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Predicted XI: [4-2-3-1] Ighalo, Greenwood, Fernandes and Rashford to start in attack against the Magpies? Henderson in goal?

Manchester United are back in action in the Premier League on Saturday evening when they face Newcastle United at St James’ Park. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be looking to bounce back from that terrible 1-6 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford almost a fortnight ago which was the worst defeat under the Norwegian and United just seemed so out of pace on the pitch after the match started well with United winning a penalty in the opening two minutes of the match and taking the lead. It went downhill from there. Spurs could have scored so many more goals and United will be expected to take a stand against the Magpies.

Steve Bruce’s side has started the 2020/21 season in good stead losing just one match in their last six with was against Brighton and Hove Albion, a team which United beat twice in the space of fours days only a few weeks ago now. That said, the form that had been shown by United seems to have disappeared with the squad having to restart their season from this weekend, aiming to kick back from that defeat to Spurs. United were not the only team to be caught off guard that weekend as the reigning Premier League champions were beaten 7-2 by Aston Villa, a club that only just avoided relegation last season – yet not much has been said about that.

United made a few signings on transfer deadline day, bringing in Alex Telles, a left-back from FC Porto, free agent Edinson Cavani, who will miss this weekend’s match and could make his debut against Paris Saint-Germain next week in the UEFA Champions, Facundo Pellistri from Uruguayan side Penarol and also announced a deal to sign Amad Diallo (Traore) from Italian side Atalanta, who will sign for the club during the January transfer window. United may not have signed Jadon Sancho, but instead signing a leader (Cavani), a top class left-back and two 18-year-old right-wingers who have the raw talent to succeed at the club.

How United have faired against Newcastle United in the Premier League.

United have met the Magpies 50 times in the Premier League with United winning 29 times, drawing 14 times and losing seven times. United have scored 101 goals in these matches compared to the Magpies’ 51 – a 50 goal difference between the two sides. United have won one penalty, scoring one with the Magpies winning three and scoring three. United have kept 19 clean sheets in the 50 matches compared to the Magpies’ 11 – which shows both teams are capable of shutting up shop, in the past at least. United have been shown 84 yellow cards to the Magpies 82 with both teams having three players sent off in the 50 matches played in the Premier League.

In this fixture last season, which was played in the 6 October 2019, the Magpies beat United 1-0 with Matty Longstaff scoring the only goal of the match. United played badly in the fixture at. time whereby form was not the best at the club, which is a similar situation this season, especially after that 1-6 defeat to Spurs in the last match which was almost two weeks ago. United found their feet against the Magpies last season, winning 4-1 at Old Trafford on Boxing Day with Longstaff opening the scoring again but Anthony Martial scoring a brace, with both Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford on the scoresheet in the victory.

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

Goalkeeper: Dean Henderson

I’m not against David De Gea but recently, his form has been shocking and United need to find a way to bring out the best in him as it is not working for him right now. He was terrible against Spurs, but there was consistentcy throughout the team in that match as they were all terrible. During the international break, De Gea hardly gave much confidence in his performance against the Ukraine. Dean Henderson did not play for England during the international break and therefore he will be fully fresh to start for United. Solskjaer will need to find the best way for United to recover from their dip in form sooner rather than later.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Alex Telles

The defence has many problems with the rest if the season ahead of the club. It is clear that the club should have backed the manager to strengthen the defence as you cannot expect to get the best out of the defenders at the club, some of whom have been prone to errors for more than a season. Harry Maguire clearly needs a break to overcome his problematic summer but unless Axel Tuanzebe is going to be fit and ready to go, it is likely that Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof will be the only players that have experience with Teden Mengi also available. In the fullback positions, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Alex Telles should start against the Magpies.

