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Ratings: Edinson Cavani and David De Gea saved United’s blushes against Newcastle with the points shared; Ralf Rangnick has a big job on his hands

Manchester United drew 1-1 with Newcastle United at St Jame’s Park on Monday evening. It was the first match in 16 days for United after the clashes against Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion were both postponed. Allan Saint-Maximin opened the scoring with a fine finish in the seventh minute of the match, which was a shambles defensively for United. A double substitution at half time saw United find their feet with Edinson Cavani scoring his second goal of the season to put United level. Burnley travel to the Theatre of Dreams on Thursday evening and United will need to be in much better form then.

United had a beak of 16 days between matches and that should have been an advantage for them, but from the moment the match started, it was a massive disadvantage. United looks lacklustre, out of form and out of sorts against the team that has won one match prior to this one, this season. In the seventh minute of the match, after many defensive errors, Allan Saint-Maximin, assisted by Sean Longstaff, opened the scoring which saw United’s defence unable to avert any damage and David De Gea left to watch the ball hit the back of his net. This was a terrible start for United. Rangnick needed to instil some discipline in this team.

The Magpies had the ball in the back of the net in the first half for a second time through Callum Wilson, but the flag was raised almost instantly, which would have been relief for United’s players. It was still a shambles that United did not hit the Magpies back and based in for performance in tis match, you could believe that United were the team that were threatened with relegation at this stage of the season with Newcastle playing their 19th match of the season this evening and United on their 17th match of the season after the Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion matches were postponed earlier this month.

In the first half of the match, United had almost 70% of the ball, having four shots on goal – one of those on target. The Magpies, with less of the ball, had four shots on goal – two of those on target. United just did not seem to be on the same planet as the home side in the first half and perhaps Rangnick will create his own hairdryer-like discipline in the dressing room to get this team awake for the second half. 16 days between matches will create rustiness, but it should not have been like this. These players were criticised by Gary Neville on Sky Sports during the break, which says a lot about har far the club has fallen.

At the start of the second half, Rangnick made a double substitution with Jadon Sancho and Edinson Cavani replacing Fred and Mason Greenwood, who were both not quite making the grade in the first half. The Magpies almost had the ball in the net for the third time, with United lucky with it not hitting the back of the net because of De Gea. Almost immediately after that, Marcus Rashford had a chance on goal, which could have seen United level but the shot not testing the goalkeeper enough to level the tie. United would need to be more clinical, which could happen with the changes that were made at the start of the second half.

United showed more promise in the second half than they did in the first but the Magpies were still the team that was battling for the win with United having more than one mistake in them. De Gea made a fine save to deny Newcastle from going 2-0 up. In the 71st minute, Cavani equalised for United, having two chances to find a goal, taking his second and making it count. It was a great finish for the Uruguayan, scoring his second goal of the season on his return from a tendon injury when was sustained during an international break. United needed to find a second goal to take all three points from this match.

Rangnick made his final substitution in the 78th minute with Nemanja Matic replacing Scott McTominay. United needed to find some steel to add to the midfield with Newcastle pressing to find a second goal to win the match. They had been testing United since the equaliser, and after the substitution, still did so. The Magpies has a great chance in the 87th minute of the match which saw De Gea make a diving save to deny them from what could have been the winning goal of the match. United might have to settle for the point from this match as there was not much opportunity for them to get the winner, at this point.

Six minutes were added at the end of the second half, with the game still level and all to play for. United had the ball in the midfield but they were unable to get anything going before Newcastle regained possession again. Martin Dúbravka almost copy Newcastle with a shambles of an error but United could not get any damage done to win the game, despite given a solid gold chance to. As the half was coming to an end, it was certain that United had earned just a point from this match. They will be back in action against Burnley at Old Trafford on Thursday evening, which is a must win match for United, who need the points now.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

His second half performance was much better than the first half. He made a number of saves to keep United in the match. If he had not been in this form this season, United would be in dire straits.

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20 Diogo Dalot

Started poorly with Saint-Maximin getting the better of him at times. He's an attacking right-back, which is what United need and he showed that in the build up to United's equaliser.

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19 Raphael Varane

Seemed rusty after his injury layoff, which was to be expected. He did not seem to add any steel to the defence, which was worrying.

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5 Harry Maguire

Exposed in defence against Newcastle. Overcommitted himself at times and did not have the ability to make it pay off. Booked in the second half. Needs to find some improvement as he should be better than this.

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27 Alex Telles

Seems to have lost the form that kept him in this team ahead of Shaw. He struggled to break through Fraser and seemed to get caught in possession a number of times.

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17 Fred

It was not a great performance from the Brazilian. He did make two key passes, completing three of five long balls but in terms of adding steel to the midfield, which is needed, he added nothing. He was replaced by Sancho at the start of the second half.

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39 Scott McTominay

His passing was a positive but United were not able to control the midfield, which is one of the major problems at the club this season. He had a shot blocked and lost the ball 13 times. He was replaced by Matic in the 78th minute of the match.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Had one shot on target in the first half, which was blocked. It was a big chance that he had, and he should have scored it. Did not seem to be in great form, which is understandable after 16 days between matches. He was replaced by Cavani at the start of the second half. Perhaps was unlucky to come off at this time, he was the best of a poor bunch of attackers in this match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Might be at risk of losing his starting place if his dire form continues. He did well in the run up to Cavani's goal. But that was all he had to offer on a bad night at the office for United. He should be better than this. But that can be said for a lot of these players.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Seemed to be hungry to make things happen for United, but he could not do that. He has been out of form for a while now and it does not look like things are going to get better anytime soon.

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7 Cristiano Ronaldo

Had little service in this match. This 4-2-2-2 formation is not working for United with the players that they have. He was booked for a clumsy foul on Fraser, which need not have happened. He won't be happy with this team performance this evening.

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Substitutes

25 Jadon Sancho

Replaced Fred 46'. Should have started. Was lively on the right as soon as he came on. Created a chance for Cavani, which is what was needed, especially in the first half.

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21 Edinson Cavani

Replaced Greenwood 46'. Should have started the match with Ronaldo, but his fitness might not have allowed that in this match. His ability as a striker is second to none. He scored his second goal of the season to earn a point for United.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced McTominay 78'. Came on with 12 minutes plus added time to stabilise the midfield. He did what was needed on a frustrating evening in the North East.

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Goals: Allan Saint-Maximin 7′; Edinson Cavani 71′

Assists: Sean Longstaff 7′

Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Telles; Fred (Sancho 46′), McTominay (Matic 78′); Greenwood (Cavani 46′), Fernandes; Rashford, Ronaldo

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Jones, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka; Van de Beek; Elanga

Bookings: Emil Krafth 66′, Joelinton 70′, Javier Manquillo 90+5′; Cristiano Ronaldo 58′, Bruno Fernandes 66′, Harry Maguire 68′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Ronaldo and Rashford lead the line against Newcastle; Greenwood and Fernandes supporting the attack – three points coming?

