Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
Manchester United V Newcastle United
Saturday 8th December. 12:45PM. BT Sport 1
At Old Trafford, Manchester United manager David Moyes will be desperate to see his side bounce back from Wednesday’s defeat to old club Everton. However, visitors Newcastle have something to say about that as they too hope to recover from a midweek loss.
It should be a very entertaining fixture.
Moyes Under Pressure
Just 20 odd games into his reign, Moyes is feeling the heat and is starting to look like a man treading water. Following the greatest managerial act in history was always going to be hard but even so this season is turning into a nightmare for the Champions.
The Theatre Of Dreams has been a fortress for over two decades but less than six months after Sir Alex’s departure the fear factor has all but disintegrated. In truth, United’s home record has still been OK (before Wednesday’s disappointment, they were on a run of 4 straight home wins in al competitions) but the fact West Brom and Everton have both left with all three points gives future visitors reason for belief.
As previously mentioned, the form has been OK, but OK does not suffice for a club of Manchester United’s stature. Fourteen games in and the questions aren’t whether the Red Devils can retain their crown, rather it’s whether they can finish in the top four. That alone is testimony to the magnitude of their problems.
If United are going to win then they will have to do so without their key men in attack. Top scorer Robin van Persie will remained absent through injury (groin) whilst Wayne Rooney will serve a one game suspension having acquired his 5th booking of the campaign against Everton.
It means that the Red Devils will be missing a partnership that has scored 15 of their 22 league goals.
Fortunately they can still turn to the likes of Javier Hernandez, who you would still fancy to bury a chance should it present itself, but nevertheless David Moyes will not be sleeping as he tries to mastermind a much needed victory against the Magpies without his two biggest stars.
Loic At The Remy
Even during their title-winning 2012/13 campaign, Manchester United regularly conceded the first goal. The difference this term seems to be that they aren’t quite as ready to recover from falling behind.
Furthermore, the Red Devils have only scored one league goal in the opening 15 minutes and in a match where the pressure is on it could be yet another slow start for Moyes’ men.
If that is the case then Loic Remy could be a good shout to score the first goal. Without Rooney or RvP on the pitch, the Frenchman is by far the most prolific player on the pitch and 4 of his 8 league goals so far have opened the scoring.
Pardew Some Luck
Now is perhaps the best time to play Manchester United and Newcastle’s Alan Pardew hopes to capitalise on the vulnerability of a wounded Red Devil.
The absence of Rooney and RvP not only impacts the home side’s preparations but it definitely gives a morale boost to the Magpies. Newcastle have an awful record at Old Trafford and have not tasted victory on United soil for over 30 years so any source of optimism will be much welcomed for the Geordies.
Despite losing themselves on Wednesday, the Magpies remain one point ahead of David Moyes’ men and know that a result is far from beyond them. Before that midweek loss to Swansea, Newcastle enjoyed four consecutive victories and if they can keep that kind of form up then there is no reason Pardew’s team cannot challenge for a Europa League spot.
Pardew knows that his side could potentially come up against the backlash of an aggrieved Manchester United but he has to be optimistic.
Can the Magpies inflict yet more misery on a failing Manchester United? The double chance of Draw-Newcastle is priced 9/5 with Bet Victor.