Newcastle host Man United at St. James’ Park on Sunday in the English Premier League. The hosts hit a tough run of form and looked in danger of falling out of the top-four race. Successive wins mean they’re just two points off the Champions League spots. A win in this one and they’d leapfrog United on goal difference after the Red Devils dropped four points in their last two matches.
Eddie Howe’s team have the best defensive record in the Premier League and have lost just three times all season. They recently hit a run of one victory in seven in the league and fell outside the top four spots. Successive 1-1 league draws at home to struggling West Ham and at relegation-threatened Bournemouth proved damaging.
They were then beaten 2-0 at home by Liverpool and lost 2-0 in the Carabao Cup final to Man Utd. After losing 2-0 at Man City in their following match, their season had the potential to unravel. Instead, Newcastle have bounced back to win their last two matches. They scored in the 79th minute to beat Wolves 2-1 at home and then scored an injury-time penalty to win 2-1 at Nottingham Forest last time out.
Newcastle Team News
Nick Pope (knock) and Sven Botman (illness) should both be fit to start this match. However, Miguel Almiron and Anthony Gordon will both be absent down the flanks. Joelinton returns from a two-match suspension and could play down the left wing.
Alexander Isak is set to keep his place up front in preference to misfiring Callum Wilson. Jacob Murphy will cover for the injured wingers on the right flank.
Newcastle knows how big a win could be, especially as it takes them above Man Utd in the table. Against Arsenal, the Magpies played very defensively but that was on the road.
Howe’s team are expected to attack in this one with the home crowd behind them. A draw isn’t a bad result but they won’t play for one.
Man Utd Form
United have dropped four points in their last two league matches. They beat nine-man Fulham 3-1 last time out at Wembley after being outplayed until the dismissals. Their last 16 matches have seen just one loss whilst they also lifted the League Cup by beating Newcastle 2-0, ending a six-year trophy drought.
A 7-0 loss at Anfield proved humiliating and they bounced back well to beat Real Betis 3-1 at home and then 1-0 away, but they could only draw 0-0 in between that with ten men against lowly Southampton in their last league match three weeks ago.
Man Utd Team News
The Red Devils could finally have Anthony Martial back in the reckoning after constant injuries. Christian Eriksen and Donny Van De Beek are both ruled out and Casemiro is suspended. The midfield is a question mark but Marcel Sabitzer, Fred, and Bruno Fernandes could form the trio.
Raphael Varane is expected to be fit after injury but Alejandro Garnacho is out. Marcus Rashford has had the FIFA break to overcome a niggling knock and is a certain starter here.
Man Utd Motivation
United have a three-point lead over Newcastle and would probably see this as a must-not-lose fixture. A defeat could see them end the weekend outside the top four.
Erik Ten Hag could be more pragmatic in this one, settle for a draw quite early, and then focus on beating Brentford and Everton in home matches.
Newcastle have lost just once in 14 home EPL matches (W8, D5)
Newcastle have drawn 5 of their last 10 EPL matches
Newcastle have scored 1 or fewer goals in 8 of their last 10 league matches
Man Utd’s Rashford has scored 18 goals in 23 matches since the World Cup
Man Utd have scored 2+ goals in 14 of their last 16 matches (all competitions)
Man Utd have 1 win in their last 4 away matches (Premier League)
This is expected to be a hard-fought match. Both sides have players absent but United look harder hit, especially in midfield. Newcastle have enough to avoid defeat at home, where they rarely lose matches.