Newcastle United vs Manchester United
St James’ Park, Newcastle upon Tyne
Manchester United only managed to score from the spot in Fergie time, despite enjoying possession of over 70% against Sheffield United on Saturday afternoon and they take to relegation-battling Newcastle United later today.
Who comes in?
Marcus Rojo, Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia will all miss the trip thanks to long-term injuries, while Ashley Young, who was unused in the third round FA Cup fixture to avoid any potential injury, still remains doubtful. Bastian Schweinsteiger picked up an injury to his knee and will not feature against the Magpies. In addition, Morgan Schneiderlin is doubtful as Louis van Gaal feels he is in his so-called red zone.
With Papiss Cisse injured and Emmanuel Riviere working on a return after his knee surgery, Steve McLaren will play 21-year-old goal-shy striker Aleksandar Mitrovic. Long-term absentees Tim Krul, Steven Taylor, Mike Williamson, Gabriel Obertan and Massadio Haidara will miss the Red Devils fixture.
Newcastle have completed the signing of Senegal international Henri Saivet from Bordeaux to make up for the multitude of injuries to their midfielders have currently suffered and he is expected to walk into the starting eleven straight away.
How significant is this clash?
The Toons boss shrugged off the FA Cup defeat to Watford as he admitted that he was already concentrating on the Manchester United fixture. The home team sit 18th in the Premier League table on 17 points and will hope to get something out of this fixture to keep their survival hopes alive.
On the other hand, Manchester United gaffer seems to have prioritized results over attractive football and will embrace a scrappy 0-1 victory to be in contention to qualify for Champions League next season. However, failing to win at St James’ Park can well draw the curtain on his managerial career.
How have they fared against each other?
Newcastle and Manchester United have played 12 Premier League games between them, but the former have managed to bag all three points only on two occasions. Their recent meeting bears testimony to their common problem – lack of creativity – as they played out a goalless draw at Old Trafford earlier this season.
What do the gaffers have to say?
Steve McClaren: “We’ve had two disappointing performances, Leicester and Crystal Palace, but since then the attitude has been fantastic, we’ve scored goals and won games, but the last four we haven’t scored goals. I can understand everyone is frustrated and angry, we have to be patient, we have to use our experience.”
Louis van Gaal: “We have won two matches in a row out of a bad period. You have to be happy as a Manchester United fan that we have won two matches in a row and we are in the next round.”
Newcastle: Elliot; Mbemba, Lascelles, Dummett, Janmaat; Sissoko, Tiote, Wijnaldum, Thauvin, De Jong; Mitrovic
Man United: De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Borthwick-Jackson; Carrick, Schneiderlin; Depay, Herrera, Martial; Rooney
- Manchester United have lost just two of their previous 26 league clashes with the Magpies (W18, D6).
- Newcastle have scored just one goal in their last four Premier League games (D1, L3).
- They have won just two of their 10 league matches at home this season (D4, L4).
- Manchester United have only won one of their last seven league matches (D3, L3).
- They have lost their last two Premier League away games (at Bournemouth and Stoke) – they have not lost three successive top-flight away matches since January 1996.
Stats via BBC
Manchester United failed to have a shot on target until the 69th minute against their League One opponents while Newcastle supporters watched their team crash out of the Football Association Cup. Fans of either club will have watched possibly one of the most excruciatingly boring football games of all time when the referee blows the final whistle at Newcastle.