Midfield Two: Nemanja Matic, Donny van de Beek

Paul Pogba was in dire form against Spurs and it seems obvious that his heart is not in performing for the club. His comments about Real Madrid were not surprising and it is expected that he would rather leave the club than commit to it. For that reason, nothing else, Pogba should lose his place in the team with Donny van de Beek coming in for his first Premier League start. The player has been treated unfairly since he signed for the club and has the pedigree to offer more than Pogba right now. Alongside him, Nemanja Matic. He’s not plained any international matches so will have had almost a fortnight’s break and will be ready for Saturday’s match.

Midfield Three: Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford

Last season, United looked like an excellent attacking side with this trio playing behind the striker. However, this season, nothing seems to be working. The arrival of Facundo Pellistri and Edinson Cavani might change the attacking play with the former a raw talent and the latter an experienced player that could still offer something useful to the club. Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford impressed last season and so far this season, the latter has scored twice and will be seeking to offer more to his club. Greenwood has the talent and skill to thrive in this set up but United need to change their fortunes. Fernandes is the key player here.

Forward: Odion Ighalo

The Nigerian came off the bench against Crystal Palace in the first Premier League match fo the season but did not feature against Brighton and Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspur in the league as he was not even named on the bench. With Anthony Martial suspended for the next three league matches, and the fact that Edinson Cavani cannot play against the Magpies, Ighalo could be considered to start in the Premier League but will need to get into the swing of things and find a way to deliver for the club. IN 22 appearances for the club, Ighalo has scored five goals and one assist, last scoring against Norwich City in the FA Cup last season.

Substitutes: David De Gea; Brandon Williams, Teden Mengi; Paul Pogba Juan Mata, Daniel James, Scott McTominay

United will need to have something on the bench should it be needed against the Magpies. This is not gong to be an easy match for United and the home side will be seeking to continue their good start to the season. David De Gea could find himself demoted to the bench so Solskjaer can aim to find a good mix of players to carry his team to victory. Defensively, Brandon Williams and Teden Mengi could be the only players available in this area. With Martial suspended and a lack of other attacking players able to feature this weekend, the only other players that could find themselves on the bench are Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Daniel James and Scott McTominay.

Written by John Walker

Preview: United to show what they are made of against the Magpies? A win is required – no excuses

Newcastle United -v- Manchester United

Premier League

St James’ Park, Newcastle

Saturday 17 October 2020, KO 20:00 BST

Referee: Craig Pawson Assistants: Richard West, Adrian Holmes

Fourth Official: Oliver Langford

VAR: Lee Mason Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday

Manchester United are back in action in the Premier League on Saturday evening when they face Newcastle United at St James’ Park. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be looking to bounce back from that terrible 1-6 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford almost a fortnight ago which was the worst defeat under the Norwegian and United just seemed so out of pace on the pitch after the match started well with United winning a penalty in the opening two minutes of the match and taking the lead. It went downhill from there. Spurs could have scored so many more goals and United will be expected to take a stand against the Magpies.

Steve Bruce’s side has started the 2020/21 season in good stead losing just one match in their last six with was against Brighton and Hove Albion, a team which United beat twice in the space of fours days only a few weeks ago now. That said, the form that had been shown by United seems to have disappeared with the squad having to restart their season from this weekend, aiming to kick back from that defeat to Spurs. United were not the only team to be caught off guard that weekend as the reigning Premier League champions were beaten 7-2 by Aston Villa, a club that only just avoided relegation last season – yet not much has been said about that.

United made a few signings on transfer deadline day, bringing in Alex Telles, a left-back from FC Porto, free agent Edinson Cavani, who will miss this weekend’s match and could make his debut against Paris Saint-Germain next week in the UEFA Champions, Facundo Pellistri from Uruguayan side Penarol and also announced a deal to sign Amad Diallo (Traore) from Italian side Atalanta, who will sign for the club during the January transfer window. United may not have signed Jadon Sancho, but instead signing a leader (Cavani), a top class left-back and two 18-year-old right-wingers who have the raw talent to succeed at the club.

