Manchester United V Newcastle United
Saturday 22nd August. 12:45PM. BT Sport 1
This weekend’s Premier League action gets underway at Old Trafford as Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United bid to keep their 100% start to the season going with another three points against Newcastle.
However, Steve McClaren’s Newcastle will be eager to capitalise on tired legs after the home side’s midweek Champions League clash against Brugge. Will the visitors cause an upset or can Manchester United pour yet more sorrow on the Magpies?
Whatever happens, it should be a cracking start to another explosive round of Premier League fixtures. Bring it on!
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Old Trafford Expecting
On the pitch, it has been a great start to the season for Van Gaal’s side as they’ve picked up three straight wins in all competitions. However, the fans will be a little disappointed at missing out on both Nicolas Otamendi and Pedro in the transfer window this week. Consequently, nothing less than a win will suffice against Newcastle.
In truth, the Red Devils shouldn’t have too many problems here. They’ve got a brilliant record against Newcastle in recent years, save a home defeat during the ill-fated David Moyes era, and are by far the superior team on paper.
While there are still some questions to be answered in defence, and between the sticks, the hosts will be pleased with their two clean sheets in the Premier League so far and would love to continue that form here. In the attacking third, Memphis Depay should be in high spirits following his midweek heroics while the likes of Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney will be eager to impress too.
Meanwhile, we could see a first start for summer signing Bastian Schweinsteiger. If he can run the show, the Red Devils should be on to a win.
McClaren Magic Might Not Be Enough
While the summer appointment of Steve McClaren was met with some jeers, there is no doubt that the former Derby County boss will do a better job than temporary predecessor John Carver. Nonetheless, they could be in for a long season ahead and this trip to Old Trafford certainly won’t be happy.
The Magpies performed well against Southampton on the opening weekend, but they were outclassed at Swansea last time out. There are genuine deficiencies in all departments, but the visitors look particularly vulnerable in defence – which is highlighted by the fact they’ve conceded four goals in the space of their two opening fixtures.
Dutch midfielders Siem de Jong and Georginio Wijnaldum will be hoping to have a positive impact while Papiss Cisse is always a threat on his day. However, new striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is still looking for his first goal and could be left waiting another week longer judging by the home side’s impressive form.
Newcastle will be have this down as a game that they expect to lose. However, a positive start could soon change that. Whatever, happens it should be a thrilling encounter at the Theatre of Dreams.
Manchester United V Newcastle United Betting Preview
Quite predictably, Manchester United are heavy favourites for Saturday’s encounter and are priced 4/11 with Bet365. Meanwhile, Newcastle United are available at 7s while the draw can be backed at 15/4.
The early kick-off, combined with the fact Van Gaal picked the same starting XI against both Aston Villa and Club Brugge, could lead to a tepid start at Old Trafford. But we do expect the hosts to burst into life at some stage.
Newcastle will surely try valiantly to resist the pressure, but we doubt they’ll hold firm for a full 90 minutes. Meanwhile, the Magpies may be able to take advantage of tired defensive legs as the game progresses, which is why we’re backing more goals in the second half.
Highest Scoring Half: 2nd @ 21/20 with Bet365
While the hosts have started the season well, captain Rooney has been pretty poor. In fact, the England star has openly conceded that he needs to perform better and a home clash with Newcastle could be the perfect vehicle for the 29-year-old to get his season up and running in style.
Rooney has scored a few memorable goals against the Magpies already in his career. We’re backing him to open his account in what could be a record breaking season with the opening goal here.
Wayne Rooney first goalscorer @ 7/2 with Paddy Power