Match Previews

Preview: Newcastle United vs. Manchester United

Photo via Chronicle Live

Decent weekend results for both United and Newcastle in their respective challengers means that confidence will be higher than before the previous match for these sides enduring testing times.

The pair of experienced managers in the Premier League have had their fair share of glory and disasters since arriving but Rafael Benítez and José Mourinho now more than ever wins are crucial in such a close division.

Up in the North East on Saturday, the match should bring about some drama on and off the pitch.

Kick-off: 14:15 (GMT)

Venue: St. James’ Park

Referee: Craig Pawson

The Magpies


Position: 16th

Top scorer: Joselu [4]

Most assists: Matt Ritchie [5]

One to watch: Kenedy

Style of play

With just 3 wins in their last 22 Premier League outings, draws have been what they’ve fed off as they scrape through games.

Playing a 4-4-1-1 formation gives them stability but relied-on strikers Dwight Gayle, Joselu and Ayoze Pérez haven’t delivered when needed.

However, when visiting Manchester City and Chelsea they changed to a 5-3-2 so they could adopt it in this one.

Pace out wide may trouble United with the likes of Christian Atsu, Kenedy, Jacob Murphy and Matt Richie all offering a variety of options.

Embed from Getty Images

The ice cool centre-midfielder Mikel Merino has dropped in form since the beginning of the campaign but is a danger with his passing.

Injuries/suspensions (estimated return)

  • Jesus Gamez; ankle (back in training)
  • Joselu; virus (day to day)
  • Islam Slimani; thigh (late fitness test)

Team news

Ciaran Clark should return following a slight knee injury.

In the middle, former Liverpool man who was sent off against United in 2011 could make the starting line-up if the midfield is bolstered.

A late decision will be made on Slimani as he faced the media for the first time since joining the club.

What the manager said –

“We need to improve our finishing or our experience to manage in games. It is something we have to learn quickly.”


Talking points

Ed Woodward spoke midweek of the club’s growing financial impact on the sport, in particular how the signing of Alexis Sánchez gained unprecedented attention.

Mourinho revealed in his press conference his delight at the improvement of Luke Shaw lately and soon after, rumours are circulating that the full back will be offered a new contract; with his current one expiring at the end of the campaign.

Injuries/suspensions (estimated return)

  • Eric Bailly; ankle (3 weeks)
  • Daley Blind; ankle (day to day)
  • Marouane Fellaini; knee (6 weeks)
  • Zlatan Ibrahimović; hamstring (back in training)

Team news

Phil Jones should be available for selection following his omission last weekend after his calamitous display at Wembley scoring an own-goal.

Embed from Getty Images

Marcus Rashford made sure he won’t miss a Premier League for the first time under Mourinho by getting over his knock.

Reverse fixture: 3-0

What the manager said –

“They had a very good transfer window with Kenedy and Islam Slimani [arriving]. They are two players I know very well and they can really improve their team. Rafael Benitez knows how to get points, so I think it will be a difficult game.”

Match facts

  • Newcastle have only won 2 of their last 28 games against United and haven’t won in 6
  • United have won 9 of their last 13 games against at St James’ Park with the last defeat coming in 2012 with a 3-0 defeat
  • Newcastle have conceded more against United than any other Premier League team with 92 goals
  • United have won more away games at St. James’ Park than any other Premier League club
  • Benítez has only lost more Premier League games against Sir Alex Ferguson (8) than Mourinho (6) joint with Arsene Wenger (6)
  • Mourinho has never won a game at St James’ Park in 6 attempts (D3 L3)
  • Lukaku averages a goal or assist every 65 minutes against Newcastle (6 goals and 4 assists in 651 minutes)
  • Sánchez has failed to score versus Newcastle in 4 matches – the only team in the division who after playing against twice or more he hasn’t netted against

TV channel (UK): Sky Sports Main Event/Premier League

Enjoy the match!

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