Manchester United: LWWWLL

Tottenham Hotspur 6-1 L, Brighton and Hove Albion 3-0 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 3-2 W, Luton Town 3-0 W, Crystal Palace 3-1 L, Aston Villa 1-0 L (F)

Newcastle United: WWDWLW

Burnley 3-1 W, Newport County 1-1 (5-4) W, Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 D, Morecambe 7-0 W, Brighton and Hove Albion 3-0 L, Blackburn Rovers 1-0 W

Top Scorers: Bruno Fernandes, Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford are leading United’s top scorers with two goals each by Newcastle’s Callum Wilson has scored four times so far this season.

Manchester United Goals: 2 – Bruno Fernandes, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford, 1 – Donny van de Beek, Mason Greenwood, Own Goal, Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay

United started the season with a devastating 3-1 home defeat against Crystal Palace, starting their season a week later than the rest of the Premier League. Then followed a 3-0 Carabao Cup victory over Luton Town, to return to winning ways. Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League them came with United winning 3-2 with controversial circumstances regarding a late penalty to win the match. Brighton in the Carabao Cup came days later with United registering a 3-0 victory again. United’s form then seemed so much better until Spurs came to Old Trafford and turned the screws to win 6-1 putting United’s season under a lot of pressure.

Tottenham Hotspur Goals: 4 – Callum Wilson, 2 – Joelinton, 1 – Allan Saint-Maximin, Isaac Hayden, Jacob Murphy, Jamaal Lascelles, Jeff Hendrick, Jonjo Shelvey, Miguel Almirón, Ryan Fraser

The Magpies started the Premier League season well with a 2-0 victory over West Ham United on the opening day of the season but then came their first defeat to Brighton, conceding three goals in the game – showing hoe lucky United were to get the upper hand over the team twice in the space of a few days. The Magpies got back into action with a 1-1 draw with Spurs, possibly showing his terrible United were against the North London side the weekend before last. In their last league match, the Magpies beat Burnley 3-1. In the Carabao Cup, the Magpies have beaten Blackburn Rovers 1-0, Morecambe 7-0 and beating Newport County 5-4 on penalties.

Team News: United have problems with injury, suspension and self isolation whereas the Magpies could have up to 11 players out of action for this fixture.

United have a few problems ahead of the match against Newcastle at St James’ Park on Saturday evening. Sergio Romero (not available for selection), Phil Jones (knee) and Anthony Martial (three match suspension) are not available to face the Magpies. Axel Tuanzebe (ankle/foot) has a 25% chance of featuring against the North East club, which seems to be more of a doubt than an indication that United’s defence could be strengthened but his return. New signings Edinson Cavani and Facundo Pellistri are not likely to be fit for this match with both players self isolating. Alex Telles, who has been playing for Brazil, could make his debut against the Magpies.

The Magpies have some injury problems ahead of the visit of United. Three players have already been ruled out of the match; Matt Ritchie (shoulder), Dwight Gayle (knee), and Martin Dubravka (calf/shin/heel). Paul Dummett, Ciaran Clark and Matthew Longstaff (all thigh) have a 25% chance of being involved in the match against United. Miguel Almiron (muscular), Jamal Lewis (calf/shin/heel), Jamaal Lascelles (thigh) and DeAndre Yedlin (knock) all have a 50% chance of facing United. Lastly, Allan Saint-Maximin (ankle/foot) has a 75% chance of facing United. The length of the injury and doubt list could be a problem for Steve Bruce against his former club.

Predicted Starting XI: Martial suspended, Ighalo to lead the line? Maguire rested to overcome problematic period? Telles to make his debut at left-back? Van de Beek to start ahead of Pogba?

Against the Magpies, I think Solskjaer should give Dean Henderson a shot in goal as he has not played during the international break and David De Gea did not exactly do himself much justice against the Ukraine. Henderson could provide some safe hands in goal and he at least deserves to be given the chance as he has not conceded yet. Harry Maguire’s problems have got worse after he saw himself sent off for England, so a break to overcome some problems which seem to stem from the summer. Paul Pogba was poor against Spurs so should be benched giving Donny van de Beek a chance to start. Anthony Martial is suspended so Odion Ighalo should start.

