Manchester United will be looking to add a victory to their points tally when they host Newcastle United at Old Trafford on Matchday 4 of the 21-22 Premier League season. This match is expected to be Cristiano Ronaldo‘s 2nd debut for United, who will most certainly want to mark the occasion with a big victory.
So far this season, both teams have accumulated a similar xG, but the outcomes have been very different for both teams.
With seven points from their first four games, the Red Devils sit third in the Premier League standings, only behind Tottenham(nine points) and West Ham United(on goal difference). Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men started the season with a 5-1 home win over Leeds United, followed by a draw away from home against Southampton. On Matchday 3, they travelled to the Molineux Stadium and picked up a closely fought 1-0 victory over Wolves. Both Mason Greenwood and Bruno Fernandes have already scored three Premier League goals each for the Red Devils.
The Magpies expected to be out of relegation trouble this season, but following a poor transfer window, they have had a woeful start to the 20-21 season, only getting one point from their first three games of the season. Newcastle United lost 2-4 at home to the Hammers on the opening day of the season, followed by a 2-0 defeat at Villa Park. On Matchday 3, they secured their first point with a draw against Southampton at home which saw them move outside the relegation zone into 17th.
Manchester United are a team that is known for using their pace in attack and playing a lot of through balls. On the contrary, Newcastle lack the same kind of pace in their ranks, and defending against the pacey runs and through balls of the Red Devils is going to be a big ask from them.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a long list of injuries on his hand before the game. New signing Jadon Sancho has taken a knock and is a doubt for this fixture, with Marcus Rashford, Alex Telles and Scott McTonimay being the other big names out injured. Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to start this weekend as a number 9 so that he can lead the line in the most meaningful way possible.
Manchester United’s Predicted Starting XI: GK – David De Gea, LB – Luke Shaw, CBs – Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane, RB – Aaron Wan-Bissaka, CDMs – Paul Pogba and Fred, LW – Greenwood*, CAM – Bruno Fernandes, RW – Daniel James, ST – Cristiano Ronaldo
(If Sancho recovers from his knock, he will replace Greenwood)
Like Ole, Steve Bruce too has a long list of injured players on his hands. Goalkeepers Darlow(covid-19) and Dubravka(injury) are both unavailable. The absence of their more experienced goalkeepers has been a problem for Newcastle United, as their save percentage is one of the lowest in the league. Among the outfield players, injuries will keep Ryan Fraser, Jonjo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden out of the matchday squad. Miguel Almiron is expected, but not sure to return in time from South America, while Callum Wilson will try to complete his recovery in time for the game against Man Utd.
Newcastle United’s Predicted Starting XI: GK – Freddie Woodman, CBs – Federico Fernandez, Jamal Lascelles and Fabian Schar, RWB – Jacob Murphy, CM – Joe Willock, Sean Longstaff and Jeff Hendrick*, LWB – Matt Richie, ST – Allan Saint-Maxin, ST – Joelinton*
(Jeff Hendrick will start only if Almiron isn’t available on time, same with Joelinton and Callum Wilson)
Manchester United posses too much quality for a struggling Newcastle United, who do not have the best of defences and have conceded eight goals in their first three matches. In comparison, Manchester United have conceded just two goals so far this season. If the Magpies defend in the same way that they have so far this season, a Ronaldo led Man Utd has the capability to provide them with a massive thrashing on Saturday.