Premier League football continues its hectic schedule with Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United taking on Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United side on matchday 11.
Newcastle goes into the fixture fresh after a fantastic 5-1 victory against Brentford last weekend. The Magpies currently sit in 6th in the league table and just one point behind their opponent after losing just one game in all competitions this season. Eddie Howe’s players have won their last two consecutive games for the first time this season and they will be more than eager to continue that run against this United side.
Manchester United will arrive at St. James’ Park just three days after their close encounter against Europa League opposition, Omonia Nicosia. Domestically, The Red Devils were able to successfully see out their last game in the Premier League with a 2-1 win against Everton and have built up a good momentum of form, winning five of their last six games in the league.
When and Where?
Date: 16th October 2022.
Venue: St. James’ Park.
Time: 14:00 BST.
Referee: Craig Pawson.
Assistant referees: Marc Perry, Scott Ledger.
Fourth official: David Coote.
VAR: Jarred Gillett.
Assistant VAR: Neil Davies.
The injury list has been slightly reduced for the upcoming game, although a notable addition to the medical room is club-record signing, Alexander Isak, who is confirmed to miss out with a thigh injury sustained from international duty with Sweden. Jonjo Shelvey has also been recently confirmed to miss out, as well as Karl Darlow who is currently recovering from a long-term injury. Matt Ritchie’s calf problem is proving to be unconvincing and will also unlikely feature.
Manchester United’s team news is rather interesting, with club captain, Harry Maguire, ruled out of the game, as well as minor injuries to Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, Brandon Williams, and Donny van de Beek causing them to miss out. Scott McTominay’s accumulation of five yellow cards in the season means that he will be ineligible for the game and goalkeeper and current Newcastle loanee, Martin Dubravka, will also be ineligible in the match against his parent club. Previously injured French players, Raphael Varane and Anthony Martial look favourable to return to the side after being eased in on several occasions.
Newcastle has looked impressive with Eddie Howe this season and they appear to be in a clinical run of form, scoring ten goals in just their last three league games. The Tyneside club finally look like they’ve found their groove in maintaining the balance between remaining defensively solid and creating and finishing the created goalscoring opportunities.
Howe has typically set up a 4-3-3 this season, with a focus on creating a midfield block proving to be essential to their defensive resiliency. Off the ball, Newcastle’s wingers frequently sit deeper on the field to adopt more of a 4-5-1 formation and dominate their rivals’ midfield. They are unique in that high pressing from the front is encouraged, putting just three players at the back at risk to thwart a potential counterattack by the opposition. This can easily obstruct passing channels for the opposition.
Howe’s midfield may be considered the most important component of his team. The signing of Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton’s transformation into a box-to-box midfielder has given Newcastle’s midfield a new dimension in terms of how they control possession and generate scoring opportunities. The Brazilian duo, known for their ability to play between the lines and their ability to drop deeper, often receive the ball in congested areas, before gradually advancing up the field to receive it in a dangerous moment to set up a potential scoring opportunity.
Manchester United has seen several tweaks in the way their football is played on the pitch. The noticed inability to effectively distribute and play out from the back by goalkeeper David De Gea has meant that Erik ten Hag has changed the way his side builds up – typically relying on his central defenders to collect and drive forwards with the ball before handing it to either Eriksen or Casemiro.
The slight awkwardness in transition between defence to attack could prove to be costly in the game vs Newcastle, with Bruno Guimaraes or Joelinton potentially licking their lips at the scenario of overloading the United midfield and cutting off the supply; we saw that Casemiro sometimes struggles against pressure with his back to goal in the game vs Everton.
The attacking setup for United is rather unique, with Ten Hag’s side typically changing from the 4-2-3-1 shape into more of a 3-2-5 or even a 3-1-6, depending on the intensity of the game. The United fullbacks will often drift into more central roles, almost as if they were midfielders, and prioritise the wingers to effectively stretch the play and isolate opposition fullbacks into one-versus-one situations. The midfield battle between both sides will be the game-changer and if Newcastle can successfully nullify the passing lanes into wider areas of the pitch, United will find it very difficult to break down the side and largely favour Newcastle to be the scoring team in the game.
The man in form for Newcastle maintained his offensive threat by scoring two goals in the last game vs Brentford. The Brazilian is often touted as arguably Newcastle’s ‘best player’, and with recent interest from Real Madrid creeping up, it’s no surprise that the maestro in midfield has proven to be a big success in black and white this season.
As previously mentioned, the midfield will be a big test for Guimaraes, although his terrific balance of reading the play and putting a stop to it, as well as being positionally astute in attacking areas, means that he will undoubtedly be a key player in the game and has more than enough odds to be the matchwinner in a tough fixture for both sides.
It’s a Brazilian midfield matchup for the key players, with Casemiro holding a heavy responsibility of shielding the Newcastle attacks and being the engine in midfield to generate them himself. Casemiro’s passing ability from all ranges has been shown off in his only two starts for United in all competitions this season, grabbing an assist vs Everton and producing a combined four key passes in both games.
The United attackers and attacking-minded midfielders have all the chance to come out of the game as the key players although, given the huge test in dynamism and positioning responsibility, Casemiro’s role of starting attacks and preventing any of Newcastle’s build-up play or counterattacks will prove to be a crucial decider in who may win the game.
Newcastle United predicted lineup vs Manchester United: Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn, Longstaff, Guimaraes, Willock, Almiron, Wilson, Murphy.
Manchester United predicted lineup vs Newcastle United: De Gea, Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw, Casemiro, Eriksen, Antony, Fernandes, Rashford, Martial.