Match Prediction: United have beaten the Magpies 29 times in the history of the Premier League with the Magpies winning just seven times – there have been 14 draws between these two teams.

United have met the Magpies 50 times in the Premier League with United winning 29 times, drawing 14 times and losing seven times. United have scored 101 goals in these matches compared to the Magpies’ 51 – a 50 goal difference between the two sides. United have won one penalty, scoring one with the Magpies winning three and scoring three. United have kept 19 clean sheets in the 50 matches compared to the Magpies’ 11 – which shows both teams are capable of shutting up shop, in the past at least. United have been shown 84 yellow cards to the Magpies 82 with both teams having three players sent off in the 50 matches played in the Premier League.

In this fixture last season, which was played in the 6 October 2019, the Magpies beat United 1-0 with Matty Longstaff scoring the only goal of the match. United played badly in the fixture at. time whereby form was not the best at the club, which is a similar situation this season, especially after that 1-6 defeat to Spurs in the last match which was almost two weeks ago. United found their feet against the Magpies last season, winning 4-1 at Old Trafford on Boxing Day with Longstaff opening the scoring again but Anthony Martial scoring a brace, with both Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford on the scoresheet in the victory.

Newcastle United 1-3 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

Review & Ratings: Martial at the double in 4-1 Newcastle victory; Greenwood and Rashford on the scoresheet; Solskjaer pleased?

Manchester United beat Newcastle United 4-1 at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Boxing Day. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side came from 1-0 down in the 17th minute to score three first half goals to lead the game. Anthony Martial scored a brace – a goal in either half with Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford scoring too. Solskjaer will be looking ahead to Saturday’s trip to Burnley now.

United started the match and soon started to play the possession game but not doing much with the ball. In the 17th minute of the match, after a period of promising play, Newcastle took the lead through Matty Longstaff, scoring his second goal against United this season, assisted by Joelinton after Fred lost the ball in midfield with Miguel Almiron and finding Joelinton, who passed to Longstaff.

The lead was short-lived for Newcastle as Anthony Martial equalised in the 24th minute for United. Luke Shaw made progress down the left for United, finding Andreas Pereira with the ball, who then found the Frenchman who blasted his shot low into the back of the net beating Martin Dubravka to get his side level with the visitors. United now need to find a goal to put them ahead and ensure a victory at home.

United put themselves ahead in the 36th minute of the match through Mason Greenwood, scoring his eighth goal of the season so far, matching Martial, who scored his eighth goal to put United level earlier in the match. Greenwood pounced on a loose ball after Fabian Schar made a defensive error, unleashing a fierce strike on goal and beating Dubravka. United were ahead and seeking to punish Newcastle.

United scored their third goal of the match in the 41st minute with Marcus Rashford finding his 15th goal of the season, his best season in first team football in his career so far. United had the ball out wide through Aaron Wan-Bissaka and his cross into the box was headed at the far post by Rashford. It started to look like a good performance for United, after conceding the opening goal in the 17th minute.

It was a good half of football from United, seemingly with them needing to concede a goal before getting into the game. It was good to see Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, and Marcus Rashford finding goals again and United heading into the second half of the game leading. The ingredients are there to get results such as this one and with a bit more depth in the team, in terms of experience, things could be much better.

Six minutes into the second half, United strengthened their lead in the game with Martial scoring his second goal of the game, United’s fourth. The Frenchman capitalised on a back pass, using his pace to win the ball before finishing cutely past Dubravka to put United 4-1 up, the third time they have scored four goals in a game this season. United could well be stepping up their game at the halfway point of the season.

