Sunday, May 9, 2021

Prediction: Manchester United vs Newcastle

Verdict: Newcastle to score anytime

Best Odds: 5/6

Bookmaker: Bet365

Desperate to make a return to winning ways on Boxing Day, Manchester United will welcome a high-flying Newcastle to Old Trafford on Thursday evening.

Manchester United

Starting with the hosts, while it may have appeared that Manchester United had finally turned a corner after picking up back-to-back victories over Spurs and the defending champions, the Reds once again come crashing back down to earth over the weekend. Putting in an incredibly worrying display in their 2-0 defeat against a rock-bottom Watford at Vicarage Road, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men once again find themselves sat six points adrift of the top-four. With Sunday’s defeat in the capital bringing an end to United’s six-match Premier League unbeaten run, there is no doubt that the Red Devils will be glad to make a return to Old Trafford on Boxing Day. Booking their spot in the semi-final of this year’s EFL Cup with a 3-0 victory over League Two outfit Colchester earlier in the month, Solskjaer’s side have lost just a single matchup across any format on home soil since opening the 2019/2020 campaign.

Team News

Paul Pogba may start for Manchester United after making his return from injury as a substitute against Watford.

Diogo Dalot is another available option but Eric Bailly, Angel Gomes and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are still missing.

Newcastle

As for the visitors, making a return to winning ways after snatching a 1-0 win off of Crystal Palace in the North East over the weekend, few across the Premier League would have expected Newcastle’s rise entering the festive period. Despite much displeasure over the arrival of Steve Bruce over the summer, the Magpies open Christmas Day in ninth and the one-time Sunderland boss has seen his side win three of their last four top-flight outings. With the mood around St. James’ Park arguably the highest it has been in recent memory, Thursday’s guests have lost just a pair of their last nine Premier League appearances, a run highlighted by a 2-2 draw against defending champions Manchester City last month. With summer signing Miguel Almirón bagging his first goal over the weekend, the Magpies should also be boosted by their most recent meeting against Manchester United. When the two sides met back in October, Newcastle grabbed a famous 1-0 win.

Team News

Newcastle United are expected to be without Paul Dummett because of a groin injury but Jetro Willems has returned to training and may feature.

Allan Saint-Maximin, Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark, Matt Ritchie and Ki Sung-Yeung all remain out for the Magpies.

Key Factors to Consider

  • When the two sides met back in October, Newcastle picked up a 1-0 win at St. James’ Park.
  • Manchester United’s 2-0 defeat at Watford over the weekend brought an end to their six-match Premier League unbeaten run.
  • The Reds have recorded just two Premier League clean sheets this season.
  • Newcastle have lost just two of their last nine Premier League matchups.
  • Six of United’s last seven matches at Old Trafford have seen over 2.5 goals at full-time.

Conclusion

While Manchester United might open Thursday’s contest as a clear favorite with the bookmakers, a resurging Newcastle will prove to be a tough test. With the Boxing Day hosts recording just two Premier League clean sheets all season, the Magpies should be looking to exploit United’s issues at the back and are undoubtedly still boosted by their 1-0 win over the former champions back in October. With a newfound confidence in the North East, we’re backing Steve Bruce’s side to find the net at some point in midweek.

Verdict: Newcastle to score anytime 

Best Odds: 5/6

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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