The final match of this Saturday’s Premier League lineup will see Newcastle United host Manchester United at St. James’ Park. The Magpies are slight favourites coming into this game as they have racked up a few wins in the season, while Manchester United have been woeful in all three of their Premier League games so far.
The hosts have also rattled the Red Devils in the recent past at their home stadium, winning two of their last three matches against Manchester United at St. James’ Park.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have a string of tough fixtures coming ahead, and Newcastle United will pose a stern test for them.
Let’s take a look at 3 burning questions for the game between Manchester United vs Newcastle United:
#1 Will Harry Maguire start for Manchester United?
Harry Maguire has had a summer to forget. The Manchester United captain was first involved in a fracas while on holiday before the season started, which got him into deep trouble. That seems to have weighed on his mind as he has been a shadow of himself so far this season. That terrible form continued with England as he was sent off in the first half of England’s game against Denmark.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer backed his captain, but said that he could be a doubt for this weekend’s game as he has a knock.
This could be a way for Solskjaer to drop his star defender and take him out of the firing line for a bit. This will be worrisome for Manchester United fans as the two other options – Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof, have also been very poor in the recent few games.
#2 What formation will Steve Bruce use?
Steve Bruce has put together a decent Newcastle United side, making shrewd signings in the summer. The Magpies have won two, drawn one, and lost one so far, and they will be confident of getting points against Manchester United.
It will be interesting to see what formation Bruce will adopt for this game. In last season’s win against the Red Devils, Bruce played a five-man defence, that defended very well and counter-attacked with pace.
This time around, could Bruce change tactics and play on the front foot against a Manchester United defence that lacks confidence? In the four Premier League games so far, Bruce played the five-man defence only once, against Spurs.
#3 Who will replace Antony Martial?
Anthony Martial got sent off in the last game against Tottenham. The Frenchman’s sending off means that he will have to serve a three-match ban in the Premier League. Solskjaer may have to change tactics and formation not just to give more cover for his defence, but also make up for the loss of Martial.
Edinson Cavani, who was signed by United on deadline day, is not available, which leaves Solskjaer the option of playing Marcus Rashford up top from his wide left position, or starting Odion Ighalo.