Paul Pogba got himself 45 minutes of football after playing for less than half an hour at the weekend, which will be good ahead of the next two big matches coming up starting with Burnley away on Saturday and the trip to the Emirates to face Arsenal on New Year’s Day. The Frenchman had three attempts on goal, all of them pressuring the Newcastle defence and goalkeeper, sadly none of them turning into goals.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper conceded a goal again, early in the game. It started to become one of those matches again. However, an equaliser seven minutes later seemingly changed the game with Newcastle having few opportunities in United's area after their opening goal of the game.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The right-back got another assist, playing the ball into the box for Rashford whose header put United 3-1 up in the 41st minute of the match. Wan-Bissaka has been a great addition to the team this season, making the position his own and putting in commanding performances more often than not. Not every player can perform to 100% of their abilities 100% of the time - some supporters seem to forget this, demanding 100% from each player all the time. Solskjaer's first big signing of the summer has been a great addition.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The Swede played well, after Newcastle's goal with United sending the ball in one direction, pressuring the Magpies with each attack. The scoreline could have been bigger, if United buried their chances. It is good to see things like this happen again this season.

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5 Harry Maguire

The captain had a header in the first half of the match and despite United conceding in the 17th minute, the defence really had little to do during the rest of the match. It is a shame they could not keep a clean sheet, but if you outscore your opposition, you get the same number of points from it. Maguire keeps trying to score his first goal for the club, failing so far but it will come for him, eventually.

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23 Luke Shaw

The left-back was involved in United's equaliser, running up the left flank and passing to Pereira, who assisted for Martial. Shaw could well be finding his match fitness after his return from injury. Brandon Williams missed out for this game, a match he could have played in. Perhaps he will miss out regularly now with Shaw seemingly returning to form?

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39 Scott McTominay

The midfielder was booked in the very first minute of the match with fears that he could be sent off , or targeted by Newcastle to be sent off. He played well in the first half of the match, especially when United came from a goal down to lead 3-1 at half time. The Scotland international was replaced by Paul Pogba during the break.

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17 Fred

The Brazilian midfielder found his form against Newcastle, play8ing well in the midfield. He even had a shot on goal, which did not become a goal but showed that his long-distance shooting is improving. He's partnered both McTominay and Pogba this season and should be able to hold his head high once again after this result.

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11 Mason Greenwood

The 18-year-old scored his eighth goal of the season putting United ahead in the 36th minute of the match, coming back from 1-0 down. His pace, ability and shot accuracy is something to be desired and he is certainly on the road to becoming something special for the club.

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15 Andreas Pereira

The Belgian-born Brazilian started in the number ten role in a 4-2-3-1 formation and got himself another assist with Martial levelling for United seven minutes after Newcastle scored the opener through Longstaff. He played well throughout the match but I still have questions as he hides away against bigger teams at times.

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10 Marcus Rashford

The England forward scored his 15th goal of the season to put United 3-1 up over Newcastle at Old Trafford. The in form player had not scored since the Carabao Cup victory over Colchester United last week. It is starting to become a great season for the 22-year-old. Rashford was replaced by Jesse Lingard in the 63rd minute of the match with United 4-1 up at the time.

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9 Anthony Martial

The Frenchman found his name on the scoresheet once again for United, scoring his eighth goal of the season. United were 1-0 down and after his recent poor performances, which looked set to continue, seven minutes after Matty Longstaff scored for Newcastle, Martial, assisted by Andreas Pereira got United level. Six minutes into the second half, the Frenchman struck again putting United 4-1, scoring his ninth goal of the season. He could have had a hat-trick but hit the post.

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Substitutes

6 Paul Pogba

Replaced McTominay 46'. The Frenchman looked lively after replacing McTominay at half time. He had a shot on goal almost as soon as the match started, having another just before the hour mark of the match, forcing a save for the second.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Rashford 63'. The academy graduate got stuck into the game and at a stage he seemed to be carrying an injury. It seemed to be nothing though as he soon recovered.