Manchester United return to action this evening as they travel to face Newcastle United at St James’ Park in the Premier League. It will be 16 days since their last match, a 1-0 victory over Norwich City following the postponements of the matches against Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion. United have a good chance to break into the top four with these matches in hand, as long as they are played at a time where United will have the time to play matches, not at a time where they could be in Emirates FA Cup or even UEFA Champions League action, which will more than likely be the case.

United, at the time of writing, sit in sixth place in the Premier League, five points adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal, 11 behind third-placed Chelsea, 14 behind second-placed Liverpool and 17 behind top of the league Manchester City. United will have a long and tough task of righting the wrongs that came at the end of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s time at the club. Newcastle sit 19th in the league and likely to find relegation to the Championship at the end of the season if this form continues. They have a -23 goal difference, three shy of Norwich’s goal difference, who are bottom of the league. Dire times for that wee club in the North East.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Telles;

Fred, McTominay;

Greenwood, Fernandes;

Rashford, Ronaldo

Substitutes:

Henderson; Jones, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka; Matic, Van de Beek; Cavani, Sancho, Elanga

Newcastle United:

Dubravka;

Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Krafth;

Fraser, Shelvey, Longstaff, Saint-Maximin;

Wilson, Joelinton

Substitutes:

Woodman, Gillespie; Hendrick, Murphy, Almiron, Anderson, White; Gayle

United and Newcastle have played a total of 53 matches in the history of the Premier League. United have won 32 matches, drawing 14 with Newcastle winning the remaining seven matches. United have scored a total of 112 goals, winning three penalties and scoring two of them. Newcastle have scored 54 goals, winning tree penalties and scoring all of them. United have kept a total of 19 clean sheets with Newcastle keeping a total of 11 in these matches. United players have been shown a total of 87 yellow cards and three red cards with Newcastle players shown a total of 85 yellow cards and three red cards.

In recent history, there have been 11 players to play for both United and Newcastle – Peter Beardsley, Keith Gillespie, Andy Cole, Ronny Johnsen, Nicky Butt, Guiseppe Rossi, Danny Simpson, Alan Smith, Louis Saha, Gabriel Obertan and Michael Owen. Of these players, Andy Cole is perhaps the best performing player and most effective signing – the only one coming from Newcastle for a fee (£6 million and Gillespie back in 1995. Michael Owen, who has since turned him back on United, despite winning his only ever Premier League title at the club, seeking to get Liverpool fans to love him again, was another.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Ronaldo aiming to shoot down the Magpies once again; Sancho and Rashford to flank him – Fernandes to supplement the attack?

Manchester United return to action on Monday evening as they travel to face Newcastle United at St James’ Park in the Premier League. It will be 16 days since their last match, a 1-0 victory over Norwich City following the postponements of the matches against Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion. United have a good chance to break into the top four with these matches in hand, as long as they are played at a time where United will have the time to play matches, not at a time where they could be in Emirates FA Cup or even UEFA Champions League action, which will more than likely be the case.

United, at the time of writing, sit in sixth place in the Premier League, five points adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal, 11 behind third-placed Chelsea, 14 behind second-placed Liverpool and 17 behind top of the league Manchester City. United will have a long and tough task of righting the wrongs that came at the end of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s time at the club. Newcastle sit 19th in the league and likely to find relegation to the Championship at the end of the season if this form continues. They have a -23 goal difference, three shy of Norwich’s goal difference, who are bottom of the league. Dire times for that wee club in the North East.

Previous meetings with Newcastle United and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Newcastle have played a total of 53 matches in the history of the Premier League. United have won 32 matches, drawing 14 with Newcastle winning the remaining seven matches. United have scored a total of 112 goals, winning three penalties and scoring two of them. Newcastle have scored 54 goals, winning tree penalties and scoring all of them. United have kept a total of 19 clean sheets with Newcastle keeping a total of 11 in these matches. United players have been shown a total of 87 yellow cards and three red cards with Newcastle players shown a total of 85 yellow cards and three red cards.

In recent history, there have been 11 players to play for both United and Newcastle – Peter Beardsley, Keith Gillespie, Andy Cole, Ronny Johnsen, Nicky Butt, Guiseppe Rossi, Danny Simpson, Alan Smith, Louis Saha, Gabriel Obertan and Michael Owen. Of these players, Andy Cole is perhaps the best performing player and most effective signing – the only one coming from Newcastle for a fee (£6 million and Gillespie back in 1995. Michael Owen, who has since turned him back on United, despite winning his only ever Premier League title at the club, seeking to get Liverpool fans to love him again, was another.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Newcastle United in the Premier League at St James’ Park on Monday evening…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea has grown in confidence this season, compared to last. Dean Henderson was expected to challenge him this season, like last but his battle with coronavirus, which led to fatigue has seen him play fewer matches, which could lead to a loan spell in January for the remainder of the season, or longer. It seems a shame as he is a capable goalkeeper in need of a confidence boost as he could be the number one at the club for the future, which was something that he was likely to reach at United anyway. If he leave the club permanently and makes the grade elsewhere, there will be some moaning from areas of the fan base.

De Gea is a competent goalkeeper but last season, the form was not with him. This season, the confidence has seemingly returned which has resulted in the Spaniard making the saves that he did years ago which led to him being named the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Season four times. United will know the calibre of the player and what he can do at the club, which is why he has started so many matches for the club. He will be rested at times, but he is still the number one goalkeeper at the club and it looks like that is not going to chase any time soon. Ralf Rangnick will continue to select him and see what happens in the not too distant future.

Defenders: Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Alex Telles

United’s defence is starting to find improvement so far this season. Diogo Dalot seems to have won his place as the right-back, considering the terrible form of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who has made himself look like he does not fit the style of play at the club. Dalot is a more attacking player and will provide width on the right channels moving forward. Alex Telles has put in some good performances with Luke Shaw on the sidelines to a head injury, which happened in consecutive appearances for him, needing time out of playing football to recover. It could well be that these two players will be the mainstay in the team.

Raphael Varane is back from injury and could be set to start against Newcastle, which is needed to find some defensive stability and to keep United from conceding poor goals, which they have done this season, especially without him on the pitch. It seems likely that he will partner Harry Maguire in the centre of the defence, which should go a long way in helping De Gea and set United up on the attack with both players getting forward a lot of the time. If United can save the problems in defence, it could mean a lot more for them this season. There is a lot of work to get back into the title race in the league but two cup competitions are there to take, if they can.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Fred

United’s midfield is not the best but they have been doing their jobs this season. With Paul Pogba injured and likely to be close to leaving the club and Nemanja Matic suffering injury and illness recently, Scott McTominay and Fred have been the main players in these positions. Donny van de Beek has been given a few chances, but in these two positions, he has not been the best. He will be taking on Fernandes for a place in the team and Fernandes offers much more than the Dutchman at this time – five goals and nine assists so far this season. It seems likely that Rangnick will continue with both McTominay and Fred.

