Newcastle continued the disappointing run as they crashed out of the FA Cup after the fourth straight 1-0 defeat and no doubts both Steve McClaren and his men will be under pressure when they host equally disappointing Manchester United in midweek. The Red Devils squeezed past Sheffield United to reach the FA Cup fourth round, but that win definitely feels like a defeat given team’s shocking performance.
We can safely say that Newcastle United are going through one of the worst patches in recent history, and the fans are eagerly awaiting to see whether the squad will be reinforced in the January transfer window. With his team having failed to score in fourth successive games, it is hardly surprising that manager Steve McClaren is frantically looking for a proven goalscorer, and it appears he has made West Brom hotshot Saido Berahino his number one target. But, until he or someone else arrives at St James’ Park, the attacking worries look likely to continue, and no doubts that the hosts will be very low on confidence after their strong side were beaten by under-strength Watford in the FA Cup third round clash. The only good news ahead of the Tuesday’s clash is that their next opponents have been pretty poor of late themselves, so everything suggests a scrappy affair between two sides in poor spirits is on the cards.
A number of important players continue to miss out for the hosts, with Vurnon Anita, Papiss Cisse, Mike Williamson, Tim Krul, Jack Colback, Gabriel Obertan, Massadio Haidara, Steven Taylor, Emmanuel Riviere and Curtis Good all our injured.
As much as Louis van Gaal wants to blame everyone else for his side’s disappointing performances, the reality is that he has turned his expensively assembled team into one that is incredibly boring to watch. And having witnessed some amazing displays of attacking prowess during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign, we cannot be surprised that the fans at Old Trafford are demanding more. The Dutch manager appears to be counting his final days in England as the Red Devils don’t appear capable of getting their season back on track. Manchester United may have recorded two wins in a row, but hard-fought triumph over out-of-sorts Swansea and last-gasp victory vs Sheffield United are not exactly going to provide much needed confidence boost. Everyone can see that Anthony Martial is team’s only player capable of performing in a centre forward role, but Louis van Gaal continues to play him on the wing, and if that continues, the Red Devils could find it hard to score even against largely disappointing Newcastle United.
Ashley Young, Michael Carrick and Morgan Schneiderlin should all be back in contention after they were rested at the weekend, but Bastian Schweinsteiger is unlikely to be risked having picked up an injury against Sheffield United. Meanwhile, Antonio Valencia, Marcos Rojo, Nick Powell and Luke Shaw remain on the sidelines.
Key Factors to Consider
- Newcastle suffered four straight 1-0 defeats
- There was just one goal scored in last two meetings between the two sides
- The Magpies failed to score in five home games this term
- Man Utd boast second best defensive record in the Premiership
- Under 2.5 goals were scored in seven of Man Utd’s last eleven games on all fronts
Newcastle United forwards have been misfiring for a while now, but their back line have been showing signs of promise. Meanwhile, Manchester United are very much in the same position as they are very low on confidence and also struggle in front of goal, so it is highly unlikely we will see plenty of fireworks at St James’ Park.
Verdict: Both teams to score – No
Best Odds: 8/11
Bookmaker: William Hill