Nov 18, 2017 at 5.30pm UK at ​Old Trafford
Attendance: 75,035
Man UtdManchester United
4-1
NewcastleNewcastle United
Martial (37'), Smalling (45'), Pogba (54'), Lukaku (70')
Smalling (67')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Gayle (14')
Hayden (12')

Preview: Manchester United vs. Newcastle United

Sports Mole provides predicted XIs, team news and a full match preview as Jose Mourinho and Rafael Benitez renew their rivalry when Manchester United host Newcastle.

Manchester United will resume their title chase following the international break this weekend when they host Newcastle United at Old Trafford in Saturday's evening kickoff as old managerial rivals Jose Mourinho and Rafael Benitez renew hostilities.

The Red Devils sit eight points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester City, whereas newly-promoted Newcastle have slipped into the bottom half of the table following back-to-back defeats.


Manchester United

Jose Mourinho watches on during the Premier League game between Stoke City and Manchester United on September 9, 2017© SilverHub

Mourinho this week suggested that his team's progress should not be judged solely by whether they win the Premier League title this season, which is perhaps the clearest admission yet that United could struggle to keep pace with their local rivals.

There certainly has been improvement from the Red Devils - this time last season they sat sixth in the table with 18 points to their name, and they failed to improve on that position in the final standings.

After 11 games this time around they are four places and five points better off, although that has been overshadowed by the relentless form of Manchester City, who have still dropped just two points all season.

Should results go against them this weekend then United could find themselves 11 points adrift of Pep Guardiola's side which, while not being an unassailable gap, would be a huge ask for them to recover from even if City's form dips.

All United can do now is simply keep on winning, although they have taken maximum points from just one of their last four Premier League games after winning six of their opening seven.

The goals have dried up too; Romelu Lukaku is currently on a seven-match drought for his club and the team as a whole have only found the back of the net twice in the league since the end of September - a far cry from the 21 goals they scored in their opening seven league outings.

Defeat to Chelsea on Mourinho's latest return to Stamford Bridge before the international break means that United could lose back-to-back games in all competitions for the first time since September 2016, although all of their dropped points so far this season have come on the road.

United have a perfect record of five wins from five games at Old Trafford in the Premier League this term and are yet to even concede in front of their own fans, scoring 15 goals without reply in that time.

Indeed, stretching back to last season they have now kept six Premier League home clean sheets in a row, and you have to go back to Gylfi Sigurdsson's goal for Swansea City in April for the last time United both conceded and failed to win a league game at home.

Mourinho's side have maintained that remarkable form in other competitions too and are currently on a nine-match winning streak at Old Trafford, during which time they have scored 26 goals and conceded just once.

It is now 38 matches since United last tasted defeat on home turf too, stretching all the way back to September 2016 when they lost 2-1 to Manchester City in the Premier League.

The visit of Newcastle appears on paper to be the perfect opportunity to rediscover their form, then, although Mourinho will be wary having already fallen to one shock defeat against a promoted side this season.

Recent Premier League form: WWDLWL
Recent form (all competitions): WLWWWL


Newcastle

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez reacts during his side's Premier League clash with Liverpool at St James' Park on October 1, 2017© SilverHub

It has been 10 years since Benitez last came up against Mourinho, but that rivalry will be rekindled when the Spaniard brings his Newcastle side to Old Trafford this weekend.

Plenty has happened since their last direct meeting in August 2007, with both taking charge of Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea, although Benitez has since had to rebuild his reputation whereas Mourinho has consistently remained among the most highly-rated managers in the game.

Newcastle fans would not rate many managers more highly than Benitez right now, though; the Spaniard stayed loyal to the club when they were relegated to the Championship in 2015-16 and led them to an immediate return to the Premier League by winning the title last season.

The Magpies have made a solid start to life back in the big time too, sitting 11th in the table with 14 points from their opening 11 games of the season.

That form has dipped in recent weeks, though, with Newcastle having won just one of their last five league games following a spell of three top-flight victories on the bounce.