The duo are not the best players to grace a midfield but they have been working hard. Fred, despite the criticism, has been a positive player but United cannot continue to rely on him to keep performing. The January transfer window could see new additions but the Winter transfer window is not the best to bring in new players, but business can be done for the right price and United will be expected to pay a lot of money for a new addition. So for now, McTominay and Fred will most likely be the trusted players to get the work down, despite not being the most ideal to do it all. We can’t have it all right now, so have to work with what United has.

Attacking Midfield: Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford

This is the area that all the goals should be provided, whether scoring or assisting. Last season, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford were streets ahead in terms of scoring and assisting and the former is streets ahead at this stage of the season with the latter lacking. Jadon Sancho has scored just two goals for United – both of them coming under the leadership of Michael Carrick, who has now left the club. It is important that the players in these roles are creating and assisting the goals, but also that they help when United are under attack themselves and that the players behind them also contribute.

Fernandes has not had the best season, facing criticism from the usual suspects who will always give the players who are not pulling their weight more slack, such as Anthony Martial, who has been in such poor form this season and last. In fact, he’s had two good seasons at the club but his ‘fans’ will always find the excuses for him, yet not do that for players who have been carrying the club with people like Martial not committed to the cause. Rashford will need to start putting in the work to find some form, otherwise he will cut a rather frustrated figure on the bench as other will take their chance. Sancho has improved post-Solskjaer too.

Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo

The in form Portuguese superstar has scored 13 goals and two assists so far this season and is the current top scorer, with compatriot Bruno Fernandes and forward rival Mason Greenwood both scoring five goals, although Fernandes has nine assists to Greenwood’s two. Ronaldo has given his all for United since his return and starting against Newcastle will be his aim as he scored a brace against the club on his second debut for United back in September. Some suggest that United rely on Ronaldo but the same people would be moaning if the player was benched, which has happened a few times this season.

Ronaldo has an eye for a goal but will also create space for other attacking players in the squad. If Ronaldo and Cavani actually start together, United will have two prime finishers on the pitch at the same time. United have no problems scoring the goals – the main problem is the creativity and getting the ball up to the finishers, which has been shown recently, despite United not kicking a ball for over a fortnight. Getting that problem sorted will change the fortunes of the club. Having two games in hand at this time will be a benefit for United, but only if they can find the swashbuckling form they were once known for.

Substitutes: Dean Henderson; Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones, Luke Shaw; Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek; Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani

Nine substitutes can be named on the bench in the Premier League with just three of them being used in a match. Rangnick has shown support for having five substitutes, which has been in play in the Carabao Cup, UEFA Champions League and will be in effect for the Emirates FA Cup next month. Whether the rules are changes, remains to be seen. Dean Henderson will be expected to be on the bench for this match, but if there is a chance of him leaving the club in January, Tom Heaton could stand in for him with De Gea expected to start the match with his form significantly better than it was last season at the club.

In defence, Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones and Luke Shaw could be available with Eric Bailly selected for the Ivory Coast squad for the African Cup of Nations, it seems likely that he will not be available for much of January, if his country do well. In midfield, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek could be called upon with the midfield labelled as a problem area at the club at this time, which might be rectified during the January transfer window. In attack, with Ronaldo, Sancho and Rashford all starting, Rangnick will have Mason Greenwood and Edison Cavani available, as he confirmed Paul Pogba is the only injured player at this time.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Rangnick’s United need to find their Christmas spirit to help Newcastle back to the Championship

Newcastle United -v- Manchester United

Premier League

St James’ Park, Newcastle

Monday 27 December 2021, KO 20:00 GMT

Referee: Craig Pawson Assistants: Ian Hussin, Darren Cann

Fourth Official: Anthony Taylor

VAR: Peter Bankes Assistant VAR: Timothy Wood

Manchester United return to action on Monday evening as they travel to face Newcastle United at St James’ Park in the Premier League. It will be 16 days since their last match, a 1-0 victory over Norwich City following the postponements of the matches against Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion. United have a good chance to break into the top four with these matches in hand, as long as they are played at a time where United will have the time to play matches, not at a time where they could be in Emirates FA Cup or even UEFA Champions League action, which will more than likely be the case.

United, at the time of writing, sit in sixth place in the Premier League, five points adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal, 11 behind third-placed Chelsea, 14 behind second-placed Liverpool and 17 behind top of the league Manchester City. United will have a long and tough task of righting the wrongs that came at the end of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s time at the club. Newcastle sit 19th in the league and likely to find relegation to the Championship at the end of the season if this form continues. They have a -23 goal difference, three shy of Norwich’s goal difference, who are bottom of the league. Dire times for that wee club in the North East.

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WDWWDW

Norwich City 1-0 W, Young Boys 1-1 D, Crystal Palace 1-0 W, Arsenal 3-2 W, Chelsea 1-1 D, Villarreal 2-0 W

Goals: 13 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 5 – Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, 3 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Fred, Jesse Lingard, Jadon Sancho, 1 – Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek

Assists: 9 – Bruno Fernandes, 7 – Paul Pogba, 3 – Luke Shaw, 2 – Mason Greenwood, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Cristiano Ronaldo 1 – Fred, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Raphael Varane

Newcastle United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: LLLWDL

Manchester City 4-0 L, Liverpool 3-1 L, Leicester City 4-0 L, Burnley 1-0 W, Norwich City 1-1 D, Arsenal 2-0 L

Goals: 6 – Callum Wilson, 3 – Allan Saint-Maximin, 1 – Isaac Hayden, Jeff Hendrick, Joelinton, Jamaal Lascelles, Sean Longstaff, Javier Manquillo, Jacob Murphy, Jonjo Shelvey

Assists: 3 – Allan Saint-Maximin, 2 – Javier Manquillo, Matt Ritchie, 1 – Ciaran Clark, Ryan Fraser, Joelinton, Emil Krafth, Jacob Murphy, Fabian Schär

Previous meetings with Newcastle United and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Newcastle have played a total of 53 matches in the history of the Premier League. United have won 32 matches, drawing 14 with Newcastle winning the remaining seven matches. United have scored a total of 112 goals, winning three penalties and scoring two of them. Newcastle have scored 54 goals, winning tree penalties and scoring all of them. United have kept a total of 19 clean sheets with Newcastle keeping a total of 11 in these matches. United players have been shown a total of 87 yellow cards and three red cards with Newcastle players shown a total of 85 yellow cards and three red cards.

In recent history, there have been 11 players to play for both United and Newcastle – Peter Beardsley, Keith Gillespie, Andy Cole, Ronny Johnsen, Nicky Butt, Guiseppe Rossi, Danny Simpson, Alan Smith, Louis Saha, Gabriel Obertan and Michael Owen. Of these players, Andy Cole is perhaps the best performing player and most effective signing – the only one coming from Newcastle for a fee (£6 million and Gillespie back in 1995. Michael Owen, who has since turned him back on United, despite winning his only ever Premier League title at the club, seeking to get Liverpool fans to love him again, was another.

Team News: Just one injury absentee for United with up to six players also returning from various problems. Newcastle have four players out; one suspended, three injured.

