial’s near-post finish to draw the sides level.
Further goals from teenager Mason Greenwood – who crashed an effort from distance in off the crossbar – and Marcus Rashford put the home side in control, before Martial’s second of the evening sealed a comfortable victory for the Red Devils.
Predicted Line ups
Newcastle: Darlow; Krafth, Schar, Fernandez, Lewis; Saint-Maximin, Shelvey, Hendrick, Fraser; Joelinton, Wilson
Man United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; Matic, Pogba, Fernandes; Mata, Greenwood, Rashford
Who is the referee?
How can I watch?
UK and Irish fans can watch the game on Sky Sports Box Office.
What time is kick off?
Saturday October 17th, 20:00 BST.
Newcastle – 15/4
Draw – 16/5
Man United – 4/6