Preview of the Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle, with both sides needing a win for their top-four aspirations
|It will be close and gritty at St. James's Park when Newcastle host Manchester United on Sunday. (Photo credit: Sporting News)|
It’s a repeat of the Carabao Cup final as Newcastle seeks revenge against the team that denied them their first title in decades in a Premier League fixture that means a lot to both sides.
Manchester United needs a win to halt a run of poor results that sent them completely out of the title conversation, and now they have to focus on the top-four finish as well as cup hopes with the Red Devils still active in Europe as well as the FA Cup.
Newcastle has it better than they did when they faced United in the cup final with Nick Pope out and a few niggles, but Miguel Almiron is injured, and Eddie Howe has to find a way to make his attack tick enough to hurt the Red Devils.
United lost heavily at Anfield and hasn’t won in the league since then; Liverpool hasn’t either, but this is about Manchester United.
The goalless draw against Southampton meant they no longer have a say in the title race, with Arsenal sitting twenty-two points off United in third, but the latter has three to play.
Newcastle beat Nottingham Forest to return to winning ways before the break, and with just three points off United in third, a win on Sunday could see them go as high as third, and that would be quite interesting to see.
How will the lineup look?
United will be without Casemiro as he continues to serve his ban following his red card against Southampton.
The competition for the Brazilian's vacant midfield spot would be between Scott McTominay, Marcel Sabitzer, and Fred.
Marcus Rashford should be available despite carrying an injury that ruled him out of international engagement with England, and Rafael Varane should be okay to partner with Lisandro Martinez in the heart of the Manchester United defence.
Alexander Isak is in the form of his life for Newcastle, and he could be a thorn in United’s flesh on Sunday if he’s picked ahead of Callum Wilson.
The midfield battle will be feisty, especially with Casemiro out, and Newcastle will bank on Bruno Guimaraes in that regard.
Both sides need the result for the same reasons, and it will come down to who wants it more.
Put your money on bookings and expect lots of corners, as both will go for this one. It’s not going to be a high-scoring game, but it could go either way.