Newcastle United vs Manchester United: Preview, Live stream & TV channel info, Team News, Prediction
After a weekend of the FA Cup, the focus returns to midweek Premier League action, as a Man United side struggling as an attacking unit travel to Tyneside to face relegation-battling Newcastle United in an attempt to get a grip on their title chances following a horror run of form in December.
Both sides put in FA Cup displays which reflected their shortcomings this entire season – while Newcastle failed to find the back of the net for the fourth game in succession in a 1-0 defeat to Watford, Man United needed a late, late penalty to see off a monumental defensive display by League One side Sheffield United.
A victory against the 20-time League champions will undoubtedly boost the club from the north-east in their survival bid, but do they have the personnel – and critically, the belief – to do it?
Kick-Off and Live Telecast
Channel: Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD
Live Stream: www.starsports.com
Kick-Off: Wednesday, 13th January 2016 – 0115 IST [1945 BST (-1d)]
Venue: St. James’ Park, Newcastle
Newcastle United are waiting on the fitness of midfielders Vurnon Anita and Jack Colback as they recover from a minor muscle injury and a knock respectively. Papiss Cisse remains sidelined with a groin injury. Massadio Haidara, Steven Taylor, Tim Krul and Gabriel Obertan are long-term absentees from the squad.
Manchester United are set to miss out on the services of Bastian Schweinsteiger for the trip to the north-east after he suffered a knee injury in the victory over Sheffield United. Phil Jones is also unlikely to feature, but Ashley Young is set to return after being rested over the weekend. Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia and Marcos Rojo remain long-term absentees from Louis van Gaal’s plans.
Newcastle United: Last 5 games (All Competitions): D-L-L-L-L ( Most Recent - Watford 1-0 Newcastle United)
The Tyneside club simply can’t win a game of football at the moment. They should have been inspired following a morale-boosting 2-1 victory against an in-form Tottenham at White Hart Lane, but things have gone downhill since – a 1-1 draw against wooden spoon holders Aston Villa followed by 4 straight 1-0 reverses have once again resurfaced their early season relegation fears.
Their latest loss against Watford in the third round of the FA Cup – though heartbreaking for the fans – may well be a blessing in disguise for Steve McClaren’s side, as they can fully focus on retaining their Premier League status till the end of the season.
The form of striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has been average to say the least – his impact on games with his height and aerial attribute has been limited so far, with his disciplinary record speaking more volumes than his performance on the pitch.
For the Geordies to stay in the Premier League, they need goals – and Mitrovic will have to improve his decision making in the penalty area if he has to add to his mere 3 goals this season.
Manchester United Last 5 games (All Competitions): L-L-D-W-W ( Most Recent – Man United 1-0 Sheffield United)
The Red Devils may have won their last two games, but their ‘boring’ possession style of play – seemingly part of Louis van Gaal’s philosophy – has invited the wrath of most fans and ex-players, emphasising on the fact that such kind of football is in complete contrast to the attacking culture Manchester United has been renowned for over several generations.
Their failure to open up the Sheffield United defence in the FA Cup tie – despite bucketloads of possession and over-elaborate build up play – is a worrying sign, and van Gaal has been constantly urged to alter his ‘philosophy’ if the Red Devils are to challenge for trophies this season.
At the moment, United are trying to walk the ball into the net, and opposition defences have been well-drilled to ensure they aren’t given the opportunity to do that. A more direct approach to things – crossing from the wings and testing defenders aerially would be a better alternative, as it proved to be during the second half against Swansea.
Whether van Gaal is willing to deploy that tactic against the Magpies is something fans will learn on Tuesday night.
Predicted Starting Line-Ups
1. Man United have won 6 out of the last 8 games against the Magpies (L1, D1), including the last 3 at St. James’ Park.
- The Tynes have failed to score in 3 out of the last 4 meetings with the Red Devils.
- The last time Newcastle scored against Man United at home was in a 3-0 victory in January 2012 – Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and a Phil Jones own goal doing the damage.
1. Steve McClaren’s side have lost their last 4 games – all of them 1-0 defeats.
- They have failed to score in half of their 20 league games this season.
- Forwards Ayoze Perez and Aleksandar Mitrovic have scored just 7 goals between them in a total of 39 appearances combined this season.
1. Last weekend’s 2-1 victory over Swansea was Man United’s first league victory in 7 games. (D3, L3)
- Louis van Gaal has overseen his team play out five 0-0 stalemates in the league this season.
- Anthony Martial has been involved in each of the last 3 goals United have scored in the Premier League. (2 goals, 1 assist)
- David de Gea is set to make his 200th appearance for Man United on Tuesday night.
Georginio Wijnaldum vs Matteo Darmian
One of Newcastle’s most consistent outfield players in what has been a stuttering campaign for the Tyneside club, Georginio Wijnaldum has scored 7 goals this season, at least, 3 more than any of his team-mates.
Playing from a left-wing position, the 25-year old has been a constant threat with his quick feet and ability to cut through an opposition defence on a number of occasions. The job of shutting him out is up to full-back Matteo Darmian, who has been fairly impressive in his first season at Man United.
If the Italian can track Wijnaldum’s movements with the ball at his feet and impede him from making those dangerous approaches into the penalty area, then Man United will fancy their chances to grab all 3 points against a goal-shy Newcastle.
Newcastle United 0-1 Man United
Steve McClaren and his troops appear to be a side short of confidence in all areas of the pitch at the moment with a lack of goals up front and a midfield which is struggling to create any meaningful goal-scoring chances.
Man United will look to exploit this to their advantage – but taking their own net-bulging form into consideration, one can expect them to grind out a result, rather than run away with the game.
Louis van Gaal’s philosophy allows Man United to dominate possession and pass completion; however the result is likely to be decided by a single goal, and hence a 1-0 victory to the visitors seems the most plausible prediction at the moment.