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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Newcastle United and Manchester United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Manchester United return to Premier League action for the first time since their 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur when they make the trip up to Newcastle United on Saturday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be demanding a response to the club's joint-heaviest Premier League defeat, but they face a Newcastle side sitting four points and seven places above them in the early standings.

Match preview

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks forlorn after watching his side thrashed 6-1 by Tottenham on October 4, 2020© Reuters

You have to go back to December 2013 for the last time Newcastle faced Manchester United in a Premier League game while sitting above them in the table.

The Magpies won 1-0 at Old Trafford on that occasion, and a repeat scoreline at St James' Park this time around would pile even more pressure on the shoulders of under-fire manager Solskjaer.

It has been a miserable start to the campaign on and off the pitch for the 20-time English champions, who go into the weekend sitting 16th in the table with only three points from as many games - one win and two home defeats.

Man United have not lost as many as three of their opening four games of a campaign since 1986-87, and the feel-good factor which surrounded the club after a 14-game unbeaten run to end last season has now all but evaporated.

Solskjaer has seen his job come under the spotlight again, with suggestions that Ed Woodward is willing to pull the trigger and Mauricio Pochettino and Massimiliano Allegri among those reportedly waiting in the wings.

Manchester United executive vice-president Ed Woodward pictured in September 2020© Reuters

Rumours of unrest among the players has certainly not helped, while a seemingly disorganised transfer strategy reportedly resulted in Man United missing out on all of Solskjaer's top four targets and instead bringing in Edinson Cavani, Alex Telles and Facundo Pellistri on deadline day.

The hope will be that the new arrivals give the rest of the squad a boost - in Cavani especially they have snapped up a proven winner and goalscorer - and Solskjaer may content himself in the safe assumption that things can surely get no worse than their 6-1 home humiliation at the hands of Tottenham last time out.

The stats add weight to the suggestion that it was one of the worst results in Man United's long and illustrious history; it was their joint-heaviest Premier League defeat, only the fourth time they have lost by five goals in the competition, only the third time they have conceded six goals in a Premier League game, and Spurs became the first visiting team to score four first-half goals away to Man United in the league since they last did so themselves in November 1957.

Questions over Man United's defence - and their priorities in the transfer market - have certainly not been helped by shipping 11 goals in their opening three league games either.

Only West Bromwich Albion have conceded more this term, while Man United have only ever conceded more than that in their opening three league games of a campaign once - 13 way back in 1930-31.

England's Harry Maguire is shown a red card against Denmark in the UEFA Nations League on October 14, 2020© Reuters

Harry Maguire's horror-show for England in midweek has hardly taken the spotlight off the Man United skipper either, and all eyes will be on how he fares against a Newcastle attack which was notoriously miserly last season and has registered the fewest shots on target so far this term.

The Red Devils may actually be relieved to be making the trip up to St James' Park considering they have lost their opening two home league games of a season for only the fifth time but have won five in a row on their travels.

In the midst of all the doom and gloom, Man United could even break a positive record too - never before have they won six consecutive top-flight away games while scoring more than once in each game.

Newcastle's record in this fixture is fast improving, though, with wins in two of their last three home games against the Red Devils - more than they had managed in their previous 13 such matches.

Indeed, the Magpies could win back-to-back home league games against Man United for the first time since 1987, and they will be full of confidence that they can do it, too.

Newcastle United's Callum Wilson scores against Burnley in the Premier League on October 3, 2020© Reuters

A 3-1 triumph over Burnley immediately before the international break lifted them into the top half of the table with seven points from their opening four games - three points and five places better off than they were at the same stage of last season.

Across all competitions they are now unbeaten in four games, while victory on Saturday would see them win back-to-back home league games for the first time since last Christmas.

Even their goalscoring prowess seems to be improving; they may have registered a league-low eight shots on target, but six of those have ended up in the back of the net, giving them a league-high conversion ratio of 75%.

A top-half finish is the goal for Steve Bruce this season, and piling more misery on the club he served with such distinction during his playing days would be a somewhat unexpected boost towards that target.

Newcastle United Premier League form: WLDW
Newcastle United form (all competitions): WLWDWW

Manchester United Premier League form: LWL
Manchester United form (all competitions): LWWWL

Team News

Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani pictured in Ligue 1 action on December 11, 2019© Reuters

Deadline-day signing Cavani is not available to make his debut in this match as he self-isolates as a precaution following his arrival from France.

The Uruguayan could instead make his debut against his former club Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League next week, but for now his absence leaves Man United short up front.

Anthony Martial is suspended following his red card against Spurs, meaning that Odion Ighalo could finally be handed his first Premier League start for the club, although Marcus Rashford or Mason Greenwood could also lead the line.

Bruno Fernandes has been given the green light to play amid fears that his Portugal teammate Cristiano Ronaldo's positive coronavirus test would force him into self-isolation too.

Solskjaer appeared to open the door to the possibility of leaving Maguire out by revealing he picked up a knock before his sending-off in midweek, although he is not blessed with a huge number of quality centre-backs and so the skipper may not be given the break from the spotlight which many have suggested he needs.

The international break may have saved others from being dropped after the Spurs defeat, with the likes of Paul Pogba and David de Gea expected to keep their places.

Luke Shaw may also start, with Telles unlikely to be thrown straight into the lineup having only had a short time with his new teammates after international duty.

Newcastle have had the busiest treatment room in the Premier League over the international break, but Bruce could be boosted by a number of players recovering in time for this match.

Injury doubts Allan Saint-Maximin, Jamaal Lascelles, Jamal Lewis, DeAndre Yedlin, Paul Dummett and Ciaran Clark are all now back in training, but at varying degrees of fitness.

The fact that five of those players are defenders will be of concern to Bruce, who is still without first-choice goalkeeper Martin Dubravka too.

Dwight Gayle and Matt Ritchie are also still sidelined, while Matty Longstaff is not expected to recover in time for this match.

Callum Wilson, who is aiming to become the first player to score as many as five goals in his first five Premier League games for Newcastle since Loic Remy in 2013, will lead the line once again.

Newcastle United possible starting lineup:
Darlow; Manquillo, Hayden, Lascelles, Fernandez, Lewis; Saint-Maximin, Shelvey, Hendrick, Joelinton; Wilson

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Pogba, McTominay; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Ighalo

SM words green background

We say: Newcastle United 1-1 Manchester United

Manchester United are in dire straits at the moment and this is a tricky fixture against a Newcastle side with a decent record against them here in recent seasons.

The visitors will be demanding a response from themselves and their away record of late cannot be ignored, but it is also very hard to back them on current form so we are predicting a share of the spoils.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:

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Newcastle boss Steve Bruce on June 24, 2020
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