After managing a draw against Crystal Palace, Newcastle United will have to play out of their skin to get a result against Manchester United this Sunday. The Magpies have managed quite a few draws in their last five games – three to be precise – and will hope to cause an upset when Jose Mourinho’s side come visiting.
Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez could have the services of both their winter signings for the upcoming game as Islam Slimani has trained with the team. If not a start then a late substitute appearance. Kenedy has already played a few games and has provided the creativity that the Magpies desperately needed.
Jesus Gamez isn’t available, though, so we could see DeAndre Yedlin continuing as the right-back. Here’s how the Magpies could line up for the clash.
Individual errors have cost Newcastle this season. Defender Ciaran Clarke has shrugged off an injury and should start alongside Jamaal Lascelles at the heart of the defence. Benitez will be glad he has the option of Florian Lejeune who missed a few games after an injury in December.
DeAndre Yedlin and Paul Dummett are likely to start as the two wingbacks. Karl Darlow will continue in goal for the hosts.
Benitez will be tempted to play Mo Diame over Mikel Merino because of the physicality the former provides in midfield. With Jonjo Shelvey available to start moves from his own half, Diame could be the ideal midfielder to break play and burst forward.
Benitez went with a 4-4-2 against Palace with Ayoze Perez occasionally dropping to make it a five-man midfield. Expect the same when United take on Mourinho’s side as they’ll try to stifle the away side in midfield.
It’s unlikely we’ll see Slimani starting the game, so we could see Dwight Gayle continuing up from. Kenedy is expected to play on the left and Matt Ritchie could make way for Christian Atsu on the right. United have had problems in the fullback area, so the Magpies will have to make the best use of the counter attacks and stretch the defence.
Gayle, however, has had problems finding the back of the net, having mustered just three goals this season, the recent of which game way back in December 2017. Newcastle have been creating chances, it’s just that they haven’t been successful in converting a lot of them.