Sunday, May 26, 2019

Prediction: Newcastle vs Manchester United

Verdict: Manchester United win

Best Odds: 3/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

Looking to start 2019 with another impressive showing, a resurgent Manchester United side will travel to St. James’ Park on Wednesday night.

Newcastle

Starting with Wednesday’s hosts, while Newcastle did show some signs of improvement during their three-match winning run back in November, Rafa Benitez’s side entered 2019 in sluggish fashion. Coming off the back of a 1-1 draw with Watford over the weekend, the Magpies have now managed to record just one Premier League win in their last seven outings. Along with now holding the second-worst attacking record in the top-flight, the former Liverpool boss will be growing more concerned by his sides form at St. James’ Park. Newcastle have lost seven home league games in 2018-19, a joint-high with Huddersfield. Unable to hold on to their 2-0 lead over United in the reverse fixture back in October, the hosts also hold a very worrying record against Manchester United. They have now managed to win just one of their last eight matches against the Reds and have also lost all eight fixtures this season against the sides who began 2019 in the top eight of the table.

Team News

Newcastle defender Federico Fernandez suffered a hip injury at Watford and will be assessed, while Ciaran Clark remains a doubt with an ankle problem.

Ki Sung-yeung is away at the Asian Cup but Jonjo Shelvey made his return from injury as a substitute at the weekend.

Manchester United

As for the visitors, after bringing in club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to replace Jose Mourinho last month, few around Old Trafford would have expected Manchester United’s turnaround. Coming off the back of another impressive showing in their 4-1 win over Bournemouth on Saturday, the Reds have now won their last three Premier League matches on the bounce and their form in the final third is really starting to catch the eye. With the Norweigan boss bringing a new attacking identity to Manchester, Wednesday’s visitors have now scored 12 goals on their three-match winning run. Solskjaer is vying to become only the second manager in United’s history to win his first four league games in charge, emulating Matt Busby in 1946. One man who appears to be relishing the change in management is polarizing midfielder Paul Pogba. The Frenchman scored a brace against the Cherries over the weekend and now has four goals in his last two appearances.

Team News

Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez has recovered from a hamstring injury and will be involved for the first time since 24 November.

Eric Bailly is suspended, while Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo remain out.

Marcus Rashford should be fit despite limping off against Bournemouth.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Newcastle’s only win in the eight most recent meetings came at St James’ Park last season courtesy of a Matt Ritchie goal.
  • Newcastle have only won once in seven league matches.
  • They have scored four second-half goals, the equal fewest of any top-flight side.
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is vying to become only the second manager in United’s history to win his first four league games in charge, emulating Matt Busby in 1946.
  • United could score three goals or more in four consecutive Premier League fixtures for the first time since August to September 2011.

Conclusion

On paper, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should see this as the perfect opportunity to extend his winning start to life in Manchester. Given United’s impressive rise under the Norweigan star and Newcastle’s woeful record at St. James’ Park this season, we’re backing Wednesday’s visitors to come away with the three points in the North East.

Verdict: Manchester United win

Best Odds: 3/5

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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