Manchester United will be bidding to make it four straight wins in all competitions when they welcome an in-form Newcastle United to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
The Red Devils are currently fifth in the table, boasting 15 points from their opening eight matches, while Newcastle are sixth with 14 points, although they have played a game more than Erik ten Hag‘s side.
There is no getting away from the fact that there have been some difficult moments for Ten Hag in the early stages of his career as Man United manager, namely the 4-0 loss at Brentford and 6-3 defeat at Manchester City, but there have been plenty of positive signs for the Dutchman.
Thursday’s 1-0 success over Omonia in the Europa League, which came courtesy of a late Scott McTominay effort, made it eight wins from their last 10 games in all competitions, which has included five Premier League victories over Liverpool, Southampton, Leicester City, Arsenal and Everton.
A record of five wins and three defeats from eight matches has brought the Red Devils 15 points, which has left them in fifth position in the table, one point behind fourth-placed Chelsea and nine behind leaders Arsenal, albeit with a game in hand on the table-topping Gunners.
Man United came from behind to beat Everton in the league last weekend, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring his first Premier League goal of the season, and Ten Hag’s side will now be bidding to continue their strong run of form with a victory over an in-form Newcastle on Sunday afternoon.
The Red Devils are entering a tough run of league matches, as they will face Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and West Ham United in their three after this one, and it will be fascinating to see where the team are in the table heading into the break for the 2022 World Cup.
Man United have won four of their last five Premier League games against Newcastle, including a 4-1 success over the Magpies in the corresponding clash last term, while they are unbeaten against Sunday’s opponents at Old Trafford in the league since December 2013.
Newcastle are now a team to be taken extremely seriously, though, with the club’s recent change of ownership putting them in a position to bring a higher calibre of player to St James’ Park.
Eddie Howe has a brilliant record since arriving as head coach last November, winning 17, drawing 10 and losing 11 of his 38 matches, and the 44-year-old has overseen a strong start to this season, with the team currently sitting sixth in the table, boasting 14 points from their nine matches.
Newcastle have won three, drawn five and lost just once in the league this term, and they will enter this contest off the back of two impressive victories over Fulham and Brentford.
Indeed, the Magpies record a 4-1 victory at Fulham on October 1 before beating Brentford 5-1 last weekend, and their only defeat of the campaign was at Liverpool at the end of August, with Fabio Carvalho netting the winner in the eighth minute of additional time at the end of the 90.
Newcastle are outsiders for a possible top-six challenge this term, and they will play another six times in the league before the break for the World Cup, including a trip to Tottenham on October 23.
A positive result in Manchester this weekend would only strengthen claims that they could push for a European spot in 2022-23, and it would not be a surprise to see them challenging for the biggest honours in English and European football over the next five or 10 years.
Man United will be missing McTominay this weekend through suspension due to the yellow card that the midfielder picked up in the win over Everton last time out.
Donny van de Beek, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe and Harry Maguire are all still injured, while Mason Greenwood remains suspended by the club.
Raphael Varane has been in the squad for the last two games after recovering from injury, though, and he is set to return to the first XI on Sunday afternoon, with Luke Shaw also likely to feature in the starting team.
Christian Eriksen should also be back in midfield alongside Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes, while Ronaldo is set to keep his spot at centre-forward, with Anthony Martial a fitness doubt due to a back issue, and Jadon Sancho recently dropping out of Ten Hag’s preferred first XI.
As for Newcastle, Karl Darlow, Alexander Isak, Jonjo Shelvey, Matt Ritchie and Emil Krafth remain unavailable for selection this weekend.
The Magpies have no fresh injury concerns from the side that started against Brentford, though, and it is therefore expected to be a similar XI on Sunday.
The only change could come in the final third, with Allan Saint-Maximin likely to be given the nod over Jacob Murphy, with Callum Wilson at centre-forward and Miguel Almiron playing off the left.
Bruno Guimaraes scored twice against Brentford and has been in terrific form this season, and the Brazilian will again feature in the middle of the park for Howe’s side.
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Fernandes, Casemiro, Eriksen; Antony, Ronaldo, Rashford
Newcastle United possible starting lineup:
Pope; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn; S Longstaff, Guimaraes, Willock; Saint-Maximin, Wilson, Almiron
This is a really, really tough game for Man United, with Newcastle impressing in the early stages of the 2022-23 campaign. The Magpies will arrive at Old Trafford full of confidence, while they will be the fresher of the two sides, but we are backing Man United to navigate their way to another victory this weekend.
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