Paul Pogba (Thigh) is the only injured player at this time at United. It is expected that he could be fit by the 10 January 2022, if he ever plays for the club again. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Knee) and Raphaël Varane (Thigh) are expected to be back in contention for Monday’s clash with Newcastle but currently have a 75% chance of featuring. Edinson Cavani (Tendon), Victor Lindelof (Chest/Abdominal) and Anthony Martial (Knee) all have 50% chances of featuring against the Magpies. Juan Mata (Illness) was an absentee, despite United’s two matches against Brentford and Brighton being postponed but he has been pictured back in training recently.

Isaac Hayden (Suspension) will miss the clash with United after amassing five yellow cards so far this season. Paul Dummett (Calf/Shin/Heel), Jamal Lewis (Thigh) and Federico Fernandez (Thigh) have all been ruled out due to injury. Javier Manquillo (Illness) has a 75% chance of featuring for his club at St James’ Park on Monday evening whilst Jonjo Shelvey (Muscular) has a 50% chance of featuring against United. This is not a good period for the ‘richest club in the Premier League’ with relegation to the Championship a likelihood this season, unless the performances and the results improve. The Magpies have lost their last three matches.

Predicted Starting XI: Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho to start against

Ralf Rangnick will have a full team, minus Paul Pogba to select from for this match, 16 days after the club beat Norwich City. It seems that United will be starting afresh in this match and could be rusty ahead of their first match during this Festive period. United will be back in action just three days later as they welcome Burnley to the Theatre of Dreams with still one more match to go before the club reaches the half way point of the season, which if the Brentford and Brighton matches were not postponed, would have come against Newcastle. United were not at their best against Norwich and will need to find some improvement in this match and beyond.

David De Gea will be seeking to keep his position as the main goalkeeper in the team and he’s done everything that he needs to do to claim that at this time. In defence, Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles should keep their places at fullback with Raphaël Varane returning from injury parter Harry Maguire in the centre of the defence. Scott McTominay and Fred should start in the midfield with Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford starting in the three attacking positions behind the striker. Cristiano Ronaldo should keep his place as the main striker against Newcastle with Edison Cavani able to take a place on the bench, he might not be fit to start.

Match Prediction: United and Newcastle have met 53 times in the Premier League with United winning 32 times, drawing 14 times with the Magpies winning just seven times. United should win this match.

Earlier this season, United beat Newcastle 4-1 at Old Trafford. It was Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to United and he did well on that day, scoring a brace in this defeat for a club that has supposedly become the richest the Premier League. Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard scored the other goals on that day. Last season, United beat the Magpies 3-1 at Old Trafford with Marcus Rashford, Daniel James and Fernandes scoring the goals. At St James’ Park, it was a 4-1 victory for United with Harry Maguire, Fernandes, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Rashford scoring the goals. United need to do the double over the club again this season.

Newcastle are one of the worst teams in the Premier League this season, earning their first win of the season at the start of December beating Burnley 1-0. Since that victory, they have lost to Leicester City, Liverpool and Manchester City, conceding 11 goals and scoring just once. With United in much better form following the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Eddie Howe’s side will not be looking forward to another poor result, which is the likelihood here, despite the fact that United last played a match 16 days prior to this one, if it does in fact go ahead. It could well be curtains for Newcastle, which would be hilarious.

Newcastle United 0-3 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Ronaldo returns with a brace in Magpies victory; Fernandes and Lingard also score, Pogba gets two assists, Shaw gets one – top of the league

Manchester United beat Newcastle United 4-1 at Old Trafford in the Premier League. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring in added time at the end of the first half, scoring his 119th goal for United. The Magpies equalised through Javier Manquillo in the 56th minute of the match before Ronaldo sealed his brace six minutes later. Bruno Fernandes scored a stunner in the 80th minute with Jesse Lingard getting on the scoresheet in added time at the end of the match. Paul Pogba got two assist with Luke Shaw getting the other. United will face Young Boys in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. Top of the league.

The match started well for United, who immediately got on the attack with Cristiano Ronaldo leading the line for his club, seeking to build on the 118 goals he has already scored for United between 2003 and 2009 before leaving for Real Madrid. United had the majority of possession but did little with it against this Newcastle side who were defending well. United have 15 shots in the first half, just three shots on target with 434 touched of the ball. The Magpies seemed to be tough to break down, despite the time spent on the ball by United. It is matches like this that will be problematic for United, despite the quality on the pitch.

The opening goal of the match came in added time at the end of the first half. Mason Greenwood had the ball when running into the box from the right. His shot on goal bounced off Freddie Woodman and Ronaldo was lying in wait just a yard out to send the ball into the back of the net. It was his 119th goal for United, 4,507 days since his last which was the opening goal against Manchester City, a 2-0 victory on the 10 May 2009. It may not have been a spectacular goal for Ronaldo’s second debut, but it put United ahead against the Magpies, which is a great start – but United needed to be more penetrative in the second half of the match.

United started to attack the Magpies from that start of the second half, but never got there with another goal before the equaliser was scored in the 56th minute of the match after Javier Manquillo beat David De Gea with an Allan Saint-Maximin assist, which took away the celebration, for a short period of time at least. Ronaldo then scored his second goal of the day in the 62nd minute, running from outside of the box to beat Woodman for the second time in this match, Luke Shaw with the assist. 120 goals for Ronaldo at United now, just with more than four and a half thousand days between goals. What a second debut for United.

In the 66th minute of the match, Solskjaer made his first substitution with Jesse Lingard replacing Jadon Sancho, who had been playing a good game in his second start for the club as he is adapting to the Premier League. The Magpies were seemingly looking dejected that they had been battled out of the match once again with Ronaldo restoring United’s lead. There were a few opportunities though, but nothing to really write home about. United extended their lead once again in the 80th minute with Greenwood on the attack, but being crowded out in the box, passing to Bruno Fernandes on the edge, who scored spectacularly from range.

It was Fernandes’ fourth goal of the season, assisted by Pogba, his sixth assist of the season – both feats achieved in just four Premier League matches so far this season. It could be a very good season for United if things continue like this. With five minutes of the match remaining, Solskjaer made a double substitution with Donny van de Beek replacing Fernandes and Anthony Martial replacing Greenwood. It was not over for United though as Lingard opened up his account this season, scoring in the second minute of added time, assisted by Pogba, his seventh assist of the season. It was a good win for United, who sit top of the league.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Looked confident. Conceded one goal in the second half, made two saves - one from inside the box. His distribution was great with 100% of his balls finding a teammate. To have a confident De Gea is going to inspire the players ahead of him this season.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Seemed sloppy at times. Made one clearance, blocked one shot, made two interceptions and four tackles. Also won four of five ground duels, winning none of two aerial duels. Lost the ball nine times, made one key pass, failed with two crosses and was 50% successful with his long balls. I'd like to see more attacking play from him which would benefit this team.

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19 Raphael Varane

Cracking signing. The second appearance for United and another great performance. Made three clearances, one interception and three tackles. Was not dribbled past. Won all of his ground (three) and aerial (five) duels but lost the ball six times. 91.1% passing success, had two shots off target, missing one big chance. A great partner for Maguire.