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8 Juan Mata

Replaced Martial 67'. The veteran Spanish midfielder came on at 4-1 up with United seeking to add the pressure on the Magpies. Despite the likes of Martial and Rashford being taken off with a view to Saturday's trip to Burnley, United still dealt Newcastle some problems.

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Goals: Anthony Martial 24′, 51′, Mason Greenwood 36′, Marcus Rashford 42′; Matty Longstaff 17′

Assists: Andreas Pereira 24′, Aaron Wan-Bissaka 41′; Joelinton 17′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay (Pogba 46′), Fred; Greenwood, Pereira, Rashford (Lingard 63′); Martial (Mata 67′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Jones, Young; James

Bookings: Scott McTominay 1′, Andreas Pereira 35′; Fabian Schar 38′

Confirmed Starting XI: Martial, Rashford, Greenwood and Pereira start against Newcastle; Pogba on the bench

Manchester United are back in Premier League action at Old Trafford this evening as they face Newcastle United. It will be the second time that Amazon Prime has broadcast matches in the competition this season – and will be the final time also. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to bounce back from poor league performances after beating both Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.

In the matches following the victories over Spurs and City, United have drawn 2-2 against Everton and lost 2-0 to Watford. Wins in both of those matches could have left United on the cusp of breaking into the top four of the Premier League, which is where they will need to finish at the end of the season to get back into the UEFA Champions League – although they could achieve the same by winning the UEFA Europa League.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

McTominay, Pereira, Fred;

Greenwood, Rashford, Martial

Substitutes:

Romero; Jones, Young; Pogba, Mata, Lingard, James

Newcastle United:

Dubravka;

Schar, Fernandez, Lejeune;

Manquillo, S. Longstaff, M. Longstaff, Almiron, Willems;

Gayle, Joelinton

Substitutes:

Darlow; Hayden, Krafth, Yedlin; Shelvey, Atsu; Carroll

United and Newcastle have played a total of 168 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1895. United have won 86 times, drawn 39 times and lost 43 times. The last defeat to Newcastle came in the Premier League back in October 2019, a 1-0 defeat at St James’ Park with Matty Longstaff scoring the only goal of the game in the 72nd minute – a poor result and performance for United.

Newcastle have not won at Old Trafford in the Premier League since their 1-0 victory on the 7 December 2013 with Yohan Cabaye scoring the only goal of that game. Since then, four matches have been played at Old Trafford with United winning three times and drawing once. This will be the 50th match between United and Newcastle in the Premier League. United have won 28 times, drawing 14 and losing seven times.

How Manchester United could look against Newcastle United; Paul Pogba to start in advanced role, Mason Greenwood leading the line?

Manchester United will face Newcastle United in the Premier League on Boxing Day at Old Trafford. It is the second time, and last time, this season that Amazon Prime will be taking over Premier League matches, streaming them all on their platform in the United Kingdom. United will be looking to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat to Watford at the weekend, which was a new decline this season with improvement necessary in order to end the season in the top half of the table.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need to find the tactics to get the better of his opposition. I feel that he needs to learn to set United up against those teams who are going to play behind the ball. It is great going against bigger teams who will attack and playing against that as United, in these games, look like a good footballing team. However, against those who sit back behind the ball, United are dire and always will be unless tactics chance this.

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

David de Gea needs to keep his place against the Magpies in order to hit back at his critics. He needs to find a way to get back into form and return as the player that helped United during the past six years or so. If he cannot do that, Sergio Romero will be there to step into his boots and do what he does best. De Gea needs to find confidence to keep United heading in the right direction. He’s poor at saving penalties, something a goalkeeper should be much better at and his decision making, especially against Watford, was poor at times. De Gea is the best goalkeeper at the club based on his past performances, but looking at performances, Romero is ahead of him and could well find himself being trusted more if De Gea continues to lack quality in his position.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Harry Maguire, Brandon Williams

The defence needs to up their game at this stage of the season. Conceding goals is always going to happen in football. United have not kept a clean sheet in the league since that victory over Leicester City in September. United have had just eight clean sheets this season, six of those in cup competitions, two in the league. Aaron Wan-Bissaka will keep his place. He might have given away a penalty against Watford but he’s the best right-back at the club. Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire will keep their places against the Magpies, but both will need to improve and get the better of their opposition. I would like to see Brandon Williams play in the left-back position. I feel he offers more than Luke Shaw, who seems rusty since his return from injury.

