After their emphatic 4-0 victory in the Europa League midweek, Man Utd will be hoping to get a successive win when they host Newcastle at Old Trafford this evening, kick off 19:00.
Man Utd have dropped 4 points in their last two games in the Premier League, falling further behind the leaders – Man City – and losing their lead over the teams behind.
This makes today’s game against Newcastle massively significant for Utd, as with Leicester currently level on points, a win will be essential if they want to ensure they keep their second-place position in the table.
Paul Pogba and Phil Jones remain unavailable due to injury. Donny Van de Beek and Edinson Cavani both missed the trip to Italy mid-week due to muscle injuries. In his pre-match press conference, Utd manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said, “they’ve got a chance” of being available for Sunday but they will have to be assessed again on Saturday.
Scott McTominay was substituted in the 60th minute of the game against Real Sociedad with what appeared to be an injury. His current fitness is unknown; therefore he remains a doubt for this game.
Newcastle will be without Callum Wilson, Fabian Schar and Javier Manquillo who are all still recovering from injuries picked up in early February.
Federico Fernandez returned to training this week, nevertheless, Newcastle manager Steve Bruce stated in his pre-match press conference that the game against Man Utd will be too soon for the centre-back.
Other than this, Bruce confirmed that, “there are no new injuries ahead of the weekend. Thankfully, at the minute we’re okay.”
Man Utd Expected XI (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Matic, Fred; Rashford, Fernandes, Greenwood; Martial
Dean Henderson gained another clean sheet on Thursday evening, putting in a solid performance between the posts. Nevertheless, Solskjaer is likely to opt with David De Gea for today’s game, resting Henderson for the Europa League match next Thursday.
At the back, Solskjaer is likely to rotate the squad again, recalling the usual back four who have played the majority of Premier League games. This means Victor Lindelof will come in for Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw for Alex Telles.
It is possible Solskjaer would have preferred to have had Fred and Scott McTominay in the holding midfield positions. However, as McTominay is a doubt for the game, Nemanja Matic is likely to be the chosen replacement for the Scotsman.
Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood are all favourites to keep their place in the eleven, with Greenwood moving into a right-wing position. As Edinson Cavani is still a doubt, Anthony Martial is likely to get the chance to return to his traditional centre-forward position.
Newcastle Utd Expected XI (4-3-1-2): Darlow; Krafth, Lascelles, Clark, Lewis; Willock, Hayden, Shelvey; Almiron; Saint-Maximin, Gayle.
It is not expected that Newcastle Utd will make many changes to their side.
Alternatives for Newcastle come in the form of Jeff Hendrick, who is back from suspension, alongside Ryan Fraser, Sean Longstaff and Joelinton who are all pushing for recalls to the squad.
With Newcastle Utd’s current record – having won only 2 out of their last 13 games – alongside the fact they are missing their star striker, Callum Wilson, it is not likely to be an easy game for the away side. Whereas, Man Utd’s desperate need for three points, coupled with their impressive performance mid-week, will most likely have created some momentum within the squad and a belief that they can win this game.
Therefore, the predicted result is: Man Utd 2 – 0 Newcastle Utd