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5 Harry Maguire

Perhaps left United open for the equaliser. Made four clearances, blocked one shot, made two tackles and won 50% of his ground duels. Lost the ball twice and committed one foul. Successful with all three long balls and had one shot on target. No longer the defender carrying this defence.

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23 Luke Shaw

Got his first assist of the season. Blocked one shot, made two tackles and committed one error which led to a shot. Won all three ground duels, played four key passes, had 92.1% pass success, connected with three from 11 crosses, which needs improvement, creating two big chances. He was also successful with one dribble. He's starting another good season, which could be a great one for him.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Disciplined but needed help at times. Successful with four of five long balls, made two key passes, was an everlasting presence in the midfield. Had one shot off target and another blocked. Lost the ball 11 times, committed one foul and was fouled once. Made three tackles and was dribbled past once. It's a shame United only have him experienced in the defensive midfield position.

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6 Paul Pogba

Quietly did what he needed to do. Claimed two more assists. 92% pass success, three key passes, successful with nine of 12 long balls, breaded one big chance. Committed four fouls - booked for one of them. Made two tackles and was dribbled past twice. Great that he can perform in a midfield two.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Got his foot in the match eventually. Helped to create Ronaldo's first goal, with Woodman spilling his shot before the Portuguese tapped it in. One successful cross (of three), successful with three long balls, two shots on target, made one tackle but lost the ball 13 times. He's learning his place at the club, which is positive with him.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Scored his fourth goal of the season. 82.1% pass success, two key passes, one of two long balls successful, one big chance created. Cracking ability to be on the edge of the box at the right time, beating Woodman from range. One shot on target, three off and one blocked. Committed one foul ad was fouled once. The Portuguese magnifico now has another in the team.

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25 Jadon Sancho

The England winger played well against the Magpies. His pass success rate was 88.9%, he made two key passes, had one shot off target and one blocked, missing one big chance. He lost the ball 12 times and was dribbled past twice. He is still finding his feet in the Premier League and will settle in time.

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7 Cristiano Ronaldo

MOTM on his Old Trafford return. Two goals scored, one a simple tap-in, the other a glimpse of the past. Two shots on target, two off target and two blocked. 86.7% pass success. One key pass created. Lost the ball 11 times, but led from the front and was there for United to take the lead and regain it after the equaliser. Cracking second debut.

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Substitutes

14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Sancho 66'. Got his first goal of the season. Lost the ball three times. Played his part in the match before his goal. Good to see him score for United again.

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34 Donny van de Beek

Replaced Fernandes 85'. Had a five-minute cameo in his first appearances this season. Had two touches of the ball, losing possession once. Needs more time on the pitch to find his feet. Brought on to provide energy to keep the Magpies beaten.

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9 Anthony Martial

Replaced Greenwood 85'. Same as Van de Beek with a five-minute cameo. Made four touches, losing possession twice. Helped press the Magpies though.

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Goals: Cristiano Ronaldo 45+2′, 62′, Bruno Fernandes 80′, Jesse Lingard 90+2′; Javier Manquillo 56′

Assists: Luke Shaw 62′, Paul Pogba 80′, 90+2′; Allan Saint-Maximin 56′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Matic, Pogba; Greenwood (Martial 85′), Fernandes (Van de Beek 85′), Sancho (Lingard 66′); Ronaldo

Substitutes Not Used: Heaton; Lindelof, Bailly, Dalot; Mata, Fred

Bookings: Paul Pogba 60′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Cristiano Ronaldo starts for Manchester United; Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho on the flanks

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action when they welcome Newcastle United to Old Trafford in a traditional 3pm kick-off this afternoon. It was something that was lacking last season for United with few traditional Saturday afternoon matches because of a mixture of playing in the UEFA Europa League and matches being selected for television in the United Kingdom. This match has not been selected for TV in the UK, which is a shame as it will mark the return to the Theatre of Dreams of Cristiano Ronaldo, who re-signed for the Old Trafford club during the summer.

The first international break of the new season has just finished, which is always a daunting though so early into the new season with only three Premier League matches played before a break in the season, which then results in the return of the UEFA Champions League and the Carabao Cup in the coming weeks with United returning to the elite European competition on Tuesday evening, then starting their pursuit of the League Cup the following Wednesday. This is the crucial point of the season with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seeking to ensure he has enough players in rotation for the upcoming matches.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw;

Matic, Pogba;

Greenwood, Fernandes, Sancho;

Ronaldo

Substitutes:

Heaton; Lindelof, Bailly, Dalot; Mata, Lingard, Fred, Van de Beek; Martial

Newcastle United:

Woodman;

Hayden, Clark, Lascelles, Manquillo;

Willock, S. Longstaff, Almiron, Ritchie;

Saint-Maximin, Joelinton

Substitutes:

Darlow, Schar, Lewis, Hendrick, Krafth, Fernandez, Murphy, Gayle, White

United and Newcastle have met a total of 52 times in the Premier League. United have won a total of 31 matches, drawing 14 with the Magpies winning seven times. United have scored 108 goals, winning three penalties and scoring two of them. The Magpies have scored 53 goals, winning three penalties and scoring all of them. United have kept 19 clean sheets with the Magpies keeping 11. A total of 171 yellow cards have bene shown in matches between United and Newcastle with the Red Devils shown 86 and the Magpies shown 85. There have been six red cards – three for each team.

Last season, United beat Newcastle 3-1 at Old Trafford and 4-1 at St Jame’s Park. In recent history, there have been 11 players to play for both United and Newcastle – Peter Beardsley, Keith Gillespie, Andy Cole, Ronny Johnsen, Nicky Butt, Guiseppe Rossi, Danny Simpson, Alan Smith, Louis Saha, Gabriel Obertan and Michael Owen. Of these players, Andy Cole is perhaps the best performing player and most effective signing – the only one coming from Newcastle for a fee (£6 million and Gillespie back in 1995. Michael Owen, who has since turned him back on United, despite winning his only ever Premier League title at the club, was another.

Written by John Walker

Predicted XI: Cristiano Ronaldo to excite the Old Trafford crowd on his return; Jadon Sancho on the bench?

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action when they welcome Newcastle United to Old Trafford in a traditional 3pm kick-off on Saturday afternoon. It was something that was lacking last season for United with few traditional Saturday afternoon matches because of a mixture of playing in the UEFA Europa League and matches being selected for television in the United Kingdom. This match has not been selected for TV in the UK, which is a shame as it will mark the return to the Theatre of Dreams of Cristiano Ronaldo, who re-signed for the Old Trafford club during the summer.

The first international break of the new season has just finished, which is always a daunting though so early into the new season with only three Premier League matches played before a break in the season, which then results in the return of the UEFA Champions League and the Carabao Cup in the coming weeks with United returning to the elite European competition on Tuesday evening, then starting their pursuit of the League Cup the following Wednesday. This is the crucial point of the season with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seeking to ensure he has enough players in rotation for the upcoming matches.