Midfield: Fred, Scott McTominay

Fred and Scott McTominay were off the boil against Watford but in recent weeks, with the duo the only available experienced midfielders in the team, they helped to keep United ticking over. Fatigue could have got the better of them at the weekend or it could have been a bad day at the office. Disappointment motivates people and this duo will be ready to hold the Magpies to account and get United back to winning ways as they face a tough Festive period with three matches to be played between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, two of them on the road.

Attacking Midfielders: Daniel James, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford

Having Daniel James and Marcus Rashford in the wide areas in the three behind the striker is the best duo for these positions at the club right now. Rashford has scored 14 goals for the club this season – his best in his career, in the first anyway. James has scored three goals and has five assists this season and will be seeking to get another goal to improve his tally this season. This could come against the Magpies or later in the season but having him in the team is better than not. Paul Pogba playing in the number ten role will be good for United. He’s very creative and should be part of the team, as long as he is willing to put 100% into every performance and help ‘Make United Great Again’.

Striker: Mason Greenwood

Mason Greenwood should be given an opportunity to lead the line in the Premier League from the start of a match to show what he can do. He is a predator in the box and has a good eye for a goal. When he has played this season, he has rarely let the team down. He has scored seven goals this season with Anthony Martial matching his goals tally. Greenwood has played fewer minutes than Martial giving him a better goal rate based on minutes played. Greenwood is the player that United need to lead the line, at least for this match to see what he can offer when United need to hit back at their opposition. “If they are good enough, they are old enough” is a comment that comes to mind.

Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw; Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Nemanja Matic; Anthony Martial

Substitutes can change the course of the game if they are the right substitute at the right time. Against Watford, Paul Pogba returned to the pitch after a three-month layoff and he was the stand-out performer of that match, despite playing about a third of the length of the match. Sergio Romero will probably keep his place on the bench. Diogo Dalot could return, offering cover for the right-back position and a more advanced position, utilising his pace. I would have Luke Shaw on the bench for this match, keeping him fresh throughout the Festive period. Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira and Nemanja Matic could be the midfield cover with Anthony Martial the attacking player on the bench – he does not offer as much as he should as the main striker right now.

Preview: Beating the Magpies is what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must achieve on Boxing Day; winning is the ONLY answer!

Manchester United -v- Newcastle United

Premier League

Old Trafford, Watford

Thursday 26 December 2019, KO 17:30 GMT

Referee: Kevin Friend Assistants: Adrian Holmes; Darren Cann Fourth Official: Oliver Langford 

VAR: Mike Dean Assistant VAR: Ian Hussin

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action at Old Trafford as they face Newcastle United on Boxing Day. It will be the second time that Amazon Prime has broadcast matches in the competition this season – and will be the final time also. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to bounce back from poor league performances after beating both Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.

In the matches following the victories over Spurs and City, United have drawn 2-2 against Everton and lost 2-0 to Watford. Wins in both of those matches could have left United on the cusp of breaking into the top four of the Premier League, which is where they will need to finish at the end of the season to get back into the UEFA Champions League – although they could achieve the same by winning the UEFA Europa League.

Form: Four wins, one draw and one defeat for United with Newcastle winning three, drawing once and losing twice in the last six matches. This could be a match for United to prove they can win.

