Match Preview: Newcastle United vs. Manchester United

In a repeat of February’s EFL Cup final, top-four rivals Newcastle United and Manchester United renew hostilities at St James’ Park in Sunday afternoon’s Premier League showdown.

Only two places and three points separate the two behemoths in the standings at present, as the Red Devils sit pretty in third while the Magpies knock on the door in fifth.

Top-flight endeavors arguably took a back seat for Man United just before the international break, as Erik ten Hag’s side came up trumps in their battles for Europa League and FA Cup supremacy against Real Betis and Fulham respectively.

Dreams of a quadruple are surely too far-fetched for Man United, who played just twice in the Premier League in March – that 7-0 humiliation to Liverpool and goalless draw with Southampton – leaving them safely on the final podium spot and one point clear of Tottenham, who have played two games more.

While Newcastle have lost their defensive sparkle, Man United – rather incredibly – hold the fourth-worst defensive record on the road this season, with their total of 27 goals conceded only better than Bournemouth (38), Nottingham Forest (32) and Leicester City (30).

Tears streamed down the faces of Newcastle players and fans as Man United ended their six-year trophy drought with a 2-0 win in February’s EFL Cup final, and the Magpies are winless in their last six Premier League showdowns with their Manchester counterparts, but they came away from Old Trafford with a creditable point in a goalless stalemate back in October.

As far as Man United are concerned, Casemiro will serve the second of his four-game domestic ban for his sending off against Southampton, while Sabitzer will need a once-over after sustaining a knock with Austria, leaving Ten Hag particularly light in midfield as Donny van de Beek (knee) and Christian Eriksen (ankle) recover from their long-term afflictions.

Sabitzer is thought to have a strong chance of being passed fit, having been spotted in first-team training recently, but the same cannot be said for ankle victims Alejandro Garnacho and Tom Heaton.

On a couple of brighter notes, Anthony Martial could make his long-awaited comeback from a hip problem – although he will certainly start on the bench – while Raphael Varane’s knock should not keep him out of contention for this one either.

Finally, the Red Devils continue to sweat over the condition of 14-goal attacker Marcus Rashford (toe), but he is supposedly winning his battle to be fit and should occupy the left flank.

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Sabitzer, McTominay; Antony, Fernandes, Rashford; Weghorst

About Vince Rosetta 215 Articles
A life long Manchester United fan based in the US.

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