Previous meetings with Newcastle United and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Newcastle have met a total of 52 times in the Premier League. United have won a total of 31 matches, drawing 14 with the Magpies winning seven times. United have scored 108 goals, winning three penalties and scoring two of them. The Magpies have scored 53 goals, winning three penalties and scoring all of them. United have kept 19 clean sheets with the Magpies keeping 11. A total of 171 yellow cards have bene shown in matches between United and Newcastle with the Red Devils shown 86 and the Magpies shown 85. There have been six red cards – three for each team.

Last season, United beat Newcastle 3-1 at Old Trafford and 4-1 at St Jame’s Park. In recent history, there have been 11 players to play for both United and Newcastle – Peter Beardsley, Keith Gillespie, Andy Cole, Ronny Johnsen, Nicky Butt, Guiseppe Rossi, Danny Simpson, Alan Smith, Louis Saha, Gabriel Obertan and Michael Owen. Of these players, Andy Cole is perhaps the best performing player and most effective signing – the only one coming from Newcastle for a fee (£6 million and Gillespie back in 1995. Michael Owen, who has since turned him back on United, despite winning his only ever Premier League title at the club, was another.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Newcastle United in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David De Gea has started all three matches in the Premier League this season, conceding two goals, keeping one clean sheet and performing a number of good saves to deny United’s opposition from scoring, which is what he is expected to do for the Old Trafford club. United need to make a statement regarding their home form this season as all six defeats in the Premier League last season were at the Theatre of Dreams with United performing so much better away from home, breaking Arsenal’s 27-match unbeaten away record in their 1-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers before the international break.

The Spaniard is in good form at this stage of the season and will probably be tested by both Tom Heaton and Dean Henderson at stages the season, at least when the latter is fit after his coronavirus struggle with saw him suffer from fatigue and not actually featuring for the club during the pre-season campaign this summer. De Gea will be happy to have started the season and will be seeking to secure his number one shirt at the club with his performances. That said, there will most likely be some form of rotation during the UEFA Champions League and the Carabao Cup this month, not to mention the Premier League with United playing six times this month.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

The defence is much stronger this season than it was last season. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw should retain their places in the fullback roles in this back four as what they add, both defensively and offensively is a benefit for the team, despite Wan-Bissaka not getting any plaudits for his attacking style in the team. United tend to attack on the left with Shaw providing the width in that area. It might be predictable at times and there is hope that Wan-Bissaka can learn at attack on his flank, which would be good for the player in the right-wing role too. Going forward, these roles are set in stone with backup from Diogo Dalot and Alex Telles.

In the central defensive positions, Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire should retain their places. Varane, who signed for the club from Real Madrid in the summer, had a pretty flawless debut against Wolves before the international break. He still needs to find his feet in the Premier League as he has not really been tested yet, but the early signs are good. Maguire has done well for United since signing from Leicester City in the summer of 2019, starting his third season at the club. The partnership of Varane and Maguire should be a good one for United, with backup from Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Teden Mengi this season.

Midfield: Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek

There are a few problems with the midfield this season. One is that there is one defensive midfielder in Nemanja Matic with no real experienced cover in that position – other than Scott McTominay, who has recently returned to training after groin surgery. Fred is suspended because of FIFA regulations due to the international break when he did not head to Brazil, who have requested the minimum five day rule to be enacted, meaning he will not be eligible to face Newcastle or Young Boys. This will leave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Donny van de Beek and Matic, plus Paul Pogba, who has played better on the left so far this season.

Against the Magpies, having Matic and Van de Beek in the midfield in the 4-2-3-1 formation would be beneficial as the Serbian could do his defensive role well with the Dutchman connecting the defence to the attack, also running into space in the box, which could find space for at attacker. I believe the Dutchman has all the attributes to find his form at United this season, after a tough 2020/21 season at the club. Pogba should play an attacking role, as he has five assists this season, which has shown the best of his abilities. It may not be the best midfield but it will have to do this season, at least until January if business can be done.

Attacking Midfield: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba

The attacking players behind the striker are important this season as they were last. At this stage of the season (after three matches) there are six goals and five assists in these places, which shows the quality in the squad. Mason Greenwood has scored in each of the three matches he has played, scoring one goal against Leeds United, Southampton and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Granted, Greenwood seems to be set to become a striker for the club in the future, but playing out of that position is only going to better his game for the rest of his career. He has some great players to learn from at this time, so that looks good for him too.

Bruno Fernandes scored a hat-trick against Leeds but has not scored or assisted in the last two matches. This match is important that he rediscovers his form and I think all the ingredients and the excitement will be there for the players, the coaches, the manager and the supporters of the club. Paul Pogba should also feature in this area of the pitch as he has five assists so far this season and seems to be better playing further forward, as has been the case since he returned to the club. United have strength in depth in these positions is changes need to happen during the match, providing the correct changes are identified as the players put in the effort.

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo

The return of Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United, even at the age of 36, is an exciting prospect. His career has gone from strength to strength and he has the eyes of the world on him once again as he bids to make his return to the Theatre of Dreams, this time playing in the famous red shirt bearing the prestigious number seven once again. In 292 appearances for United, from 2003 until 2009, Ronaldo scored 118 goals and 69 assists for United. He now has the chance to better those numbers and help achieve the greatest accolades with United once again – the team that the big time started for him.

In total, he has played 897 matches at club level, scoring 674 goals and 229 assists, with a further 111 goals for Portugal, in which he recently became the top goalscorer at international level. It just shows that age is just a number for the player that is Ronaldo. There are high expectations for him on his return to United and he is still determined to achieve things, suggesting that he is not returning to the club for anything other than winning. There will be many who play down Ronaldo’s talent and they will be quick to write him off because of his age but just like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani, he can prove them wrong.

Substitutes: Tom Heaton; Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Diogo Dalot; Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard; Anthony Martial, Jadon Sancho, Anthony Elanga

Solskjaer will have a bench full of talented players, at least in their own roles. There will be many different options to change the course of the match, if need be. Tom Heaton will remain on the bench with De Gea starting his fourth match in the Premier League this season. Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly will both remain on the bench with Varane and Maguire starting in the central defensive positions. Lindelof could also offer some experience in the defensive midfield position at this time with few options in this position. Diogo Dalot will offer something on either flank in the fullback position, if a change is required in that area.

In the midfield places, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard will be on the bench, but none of them can play in the midfield positions, both offer an attacking style, either on the flanks or in the central ahead behind the striker. United seem to be stacked in that area this season, which gives many attacking options but few midfielders in the squad to offer an impact, at least with Fred and McTominay out of action at this time. In the forward roles, Anthony Martial, who has been terrible recently, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga will be able to be called upon against the Magpies, which is an exciting prospect for United, at least with Sancho and Elanga.

Written by John Walker

Preview: Ronaldo return to boost United against the Magpies; Van de Beek to start too?

Manchester United -v- Newcastle United

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Saturday 11 September 2021, KO 15:00 BST

Referee: Anthony Taylor Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn

Fourth Official: John Brooks

VAR: Craig Pawson Assistant VAR: Scott Ledger

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action when they welcome Newcastle United to Old Trafford in a traditional 3pm kick-off on Saturday afternoon. It was something that was lacking last season for United with few traditional Saturday afternoon matches because of a mixture of playing in the UEFA Europa League and matches being selected for television in the United Kingdom. This match has not been selected for TV in the UK, which is a shame as it will mark the return to the Theatre of Dreams of Cristiano Ronaldo, who re-signed for the Old Trafford club during the summer.

