The Premier League’s seventh and sixth placed sides face off in Saturday’s 8 o’clock kick-off at St James’ Park, where Newcastle United take on Manchester United.
With both sides having suffered European disappointment during the week amidst a season of highs and lows thus far, each will be hoping for a positive Premier League result.
Using form, Here is our combined XI between the sides.
Newcastle vs Man United: Combined XI
Goalkeeper: Nick Pope – Newcastle
With Andre Onana’s blunders fresh on the mind after a calamitous display at Galatasaray in midweek, Nick Pope takes the number one shirt in our combined side.
The 31-year-old has been a solid signing for Newcastle since his arrival from Burnley, helping tighten up the Magpies at the back. Eddie Howe’s side had the joint-best defensive record in the division last season, with Pope a key part of that.
Pope, who has five clean sheets this season, was excellent in the midweek draw at PSG. His save from Bradley Barcola should be enough to make England manager Gareth Southgate take notice after recent omissions from the national squad.
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) November 28, 2023
Right-back: Kieran Trippier – Newcastle
Kieran Trippier wasn’t exactly the superstar signing many had envisaged when Newcastle were bought by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. But his performances have certainly suggested otherwise.
The England international has been a leader for Eddie Howe’s side and has been a consistent standout performer from right-back.
Last term, only Bruno Fernandes created more chances than Trippier and in this current campaign, no defender has produced more shot-creating actions (52 – ranks ninth in the whole league).
Centre-back: Harry Maguire – Man United
The last couple of years have been very tough for Manchester United’s Harry Maguire. Poor form, shattered confidence, stripped of the captaincy and booed by his own fans. Things haven’t been easy for the former £80m man.
🏴 Premier League Team of the Month pic.twitter.com/03ttsfIMae
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) November 30, 2023
But this season, as Erik ten Hag’s side have started to string some wins together during testing times for the club, Maguire has been a revelation.
Making the most of the club’s injury crisis at the back, the former Leicester man has worked his way back into the side and is producing the performances required to stay there.
Centre-back: Fabian Schär – Newcastle
Signed by Rafa Benitez during the Mike Ashley era, it’s likely that Fabian Schär never thought he would be a star defender for the Magpies in Europe’s most prestigious competition.
The Switzerland international has been a rock at the back alongside Sven Botman under Eddie Howe. Schär has played every minute in the league so far for Newcastle and averages 1.5 tackles and 3.2 clearances per game.
Left-back: Luke Shaw – Man United
In 2014, Luke Shaw became football’s most expensive teenager when he swapped Southampton for Manchester United for a £30m fee.
Fast forward nine years and that appears to be quite the bargain. Scorer of England’s Euro 2020 final goal against Italy, Shaw has been a mainstay for club and country over the last few years, establishing himself as one of the league’s best left-sided defenders.
So far this term, the 28-year-old has helped United to two clean sheets in four games, claiming an assist in Turkey on Wednesday, as he nears full sharpness after injury.
Midfield: Bruno Guimarães – Newcastle
Like Trippier, former Lyon man Bruno Guimarães has been an instant hit at St James’ Park.
The Brazilian has garnered acclaim from football fans across the country for his performances in the black and white stripes.
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) November 29, 2023
A truly consistent performer and fan favourite, Guimarães is in the 97th percentile for successful take-ons per match by midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues (1.76).
Midfield: Scott McTominay – Man United
Similarly to Maguire, United academy product Scott McTominay has often been regarded as a symbol for some of the club’s more trying times in the past.
But like his teammate, the midfielder has been doing his best to win Old Trafford over with some fine, industrious performances at the heart of the Red Devils’ midfield.
McTominay netted his fourth of the season in Istanbul, following goals against Sheffield United and Brentford, scoring twice in stoppage time to win it against the latter.
He also scored seven times in Euro 2024 qualifiers for Scotland. Only Romelu Lukaku (14), Cristiano Ronaldo (10), Kylian Mbappe (9) and Harry Kane (8) scored more. Esteemed company.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 29, 2023
Midfield: Joelinton – Newcastle
Another man who has been a workhorse in the engine room for his side is Joelinton – a former £40m flop striker.
Eddie Howe has transformed the fortunes of the former Hoffenheim man, whose redemption arc has propelled him to fan favourite status on Tyneside. Joelinton averages 2.3 tackles per game this year in all competitions for Newcastle.
Right-wing: Bruno Fernandes – Man United
Manchester United have had their fair share of ups and downs since Bruno Fernandes joined the club from Sporting Lisbon in January 2020. But most of those ups have been heavily contributed to by the Portuguese maestro.
Fernandes created the most chances in the league last season (119) and this term, the 29-year-old has already registered five goals and five assists.
With 7.58 progressive passes and 5.99 shot-creating actions per 90, he ranks in the 99th and 97th percentiles respectively of both attacking midfielders and wingers across Europe’s big leagues.
Most competitive goal involvements (goals & assists) by players for Premier League clubs since Bruno Fernandes' debut at Man Utd on 1 Feb 2020:
Mohamed Salah: 157
Harry Kane: 131
Bruno Fernandes: 126
Kevin De Bryune: 115
Son Heung-Min: 109
Phil Foden: 92
Riyad Mahrez: 90
— Opta Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) November 29, 2023
Left-wing: Anthony Gordon – Newcastle
After a slow start to life in the North East, Anthony Gordon has been one of the league’s surprise stars this season.
With five goals and three assists to his name in just 11 starts, Gordon has been the Magpies’ most productive player.
Regularly showcasing great dribbling skills and creativity, the St James’ Park faithful will be hoping the former Everton man can maintain this form if the club are to secure Champions League football again.
Forward: Alexander Isak – Newcastle
Newcastle’s second most productive player in the league this season has been Swedish striker Alexander Isak.
Alexander Isak has now scored as many Premier League goals as Zlatan Ibrahimović (17).
Super Swedes. 🦸 pic.twitter.com/6hfpKeQBIB
— Squawka (@Squawka) November 25, 2023
Only Erling Haaland (14), Mo Salah (10), Heung-Min Son (8) and Jarrod Bowen (8) have scored more goals in the Premier League this season than Isak (7).
The 24-year-old also scored his first Champions League goal of the campaign at PSG on Tuesday, taking his tally in all competitions up to nine. The Swede is rapidly becoming the main man for the Magpies.