Back-to-back 1-0 defeats at the hands of Burnley and Bournemouth before the international break were particularly disappointing results, and another loss on Saturday would make it three consecutive Premier League defeats for the first time since March 2016.

Benitez's side have won just one of their away games so far this season too, and if you go back to their previous spell in the top-flight they have lost 12 and won just one of their last 16 Premier League outings on the road.

An away trip to United is a different proposition to their most recent defeat on the road at Turf Moor, though, and Benitez is arguably even more adept at grinding out results from this type of game than he is when his side goes into matches on more even footing.

The Spaniard will certainly relish the chance to get one over on his old rival and spoil United's perfect home record, and it is worth noting that the Magpies have not lost any of their last seven Premier League away games by more than one goal.

Ultimately it is unlikely that trips to places like Old Trafford will be the deciding factor in whether Newcastle avoid relegation this season, though, so anything Benitez is able to mastermind on Saturday will be a bonus.

Recent form: LDDWLL


Team News

Phil Jones receives treatment during the Premier League game between Huddersfield Town and Manchester United on October 21, 2017© SilverHub

Mourinho is expected to be without Phil Jones for this weekend's match after the defender limped off with a thigh injury after less than half an hour of England's draw with Germany during the international break.

United suffered no other injury scares during the break, though, and were even handed a boost as Marcos Rojo returned to action for the first time since April during an Under-23 match.

Rojo is still at least three weeks away from being in contention for the first team, but Michael Carrick and Paul Pogba could return sooner - albeit not in time for this weekend.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the only other long-term absentee for the Red Devils, and in his continued absence Lukaku will be hoping to find the goal trail once again having broken his drought to become Belgium's highest ever goalscorer this week.

Newcastle are sweating over the fitness of captain Jamaal Lascelles, although the defender is expected to miss the game with an ankle injury.

Christian Atsu is also a major doubt having suffered a thigh muscle tear on international duty with Ghana, while Mikel Merino and Paul Dummett are definitely sidelined.

Man Utd possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Bailly, Smalling, Blind; Valencia, Fellaini, Matic, Young; Mkhitaryan, Lukaku, Rashford

Newcastle possible starting lineup:
Elliot; Yedlin, Clark, Lejeune, Manquillo; Ritchie, Hayden, Shelvey, Diame, Murphy; Gayle


Head To Head

Manchester United have dominated this fixture since the turn of the century, losing just two of the last 29 meetings across all competitions - the most recent of which came at Old Trafford in December 2013.

That defeat is United's only home loss to Newcastle in the league from the Magpies' last 32 visits to Old Trafford, with the Red Devils picking up 22 wins in that time too.

The most recent clash between these two sides in Manchester finished 0-0, though, with Newcastle picking up draws home and away against United during the 2015-16 campaign despite going on to suffer relegation.

Benitez and Mourinho locked horns on no fewer than 16 occasions in under three years during their time in charge of Liverpool and Chelsea respectively, with Mourinho winning seven to Benitez's five, although the Spaniard did come out on top in two memorable Champions League semi-finals.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Man Utd 2-0 Newcastle

Neither side has been in particularly good form in the Premier League recently, but United's home record so far this season cannot be ignored. Benitez is entirely capable of frustrating United at Old Trafford, but we are backing the hosts to come out on top.


Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash between Manchester United and Newcastle?

Man Utd
Draw
Newcastle
Man Utd
77.5%
Draw
15.0%
Newcastle
7.5%
A crotch-focused shot of Zlatan Ibrahimovic
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2Manchester UnitedMan Utd17122337112638
3Chelsea17112431141735
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs1794430141631
5Liverpool1787234201431
6Burnley179441612431
7Arsenal1793530201030
8Leicester CityLeicester177552723426
9Watford176472629-322
10Everton176472129-822
11Southampton174671723-618
12Huddersfield TownHuddersfield175391229-1718
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton174581423-917
14Bournemouth174491520-516
15Stoke CityStoke174491936-1716
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle1743101626-1015
17West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom172871222-1014
18Crystal Palace173591228-1614
19West Ham UnitedWest Ham173591432-1814
20Swansea CitySwansea173311922-1312
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