|Image from Sports Tribune|
Manchester United are likely to be without Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard and Marcos Rojo but Ashley Young, who was unable to play against Valencia, could return for Antonio Valencia (who was very poor against Los Murcielagos on Tuesday). Sanchez was hauled off with fifteen minutes to go for Anthony Martial and the Frenchman did improve the team with his more direct play and could start for United on Saturday. Fellaini needs to work even harder in his midfield role as he needs to get in the box more and harass the weary Newcastle defence, making more chances like he did against Watford. Lukaku has had an indifferent season so far; he squandered numerous chances against Leicester and Tottenham, including missing an open goal to bring United 1-0 up against Spurs in that humbling result. However, he bounced back with three goals in two games against Burnley and Watford, but has gone on another mini goal drought of five games without hitting the back of the net (bar in a penalty shootout) and desperately needs to recover his form, leading the line with the pace and power that Manchester United bought him for. Newcastle on the other hand are still without Salomon Rondon and Florian Lejeune who are both still out with long-term injuries. Defenders Paul Dummett and Federico Fernandez could both return after missing the 2-0 defeat to Leicester City as Newcastle, like United, still search for a consistent back four that can keep clean sheets and look confident on the pitch.
It’s been said for weeks but United do have the ability to overwhelm Newcastle where it counts and rip the Magpies apart in every part of the pitch. Whether they do or not is completely up to their mentality and Jose’s tactics. Newcastle are likely to sit deep and counter with the pace they have and United will push for the opening goal early on. If the Red Devils do get stagnant in the game with their slow, four-touch passing style against Valencia, it could be another 0-0 at Old Trafford and the termination of Mourinho’s tenure at the club. Once again, I keep my faith that United will dig themselves out of this deep trench and dust off the last two weeks with a sumptuous victory.
Predicted Lineup: De Gea, Young (c), Smalling, Bailly, Shaw, Fellaini, Matic, Pogba, Rashford, Martial, Lukaku