The first international break of the new season has just finished, which is always a daunting though so early into the new season with only three Premier League matches played before a break in the season, which then results in the return of the UEFA Champions League and the Carabao Cup in the coming weeks with United returning to the elite European competition on Tuesday evening, then starting their pursuit of the League Cup the following Wednesday. This is the crucial point of the season with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seeking to ensure he has enough players in rotation for the upcoming matches.

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: WDWWDL

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Southampton 1-1 D, Leeds United 5-1 W, Everton 4-0 W, Brentford 2-2 D, Queens Park Rangers 4-2 L

Goals: 3 – Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, 1 – Fred

Assists: 5 – Paul Pogba, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Raphael Varane

Newcastle United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: DLLLWW

Southampton 2-2 D, Burnley 0-0 (4-3 pens) L, Aston Villa 2-0 L, West Ham United 4-2 L, Norwich City 3-0 W, Burton Albion 2-0 W

Goals: 2 – Callum Wilson, 1 – Jacob Murphy, Allan Saint-Maximin

Assists: 1 – Jacob Murphy, Matt Ritchie, Allan Saint-Maximin

Previous meetings with Newcastle United and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Newcastle have met a total of 52 times in the Premier League. United have won a total of 31 matches, drawing 14 with the Magpies winning seven times. United have scored 108 goals, winning three penalties and scoring two of them. The Magpies have scored 53 goals, winning three penalties and scoring all of them. United have kept 19 clean sheets with the Magpies keeping 11. A total of 171 yellow cards have bene shown in matches between United and Newcastle with the Red Devils shown 86 and the Magpies shown 85. There have been six red cards – three for each team.

Last season, United beat Newcastle 3-1 at Old Trafford and 4-1 at St Jame’s Park. In recent history, there have been 11 players to play for both United and Newcastle – Peter Beardsley, Keith Gillespie, Andy Cole, Ronny Johnsen, Nicky Butt, Guiseppe Rossi, Danny Simpson, Alan Smith, Louis Saha, Gabriel Obertan and Michael Owen. Of these players, Andy Cole is perhaps the best performing player and most effective signing – the only one coming from Newcastle for a fee (£6 million and Gillespie back in 1995. Michael Owen, who has since turned him back on United, despite winning his only ever Premier League title at the club, was another.

Team News: Cristiano Ronaldo seeking to start on Old Trafford return. Four players ruled out for United through injury, one banned by FIFA, another still recovering and one to face a late fitness test.

Dean Henderson (Fitness), Alex Telles (Ankle/Foot), Amad Diallo (Thigh) and Marcus Rashford (Shoulder) have all been ruled out of the clash against Newcastle at Old Trafford. Fred (FIFA Regulations: Five-day rule) sees the Brazilian ineligible for face both Newcastle and Young Boys with Phil Jones (Knee) likely to miss another match this season following the recovery of a knee injury which kept him out last season. Scott McTominay (Groin/Hip/Pelvic) will be subject to a late fitness test ahead of the match after returning to training earlier in the week. Jadon Sancho, who withdrew from England duty this week, is available again.

Elliott Anderson (Groin/Hip/Pelvic), Callum Wilson (Thigh), Jonjo Shelvey (Calf/Shin/Heel) and Martin Dubravka (Ankle/Foot) have all been ruled out of the trip to Old Trafford to take on United. Ryan Fraser (Ankle/Foot) is a major doubt for the match, whereas Karl Darlow (other) will undergo a late fitness test and both Paul Dummett (Calf/Shin/Heel) and Isaac Hayden (Knee) are likely to be back in contention for this match. Newcastle have a poor record in the Premier League this season, sitting 17th at the time of writing with one point from three matches. A good result in this match could get them off the mark.

Predicted Starting XI: Cristiano Ronaldo to lead the line against the Magpies, supported by Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood. Donny van de Beek to start in midfield?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be excited ahead of the return to Old Trafford after two away matches which ended August with the club earning seven points out of nine and breaking the unbeaten on the road record, stretching it to 28 matches, breaking Arsenal’s 27-match record set in 2004. United need to have the same mindset at the Theatre of Dreams, which was where all six defeats in the Premier League happened last season. So far, after just one match at home, United are undefeated but including this one, there are 18 left to play in the league. Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford will lift the supporters and his teammates as United strive to win.

David De Gea will remain in goal for United – he has done well so far this season, despite conceding two goals so far. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw will complete the defence. A midfield duo of Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek could do well, considering the suspension Fred and the expected absence of Scott McTominay. Paul Pogba should revert back to the left with Bruno Fernandes in the middle and Mason Greenwood on the right. Ronaldo could lead the line on his Theatre of Dreams return to United, with the likes of Anthony Martial and Jadon Sancho possibly Edinson Cavani on the bench.

Match Prediction: United have the players to keep their unbeaten run going against Newcastle, winning the last three matches since that dreadful performance in October 2019.

United have started the 2021/22 season in fine form, playing three matches, winning twice and drawing once. It was a better start than the 2020/21 season which saw United defeated in the first match of the season, which was the first of six defeats that season, all of which were at Old Trafford. This is the second home match of the season and United will need to press on and send the Magpies packing. The return of Ronaldo will be a big boost, similarly to that of Raphael Varane, when he was announced as a United player ahead of the opening Premier League match of the season, the 5-1 victory over Leeds United, kicking off.

This could well be a positive season for United with the signings made and the hunger and determination on show, not to mention the fact that so many players want to achieve something under the management of Solskjaer. This will be a good season for United and hopefully it will end with at least one trophy, which will probably not be good enough for the people who always seem to edit what they said in the past, making it much harder to actually please them. What a world we live in today where people would rather be disappointed but proved correct, despite changing their stance many times, rather than supporting the manager and players.

Manchester United 3-1 Newcastle United

Written by John Walker

Ratings: Rashford, James and Fernandes score in 3-1 victory over the Magpies; Shaw, James, Matic all played well; debut for Shoretire

Manchester United beat Newcastle United 3-1 in the Premier League at Old Trafford. Marcus Rashford put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side 1-0 up in the 30th minute of the match but the lead was short-lived as Allan Saint-Maximin found the equaliser for the Magpies just six minutes later. In the second half, United found themselves needing to do more to get back in front and that came in the 57th minute after Bruno Fernandes fed the ball to Daniel James, who scored his second goal of the week and his fifth goal of the season. Fernandes sealed the victory for United in the 75th minute after Rashford was fouled in the box, scoring the penalty to secure all three points with a 3-1 victory. Real Sociedad up next for United to confirm a last 16 place in the Europa League.

