It’s been a season of extremes for Manchester United, with positive results against the top teams of the Premier League, but embarrassing losses against the bottom teams, more recently, Watford. United’s fixture on Boxing day, is one where they would be anxious to regain their lost pride in the reverse fixture. When Manchester United visited St. James Park they left disappointed with a loss of 1-0 in a game which United dominated on all fronts, except goals. However this time around, Newcastle will have a tough time beating them, with United’s best player, Paul Pogba fit.
In this clash against Newcastle, Manchester United will have a firing Marcus Rashford, a sharp Martial, injury free Pogba and a young player in form, Mason Greenwood. In fact it wouldn’t be too surprising if Ole decides to start Greenwood ahead of Martial with the former’s quality finishing an asset to the team, especially with Pogba’s creativity.
Manchester United have struggled to break down compact defences of small teams and managed to get a win against the big teams, by playing on the counter attack. However Pogba’s inclusion in the side will increase United’s stats on several fronts. The number of shots, passes and chances created, will increase and Daniel James will finally be able to make great runs to receive a ball from Paul Pogba, a wonderful piece we saw at Chelsea.
Martial too will benefit from his fellow Frenchman, and Rashford who in spite of doing well in Pogba’s absence will undoubtedly improve with his presence. With Fred and McTominay forming a great partnership, having a dominating figure of Pogba to pass forward to, will only make the midfield look stronger.
All in all it will be a challenge to beat Manchester United and it will definitely take Newcastle more than just a goal in the dying minutes of the game. Newcastle have had quite a crazy season themselves with seven wins, one more than United and currently level on points with them, and down by a spot, courtesy of goal difference. Newcastle however have a talented crop of players with a promising defence of Yedlin, Lascelles, Willems and Schar and a hardworking midfield of the Longstaff brothers.
The attacking department is where quality lacks with Newcastle having the 3rd lowest goals scored, 18. Andy Caroll, their striker is yet to score a goal, and Miguel Almiron their attacking midfielder has score just one in the year he’s been at the club. Joelinton, a young 23 year old attacker, bought from Hoffenheim this season, has also managed just one goal.
It’s concerning when your top 4 goal scorers consist of 1 midfielder and 3 defenders. However what this shows is Newcastle United are good with set pieces and the looming presence of Andy Caroll can only add to that. This seems like an easy win for Manchester United as they look to move to the 6th spot on the table, provided other teams have favourable results.