Manchester United -v- Newcastle United
Old Trafford, Manchester
Sunday 21 February 2021, KO 19:00 GMT
Referee: Paul Tierney Assistants: Lee Betts, Neil Davies
Fourth Official: Lee Mason
VAR: Stuart Attwell Assistant VAR: Adrian Holmes
Manchester United welcome Newcastle United at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday evening. Fresh from their 4-0 victory over Real Sociedad in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will now be seeking to improve their position in the league after they saw Manchester City go ten points clear at the top of the league on Wednesday evening. United will have a big job on their hands to try and overcome that deficit at this stage of the season, especially after they topped the league only a few weeks ago. However, a series of poor results against Sheffield United (L), Arsenal (D), Everton (D) and West Bromwich Albion (D) saw United surrender their lead at the top of the table.
After United’s victory over Real Sociedad on Thursday evening, former Manchester United midfielder and BT Sport pundit Owen Hargreaves spoke about a conversation he had with Solskjaer in which the United manager supposedly stated that he was not happy with second place in the league as United should be winning trophies. This suggests that what Solskjaer says to the media and what he says to friends and former colleagues is very much different. If you think about it, if Solskjaer stated that he wanted United to win trophies to the media, they would create a seemingly negative storm to berate him endlessly as they know that so-called supporters of the club that want him sacked will create more additions to the story – negativity against United sells.
Manchester United: WDWDWD
Real Sociedad 4-0 W, West Bromwich Albion 1-1 D, West Ham United 1-0 W, Everton 3-3 D, Southampton 9-0 W, Arsenal 0-0 D
Newcastle United: LWLWLL
Chelsea 2-0 L, Southampton 3-2 W, Crystal Palace 2-1 L, Everton 2-0 W, Leeds United 2-1 L, Aston Villa 2-0 L
Top Scorers: 21 goals for Bruno Fernandes this season with Marcus Rashford scoring 17 sees United have the advantage for number of goals scored this season with Newcastle’s Callum Wilson scoring ten goals so far this season.
Manchester United Goals: 21 – Bruno Fernandes, 17 – Marcus Rashford, 7 – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Scott McTominay, 4 – Mason Greenwood, Daniel James, Paul Pogba, 2 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, Own Goal, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Donny van de Beek
United have once again started to turn a corner now being undefeated in the last six matches, winning three and drawing three. It might not be the best of form the the club but there is a positive, especially after the 4-0 UEFA Europa League victory over Real Sociedad on Thursday evening in Turin. United have scored 18 goals, conceded four and kept four clean sheets, which is good stead considering the matches prior to the last six matches, which saw United play poorly and struggle to score goals, which did continue after the 9-0 thrashing of Southampton a few weeks back. Solskjaer will be seeking to continue the positive as United seek to make amends for their Champions League and Carabao Cup exits this season.
Newcastle United Goals: 10 – Callum Wilson, 5 – Miguel Almirón, 3 – Joelinton, 2 – Jeff Hendrick, Jacob Murphy, Jonjo Shelvey, 1 – Andy Carroll, Ciaran Clark, Ryan Fraser, Dwight Gayle, Isaac Hayden, Jamaal Lascelles, Allan Saint-Maximin, Joseph Willock
Newcastle United are not in the best of form recently, winning twice and losing four times in their last six matches. Bruce’s side have scored a total of seven goals, conceding ten and keeping just one clean sheet. Newcastle sit in 17th place in the Premier League at this stage of the season, six points ahead of 18th placed Fulham, which could easily see them drop into the relegation places if they continue to draw or lose matches. They need to win in the Premier League in order to pull away from the relegation places. In their last two matches against United, the Magpies have lost by the same 4-1 scorelines, scoring the first goals of each match but then losing that lead and losing their matches, which could happen against for that wee club in the North east.
Team News: Two players ruled out for United with three players needing a late fitness test to see if they can play against the Magpies whereas the visitors have three players ruled out and one player subject to a late fitness test.
Phil Jones (knee) and Paul Pogba (thigh) have both been ruled out for the visit of Newcastle United but Solskjaer has many other options at this time. Edinson Cavani and Donny van de Beek both missed the 4-0 victory over Real Sociedad on Thursday evening with muscular problems and Scott McTominay came off on the hour mark in the same match and all three players will be subject to late fitness tests with them currently having a 50% chance of featuring against the Magpies. Amad Diallo made his debut against Real Sociedad and Shola Shoretire was on the bench for United, so if need be. both could be available for Sunday night’s match, despite the fact that the U23’s face Everton in the Premier League 2 on Monday evening.
Fabian Schar (knee), Callum Wilson (thigh) and Javi Manquillo (ankle/foot) have been ruled out of the visit to the Theatre of Dreams, which could be costly for Steve Bruce’s side. Federico Fernandez (thigh) is also out of action at this moment in time but he will be subject to a late fitness test and currently has a 50% chance of featuring against United. Jeff Hendrick will be eligible to feature against United after his suspension, so there could be some kind of boost for Bruce’s team, who will be seeking to get a result against United with them sitting 17th in the Premier League, six points from the relegation positions, which could see them return to the Championship next season, providing Fulham, West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United continue/start winning.
Predicted Starting XI: Edinson Cavani to lead the line if fit to start against the Magpies? Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood to support the attack? Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw back in the back four after being rested in the UEFA Europa League 4-0 victory over Real Sociedad?
Solskjaer has a few different options ahead of the clash with the Magpies. Phil Jones and Paul Pogba will miss the match through injury and Edinson Cavani, Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay will all undergo a late fitness test in order to play a part in the match. It is possible that they could miss the match, however, I have predicted that both Cavani and McTominay could start and that Van de Beek will miss the match, which is a shame as he could have got some vital minutes under his belt in the absence of Pogba. I think Cavani will lead the line, supported by Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood. McTominay and Fred in the midfield pivot positions, which they have excelled in. Luke Shaw and Victor Lindelof should also return.
Match Prediction: 51 matches played in the Premier League between United and the Magpies. United have won 30 times, drawing 14 with the Magpies winning seven times.
United and the Magpies have met 51 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 30 times, drawing 14 times with the Magpies winning seven times. United have scored 105 goals against the Magpies, conceding 52 goals. United were awarded two penalties, scoring one with the Magpies awarded three and scoring all of them. United have kept 19 clean sheets with the Magpies keeping 11. In terms of discipline, United have been shown 85 yellow cards and three red cards with the Magpies being shown 83 yellow cards and three red cards. After the 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion last weekend, United will be seeking to get back to winning ways and to try and bring down the ten-point deficit between them and Manchester City.
Earlier this season, United beat the Magpies 4-1 at St James’ Park in Newcastle. Luke Shaw scored an own goal in the second minute of the match which resulted inn United having to come back from behind. Harry Maguire found the equaliser in the 23rd minute, assisted by Juan Mata. Bruno Fernandes put United ahead in the 86th minute with Aaron Wan-Bissaka doubling United’s lead in the 90th minute – both goals assisted by Marcus Rashford. Rashford then scored six minutes into added time to seal the victory, assisted by Fernandes. At Old Trafford last season, it was another 4-1 victory for United with goals scored by Matty Longstaff in the 17th minute, then Anthony Martial scored a brace with Mason Greenwood and Rashford also scoring.
Manchester United 4-1 Newcastle United
Written by John Walker