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Other SportsNewcastle United v Manchester United: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and...

Newcastle United v Manchester United: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

The state of play

It may not feel like it for a club which seems to be in perpetual crisis, but Manchester United actually enter this weekend’s set of fixtures as the Premier League’s form team.

A run of five wins in their last six league games has lifted the Red Devils to sixth in the table, four points adrift of fourth-placed Aston Villa and one clear of Newcastle United in seventh. Though those victories – over Brentford, Sheffield United, Fulham, Luton Town and Everton – have staved off any immediate threat to Erik ten Hag’s position, it seems the next setback is never far away at Old Trafford.

Wednesday’s chaotic 3-3 draw with Galatasaray in Istanbul leaves United needing a minor miracle to progress in the UEFA Champions League, with all their hard work to reach the top four in 2022-23 set to go to waste. Maintaining their domestic momentum and clinching another top-four finish is not only United’s aim, it is surely their minimum requirement.

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Newcastle are also on the brink of an early Champions League exit after Tuesday’s highly controversial 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain, with VAR the talking point once again as Kylian Mbappe’s contentious stoppage-time penalty cancelled out Alexander Isak’s opener in France.

Howe’s men should be encouraged by their brave rearguard action in Paris, however, and they have made light of a lengthy injury list on the domestic front lately, winning their last five Premier League home games including a 4-1 rout of Chelsea last Saturday.

They hammered United 3-0 at Old Trafford in the EFL Cup on November 1, avenging their defeat in the final of the same competition last season. The Magpies also took four points against the Red Devils in the Premier League in 2022-23 – will they torment them again on Saturday?

Team news

United were without Marcus Rashford through suspension in Europe this week, but the England forward is eligible to return here, having ended a 12-game goal drought by converting a penalty in last Sunday’s 3-0 win at Everton.

Casemiro, Christian Eriksen and Mason Mount are still out, so Kobbie Mainoo will compete with Sofyan Amrabat for a starting spot in midfield, with defenders Lisandro Martinez and Jonny Evans also still out.

Newcastle are still battling a lengthy injury list, with Callum Wilson, Sven Botman, Jacob Murphy, Dan Burn, Joe Willock, Harvey Barnes and Matt Targett among their long-term absentees. Sean Longstaff is also out, so 17-year-old Lewis Miley will again start in the middle of the park.

Expected line-ups

Newcastle United: Pope; Trippier, Lascelles, Schar, Livramento; Miley, Guimaraes, Joelinton; Almiron, Isak, Gordon.

Manchester United: Onana; Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Shaw; McTominay, Mainoo; Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford; Hojlund.

What they said

Howe on Newcastle’s reaction to Tuesday’s controversial defeat:

“The results, whether positive or negative, can’t linger with us, even for a couple of days because that influences what happens in the future.

“When something like that happens, you allow the players to be emotional but we don’t want to view ourselves as victims. It’s happened, we put it to the back of our heads and use it as motivation. You can’t wallow in it, there’s no positive element to feeling sorry for yourself.”

On Saturday’s opponents: 

“We respect their team and their manager. They are an outstanding team and I think these games against the bigger clubs are always very difficult and always decided by fine margins.

“In big moments you are looking for big players to step up and potentially win you the game. I think that is the situation we are in, but we know we are going to have to be at our very best to win.”

Ten Hag on Newcastle:

“I really respect them. It’s a difficult team to play but it’s a good challenge and I like to play against them. We have to rise to the occasion, be our best against them, because the way they play is very organised.

“On Wednesday, we played very good, also in Copenhagen. Even at Bayern Munich we played very well. We have to do some things better, eliminate individual errors, but we can sort this out. I would be more concerned if we didn’t play well.”

When and how to watch

Saturday’s game will kick off at the later-than-usual time of 20:00 in the UK, and will be shown live on TNT Sports 1 and TNT Sports Ultimate in the UK.

Prediction

While Newcastle have a strong recent record against United and have defied their injury list to produce several brave performances lately, United will be desperate to bounce back from their latest Champions League disappointment here.

Key players are missing through the spines of both teams, so a frantic, fast-paced affair is likely. Expect a score draw as these top-four rivals take swings at one another, with neither quite managing to land a knockout blow.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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