MX23RW : Tuesday, December 11 09:44:35

Preview: Manchester United vs. Newcastle United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides a full match preview of Saturday's Premier League clash between Manchester United and winless Newcastle United, including team news and predictions.

Manchester United will be looking to recover from their worst ever Premier League start when they welcome Newcastle United to Old Trafford on Saturday.

Jose Mourinho's side have picked up just 10 points from their opening seven games of the season, but take on a Newcastle team still searching for their first win of the campaign.

Man Utd

Jose Mourinho looking downbeat during the EFL Cup third-round game between Manchester United and Derby County on September 25, 2018© Reuters

Another week, another string of sagas at Manchester United, who are dominating almost every headline in football for all the wrong reasons at the moment.

If the latest reports are to be believed, Mourinho read the riot act to his players prior to Tuesday night's Champions League match against Valencia, and what he got in response was yet another dour display at Old Trafford.

The goalless draw saw them surrender top spot in Group H and extend their winless run to four matches across all competitions, having also drawn with Wolverhampton Wanderers and lost to Derby County and West Ham United in that time.

United have not gone five games without a victory since December 2015, and they know that they must find a return to winning ways sooner rather than later with successive matches against Chelsea, Juventus and Everton immediately after the international break.

There is no shortage of things for Mourinho to sort out at the moment, but chief among them must be his side's home form. United have not won in front of their own fans since the very opening day of the season almost two months ago, going four home games without a win since then.

No longer is Old Trafford the fortress it once was under Sir Alex Ferguson, although those associated with United will hope that Newcastle are the perfect opposition against whom to return to form, having lost just one home game against the Magpies since 1972.

The current United team looks like a group bereft of confidence, though, and that will surely not be helped by further thinly-veiled criticism being levelled at them by Mourinho in the wake of the uninspiring Valencia stalemate.

Speculation regarding Mourinho's own future continues to grow too, and a defeat to Newcastle this weekend could leave the club's hierarchy with an important decision to make during the second international break of the season.

The supporters made their opinion clear by booing the team off the pitch at full time on Tuesday night, and with relentless reports of fallouts with everyone from his players to chief executive Ed Woodward, Mourinho's position is seemingly becoming more and more tenuous with each poor result at the moment.

It is not just a win that supporters want either; they want to see the team playing in a manner befitting not just United as a club, but also the quality of players they have at their disposal.

Recent Premier League form: LLWWDL
Recent form (all competitions): WWDLLD


Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez watches on during his side's EFL Cup clash with Nottingham Forest on August 29, 2018© Reuters

Newcastle fans would be forgiven for not having too much sympathy for the current plight of Manchester United, particularly given their own situation at the moment.

Protests against owner Mike Ashley continue to take place on a weekly basis, but the search for a new owner of the club has so far proved fruitless and the supporters may have to muster up some ambitious fresh hope that Ashley will invest in the squad should he still be at the helm in January.

Even if he wasn't planning to sell, Ashley's track record suggests that will not be the case, which means that Newcastle will likely need to rely on further magic being sprinkled by manager Rafael Benitez.

A 10th-place finish last season was a remarkable achievement for the Magpies, but they have been slow to get going this term and travel to Old Trafford as one of only three Premier League teams still without a win this season.

Three points already separate them from safety as a result, and with seven defeats from their nine games across all competitions so far in 2018-19, it would not be a surprise to see that gap grow this weekend.

In Newcastle's defence, they were handed a rotten start to the season and things will begin to get easier after the international break. Including this weekend's match, the Magpies will have faced five of last season's top six in their opening eight games.

Indeed, the only points Newcastle have garnered so far have come against the only two teams they have faced who finished below them last term - Crystal Palace and newly-promoted Cardiff City - so a run of fixtures against Brighton & Hove Albion, Southampton, Watford and Bournemouth - all of whom also finished below Newcastle in 2017-18 - will be welcome after the international break.

It is not quite time for panic stations for Newcastle, then, and they may take some encouragement from their narrow defeats at Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City already this season heading up to Old Trafford.

However, the Magpies have not beaten one of the 'big six' away from home in the Premier League since December 2015 and have recorded only two wins in their 42 Premier League away games in Manchester, losing 28 of those.

Failure to improve on that statistic means that Newcastle would go eight top-flight games without winning at the start of a season for only the third time in their history, with their current record standing at 10 in 1898-99.

Recent form: DLLLDL
Recent form (all competitions): LLLLDL

Team News

Paul Pogba reacts while in action for Manchester United on September 22, 2018© Reuters

Paul Pogba is expected to maintain his record of starting in every Premier League game so far this season, despite his ongoing dispute with manager Mourinho.

Marcus Rashford will also be hopeful of keeping his place in the starting lineup, having been United's best player against Valencia, which will force Mourinho to decide between either Alexis Sanchez - dropped last weekend against West Ham - or Anthony Martial.

Jesse Lingard, Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo all missed Tuesday's bore draw and remain doubts for this match, but Ashley Young is back available and Mourinho could also opt to bring the likes of Fred and Victor Lindelof back into the team.

Romelu Lukaku will lead the line again as he looks to end a five-game goal drought, and he has a good record against Newcastle having had a direct hand in 10 goals in as many Premier League appearances against the Magpies.

Newcastle, meanwhile, are still without Salomon Rondon due to a thigh injury, while long-term absentee Florian Lejeune also remains on the sidelines.

There could be returns for defensive duo Federico Fernandez and Paul Dummett, though, with both facing late fitness tests to determine whether they have recovered from hamstring injuries.

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw; Fred, Matic, Pogba; Sanchez, Lukaku, Rashford

Newcastle possible starting lineup:
Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey, Kenedy; Perez; Joselu

Head To Head

Newcastle have a woeful record against Manchester United in recent years, but they did win the most recent fixture back in February when Matt Ritchie scored the only goal of the game at St James' Park.

That was only their third win in the past 29 Premier League meetings, though, and on Saturday they will be bidding to win back-to-back league games against the Red Devils for the first time since October 1972.

At Old Trafford Newcastle have only won one of their last 36 matches across all competitions, though, with that coming courtesy of Yohan Cabaye's goal in December 2013.

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We say: Manchester United 2-0 Newcastle

Newcastle may not come up against a more vulnerable Manchester United than this for quite some time, but they are in no state to take advantage themselves. This looks like the perfect fixture for the hosts to return to winning ways, and anything less would pile even more pressure on the shoulders of Mourinho.

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Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash between Man Utd and Newcastle?

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Paul Pogba reacts while in action for Manchester United on September 22, 2018
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