Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Wheatley to bolster the attack? Antony to start over Amad? McTominay at number ten? Hunger and desire to win please!

Ten Hag needs a win to add some positivity back before the FA Cup final!

Manchester United are back in Premier League action at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening as they welcome Newcastle United for the final match at the Theatre of Dreams this season. United lost 1-0 to Arsenal on Sunday which will give Erik ten Hag food for thought ahead of this clash.

United sit in eighth place and look set to endure their worst ever season in the Premier League unless they can beat both Newcastle and Brighton and Hove Albion in their final league matches this season. It could be that the Emirates FA Cup offers the only route into European football for United.

Newcastle sit in sixth place with it still possible for them to finish fifth in the league providing they beat United and Brentford and Tottenham Hotspur lose to both Manchester City and Sheffield United. United could also finish sixth but factors for that are against them. What a poor season.

Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1

Onana;

Wan-Bissaka, Kambwala, Evans, Dalot;

Mainoo, Amrabat;

Antony, McTominay, Garnacho;

Hojlund

Goalkeeper: Onana

Andre Onana has conceded 80 goals in 48 appearances for United this season, keeping 12 clean sheets in all competitions. Those numbers are terrible but it is not always the fault of the goalkeeper. With a fully fit defence in front of him, things might have ben so different this season.

The Cameroonian goalkeeper will be embarrassed by the display of United during his debut season at the club but rumours of his replacement in the summer seem to be chatter and nothing else. To write the player off after seeing how many injuries United suffered would be blaming the player.

I believe he has the attributes to lead at the club and with a strong and dependable defence, he could thrive. The United of old has a strong goalkeeper, like Peter Schmeichel, Edwin van der Sar and David De Gea. But leaders in the defensive line helped those goalkeepers to succeed.

Defenders: Wan-Bissaka, Kambwala, Evans, Dalot

United’s defence has been hit by injury for the majority of the season with the experience of Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane absent in the centre of the defence. Also the absence of Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia has left the fullback positions short.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka should be back on the right for United as he’s not a left-back. Likewise, Dalot should be playing on the left, despite him being better on the right. United need balance in those positions right now but more importantly, need to look to the transfer market to strengthen.

In the centre of the defence, with injuries still likely to affect this match, Willy Kambwala and Jonny Evans could partner against Newcastle with the likes of Louis Jackson and Casemiro on the bench as the Brazilian has not strengthened the defence in my opinion. United need signings in the summer.

Midfield: Mainoo, Amrabat

United’s midfield requires some attention in the summer with Casemiro seemingly more out of place at the club as the season progressed and with Sofyan Amrabat not likely to have any future at the club. Youth will be an option to strengthen but money will need to be spent for United to thrive.

Kobbie Mainoo has been a revelation for United’s midfield this season and his meteoric rise from the academy to the first team will have been mapped out for those also looking to make their mark at the club in a similar way. But it will not work for everyone at the club – which is a shame.

Mainoo should keep his place in the team against Newcastle as he does a job in the midfield. However, I would bench Casemiro if he is not playing in the centre of the defence with Amrabat starting alongside the United youngster. It should keep United balanced and able.

Attacking Midfield: Antony, McTominay, Garnacho

The attack is the main area where United have struggled this season. There is a distinct lack of creativity and many of the players seem to be doing their best. The quality overall is poor, especially when Bruno Fernandes is not playing – and he’s a player that is criticised for his performances.

Against Newcastle, it is expected that Fernandes will miss the match with a hand/wrist injury, which will be a major blow for United. In which case, Scott McTominay should start in his position with Mason Mount also being sidelines by injury again. It has been a problem all over the pitch for United.

Amad seemed to be injured late in the game against Arsenal, so Antony could once again start on the right for United. He will need to be at his best to help United get a result and I don’t think he has been consistent this season. Alejandro Garnacho should keep his place on the left-wing.

Forward: Hojlund

Rasmus Hojlund has one goal for United in his last ten matches following his latest injury. It is not great for United that the striker is not getting the service that he needs to fire for the club. But also, a lack of options up top for United is also a killer with Anthony Martial next to useless right now.

United need to strengthen the attack in the summer with at least another striker to take some pressure of Hojlund but then the wing and central attacking players also need to be looked at as to win matches goals need to be scored and this season United have been very poor doing that.

Hojlund is a top player for his age and will need to continue to develop if he is going to succeed at the club and his signing be a win for United. It seems that the club could be sorting out the summer at the moment, which is about time things get done on transfers early, with tournaments looming.

Substitutes: Bayindir; Amass, Ogunneye, Jackson; Eriksen, Casemiro, Collyer; Amad, Wheatley

United will have nine players on the bench against Newcastle. Many of them will be academy players with it likely that United’s injury crisis will not ease off before Wednesday’s match. Altay Bayindir will once again be the goalkeeper on the bench, not that he’s likely to play again for the club this season.

In the defence, Harry Amass, Habeeb Ogunneye and Louis Jackson could be the only players that Ten Hag could look to in order to reinforce the defence. Maybe injured players could return but it’s not likely. It has been a shame that United have been decimated by injuries this season.

In the midfield, Christian Eriksen, Casemiro and Toby Collyer could all be available to strengthen United, which could well be likely against Newcastle. In attack, an area where United are still weak, Amad Diallo (if not injured) and Ethan Wheatley could be available. United need a good summer!

Written by Paul


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I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.