Manchester United: LWDWWW

Watford 2-0 L, Colchester United 3-0 W, Everton 1-1 D, AZ Alkmaar 4-0 W, Manchester City 2-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 W

Newcastle United: WLWWDL

Crystal Palace 1-0 W, Burnley 1-0 L, Southampton 2-1 W, Sheffield United 2-0 W, Manchester City 2-2 D, Aston Villa 2-0 L

Top Scorers: Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood out to prove themselves after a poor defeat to Watford? The duo have outscored Newcastle between them.

Manchester United Goals: 14 – Marcus Rashford, 7 – Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, 3 – Daniel James, Scott McTominay, 2 – Own Goal, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United had a very poor game of football away to Watford at the weekend. There was a lack of desire and determination in the game and changes are needed to get the best for the club. There are players in this team who are running out of chances and the manager needs to stand up and make those changes. United need to be in a much better position than they were. The victories over Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City mean very little after drawing to Everton and losing to Watford.

Newcastle United Goals: 5 – Jonjo Shelvey, 2 – Ciaran Clark, Federico Fernández, Jetro Willems, 1 – Miguel Almirón, Joelinton, Jamaal Lascelles, Matthew Longstaff, Yoshinori Muto, Allan Saint-Maximin, Fabian Schär, DeAndre Yedlin

Newcastle are level with United (on points) but sit below them in ninth place in the Premier League table. It just shows how poor United have been of late as they were on the cusp of top four but clearly did not want to achieve that. The Magpies have a minus six goal difference with United on a plus four but a victory over them will see the Magpies rise up the league table. United should be fired up to win this match and turn another corner on the road to consistency.

Team News: Paul Pogba to start for United against Newcastle? Axel Tuanzebe to miss the visit of Newcastle?

Paul Pogba should return to the starting XI against Newcastle after his performance against Watford, despite playing around 30 minutes of the match including added time. If he’s ready to perform for the club it could be the best thing to happen this Christmas for United. I have been a critic of Pogba because he only seems to play well when he wants to, or that is the way I have seen it although others have constantly defended him.

Axel Tuanzebe could be missing from the match suffering from a hamstring injury which will subject him to a late injury test. I would have liked to see him alongside Harry Maguire but that could well come against Burnley on Saturday evening. Eric Bailly, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Marcos Rojo will also be missing, as they have been all season (Bailly and Fosu-Mensah) and since November for Rojo.

Newcastle are set to be without Ciaran Clark, Jamaal Lascelles, Matt Ritchie, and Allan Saint-Maximin for the trip to Old Trafford. There will be late fitness tests for the trio of Jetro Willems, Ki Sung-Yeung, and Paul Dummett so Steve Bruce may have more players at his perusal. However, he could be missing seven players for this match which could be problematic for Newcastle, especially with United wanting to hit back.

Predicted Starting XI: Mason Greenwood to lead the line against Newcastle with Anthony Martial not living up to expectations as the main striker in the team?

I would like to see Mason Greenwood lead the line against Newcastle. In the past few matches, despite Anthony Martial scoring against Colchester United last week, he has just not done what a striker playing for United should have been doing. He was poor against Watford, who were the bottom placed team in the Premier League going into that match. United need a predator in the box and Greenwood could be just that.

Match Prediction: United to return to winning ways in the Premier League by beating Newcastle at the Theatre of Dreams on Boxing Day?

United and Newcastle have played a total of 168 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1895. United have won 86 times, drawn 39 times and lost 43 times. The last defeat to Newcastle came in the Premier League back in October 2019, a 1-0 defeat at St James’ Park with Matty Longstaff scoring the only goal of the game in the 72nd minute – a poor result and performance for United.

Newcastle have not won at Old Trafford in the Premier League since their 1-0 victory on the 7 December 2013 with Yohan Cabaye scoring the only goal of that game. Since then, four matches have been played at Old Trafford with United winning three times and drawing once. This will be the 50th match between United and Newcastle in the Premier League. United have won 28 times, drawing 14 and losing seven times.

Manchester United 2-1 Newcastle United

copyright: JW