United started on the front foot with Daniel James trying to use his pace to break forward and create something for his club. Marcus Rashford also tried to use his pace and ability to get an early goal, but it was not happening for the home side. In the 30th minute of the match, United took the lead through Rashford. Harry Maguire played the pass into Rashford, who nutmegged Emil Krafth to get away on the left, chopping back inside on the right-back, reversing his show low and with vigour into the near post beating Karl Darlow. It was a short-lived lead for United with the Magpies equalising six minutes later through Allan Saint-Maximin after Maguire partially made the clearance with the Frenchman beating David De Gea.

United tried to get a second goal, but it was not coming. At the end of the first half, United had 73% possession, had five shots on goal, just two of those on target – needing more urgency from the second half to get the victory, otherwise it will be three draws in a row in the league, which will be another gift to Manchester City, who have taken control of the Premier League table at this stage of the season. Solskjaer may need to think about making some changes with the pace of Amad Diallo and Shola Shoretire plus that of Mason Greenwood. Anthony Martial has failed to do much, which seems to be the story of his season. There were not changes for either side during the half time break with United needing to turn things up a gear or two.

The Magpies tried to get themselves an early second-half goal by pressuring United, forcing a good save from De Gea just before the 50th minute. United need to think about pressuring the visitors with Martial still not offering much up top, which is a worry. Solskjaer should start thinking about making a change, taking the Frenchman off in favour of a player that has some ability right now. United took back their first half lead in the 57th minute of the match with Daniel James scoring his fifth goal of the season. Nemanja Matic cut inside Joe Willock, playing the pass to Bruno Fernandes who poked the ball to the Welshman who confidently found the back of the net at the far post. United deserved to be in the lead again. Now they need to keep it.

The Magpies tried to press United to find the equaliser for the second time in the match by De Gea made a good save to deny the visitors. Solskjaer made his first substitution in the 70th minute of the match with Mason Greenwood replacing Martial, who gave very little in the 70 minutes he has played – he should be pressed to find some form as it has been weeks since he last looked lethal in the box and that was against Southampton, in which the match was already won before he scored a brace. United won a penalty in the 74th minute of the match after Rashford was fouled by Willock in the box. The referee gave it immediately. Fernandes took the penalty, scoring his 22nd goal of the season for United, putting his club 3-1 up in the game and a certain victory.

Solskjaer made a double substitution on the 88th minute of the match with United still 3-1 up. Juan Mata replaced James and Shola Shoretire made his debut at the age of 17 after he replaced Rashford. United had the result they needed, and had to work for it. It was an important three points to get after the defeat to Sheffield United at the start of the month and the 3-3 draw against Everton and the 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion, which saw Manchester City create a void between them and United at the top of the table. United now look ahead to their UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg match at Old Trafford on Thursday when Real Sociedad come to town, they they will focus on the clash with Chelsea next Sunday.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Made a save to keep Newcastle out in the first half, conceding in the 36th minute with Saint-Maximin beating him. He made a few good saves inn the second half to keep United in the lead at 2-1 up. Will be annoyed it is not a clean sheet but three points is more important.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Played a good wide game for United, helping keep United's attack high up the pitch with some seemingly thinking that United still play 'park the bus' football. I'd like to be more threat from his crosses though.

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2 Victor Lindelof

United were only really tested once and that was when the Magpies scored. Other than that, the pressure was mopped up most of the time, not as quickly as it could have been though. Good to see him have a better match in a game that lacked inspiration from the visitors.

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5 Harry Maguire

Got caught out by the Newcastle attack a few times in the first half. Provided the assist for Rashford's 30th minute goal but then failed to deal with the clearance which saw Saint-Maximin equalise six minutes later. Will be happy with the win and the three points but clean sheets will be something he wants to help keep too.

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23 Luke Shaw

Put in a shift at left-back to keep United going forward. The Magpies has a few chances and got a goal but other than that, they were not really a goal threat in their 15th defeat of the season. Shaw was named the Man of the Match on BT Sport.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Lack of pace made it difficult for United to get forward quickly, but with injuries to Pogba and both McTominay and Van de Beek missing, he had to play. His experience is good, as well as his defensive ability. United needed to break forward with speed though. Was one of the standout players in this match, with Newcastle trying to break forward. His lack of pace is a worry though, but he will seldom play against the faster-paced sides.

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17 Fred

Did what he needed to do in midfield. United got the result, despite conceding after they had scored the opener. Fred is a player that gives his all a lot of the time and a player that has earned his stripes in this squad.

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Ratings: Rashford, James and Fernandes score in 3-1 victory over the Magpies; Shaw, James, Matic all played well; debut for Shoretire

Tried to use his pace to get United on the front foot, which was working at a stage. In the second half he misplaced a pass but saw United lose possession, he then ran and got the ball back to keep the attack alive. That was good to see. Scored his fifth goal of the season to restore United's lead with a good finish from a Fernandes assist. He was replaced by Mata in the 88th minute of the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Booked in the first half of the match. He was being kept out of the game by Newcastle for much of the first half. Got an assist for James' goal which restored United's lead and he scored a penalty in the 75th minute to give United a two-goal cushion.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Scored his 18th goal of the season in the 30th minute, beating Darlow at his near post to put United ahead. He was replaced by Shoretire in the 88th minute of the match.

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9 Anthony Martial

Offered little in the first half of the match. He's a frustrating figure to watch again. If it was not for injury, he would have been on the bench again. Again, not a lot was offered in the 25 minutes he played in the second half before being replaced by Greenwood in the 70th minute.

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Substitutes

11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Martial 70'. Did more in twenty minutes than Martial did in 70. He should have led the line today in the absence of Cavani. Martial needs to find himself again, which seems to be taking time.

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8 Juan Mata

Replaced James 88'. Came on late in the game and had little impact. He will be pleased with the win though.

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47 Shola Shoretire

Replaced Rashford 88'. Made his debut at the age of 17. United had the result they needed when he came on so there was little to lose. He did well, despite not getting much impact. He will be working hard to play more minutes in the future.

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Goals: Marcus Rashford 30′, Daniel James 57′, Bruno Fernandes 75′ penalty; Allan Saint-Maximin 36′

Assists: Harry Maguire 30′, Bruno Fernandes 57’

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Matic, Fred; James (Mata 88′), Fernandes, Rashford (Shoretire 88′); Martial (Greenwood 70′)

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly, Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; Diallo

Bookings: Bruno Fernandes 38′; Isaac Hayden 38′, Joelinton 39′

Written by John Walker

Confirmed XI: Martial, James, Fernandes and Rashford start against Newcastle United; Diallo and Shoretire on the bench again

Manchester United welcome Newcastle United at Old Trafford in the Premier League this 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:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Matic, Fred;

James, Fernandes, Rashford;

Martial

Substitutes:

Henderson; Bailly, Telles, Williams, Tuanzebe; Mata, Diallo, Shoretire; Greenwood

Newcastle United:

Darlow;

Krafth, Lascelles, Clark, Lewis;

Willock, Hayden, Shelvey;

Joelinton, Almiron, Saint-Maximin

Substitutes:

Dubravka; Dummett; Ritchie, Hendrick, Fraser, Murphy, Longstaff; Carroll, Gayle

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.

Written by John Walker

copyright: JW