Man Utd (H): Pre-match thoughts, preferred XI, team news & predicted line-ups

A fixture with a big history behind it, but one that means more to us than most this time – especially when results didn’t exactly go our way in the league today.

Aside from Palace losing 3-1 at Everton and Stoke and Brighton drawing in a pretty ideal result for NUFC, Swansea won yet again with a 1-0 victory at home to Burnley (makes our home draws to both of them even more frustrating now) and West Ham moved 5 points clear with a big 2-0 win at home to Watford.

Normally this would be a game where we’d see anything as a bonus, but in our current situation and the tough 12 fixtures we’re set to face between now and the end of the season, you get the feeling we’ll have to pull off the odd surprise result if we’re going to make sure we’re safe come mid May.

Could this be it? Let’s hope so. Although we’ll have to be at it from first minute to last if we’re going to get a result against the leagues second place side.



The Team I’d like to see start

Slimani to make his debut? I hope so. If so we’ll likely see him with Perez in the 10 role to support him in attack. It will be interesting to see how that works as Perez used to thrive when playing alongside Aleksandar Mitrovic a few seasons ago.

 Ritchie and Kenedy out wide, who could be key in our attempts to play to Slimani’s strengths. Both could be tasked with getting down the line and whipping balls into the box.

Merino and Diame in midfield, with the pair controlling our last home game against Burnley. Shelvey’s quality is sometimes needed in big games like these (see assists for Joselu in 1-1 draw with Liverpool), however his work off the ball is questionable (see 2nd half vs Palace).

In defence, Clark may actually miss out, but providing he’s fit I can’t see anything other than that back four. If not, we could see the return of Lejeune, however Chancel Mbemba could play given Man Utd’s pace in forward areas and Lejeune’s lack of football recently.

The in goal, I think Dubravka *might* just start. Rafa praised his character and ball playing skills this week, and both could put him in good stead to make a positive impression on Sunday. Darlow did little to convince Rafa he’s the man for the big occasion in his shaky second half display at Selhurst park..

 

The Opposition

Aside from the obvious stars in their side (Lukaku, Sanchez, Pogba, De Gea), here’s a few ‘ones to watch’ for the visiting side tomorrow:

Antonio Valencia – The most obvious one and one of the best players outside the top 6 for me. He’s their match winner and an explosive talent who is so hard to keep quite. Stopping him will be the key tomorrow – especially with Sako and Townsend set to miss out.

Juan Mata – He tends to do well at St James’ Park and have been quietly doing very well in a playmaker role for Man Utd over the past few weeks. He’s a clever player who

Anthony Martial – If he stars then Yedlin could have a big problem. He’s a similar build and has a similar style of play to Watford’s Richarlison – a player the American had huge problems dealing with in the 0-3 defeat at St James’ a few months back. Martial is direct and has started 2018 strongly, with 3 goals and 2 assists last month. It will be interesting to see if he does play on the left-wing however, with that being his best position, but a role Sanchez could now take up following his signing.

For an inside look into tomorrow’s opponents, take a look at this week’s edition of the ‘Opposition Opinion’ . A great insight into tomorrow’s opponents from a Man Utd fan.

 

Form

Newcastle – 16th (25 pts) – Last 5 in the league – Won: 1 / Drawn: 3 / Lost: 1

Man Utd – 2nd (56 pts) – Last 5 in the league – Won: 4 / Drawn: 0 / Lost: 1

 

Team news

New-boys Slimani and Dubravka could make their NUFC debuts, with the former expected to start.

Joselu has overcame a virus and Clark and Diame will be ‘OK’ after Benitez admitted they picked up knocks in the draw at Palace.

For Mourinho, Ibrahimovic, Blind, Baily and Fellaini have been ruled out through injury.

  

Predicted Line-ups

Predicted NUFC XI – (4-2-3-1) – Darlow – Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett – Diame, Merino – Ritchie, Perez, Kenedy–  Slimani

Predicted Man Utd XI – (4-2-3-1) – De Gea – Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Young – Matic, Pogba – Martial, Mata, Sanchez – Lukaku.

 

Match Prediction

I’ve got a good feeling about this one, but only if Slimani starts.

His presence in the starting 11 would give the fans a huge boost ahead of kick off and he could really get the fans going if he can hit the ground running. One things for sure, I expect us to be well up for this and am quite confident that Slimani will automatically give us much more of a goal threat than we’ve seen over recent weeks.

They’ve got bags of talent and tend to be hard to beat, but I think we’ll rough them up a little, get in their faces and make it difficult.

Providing we get a solid start, I see us getting something from this. Something’s been telling me we’ll win all week, but I’ll go for a draw as I’m not totally convinced we’ll keep them at bay and get many past the incredible David De Gea at the other end.

Prediction: Newcastle 2-2 Man Utd

Howay the lads!

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Born in Gateshead, Olly was a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

62 thoughts on “Man Utd (H): Pre-match thoughts, preferred XI, team news & predicted line-ups

  1. Olly, Sako and Townsend !!!! must of missed them transfers like 😆

    Tough one but jose hasn’t won at SJP yet, which means cause we need the point/points he’ll get his first.
    Can’t believe Swansea again today had that down as a Burnley win all day long.
    Just need Hudders and the Baggies to continue a downward spiral really.
    I ha us in with the chance of a point but now they have Sanchez I can’t see it. He is one slippery customer, here there and everywhere up top.

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  2. Watching a replay of Real Madrid’s game and the commentator said that some fans held a protest before the match at how the team was playing. The team that won La Liga and The Champions League last year and The Champions League the year before. The team that has won 3 of the last 4 Champions Leagues 🙂 Try supporting the Toon you ungrateful, entitled [email protected]

    I went to see them last year and it was like a morgue. They were on their way to their 12th Champions League but were down 3-1 to Las Palmas and they were booing them. I was like, what are you lot doing, you don’t deserve this team. Then they scored 2 in extra time to get a draw so I suppose they went home happy.

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  3. Not expecting anything from today and really pissed off at Swansea winning.. I hope Slimani starts and plays a blinder. I would play Murphy instead of Ritchie and put Mbemba in for Clark otherwise I think that’s the best team we could put out. Let’s see. Nervous.

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  4. Wor Flags ‏
    @worflags

    Follow Follow @worflags

     More

    Due to restrictions, we are unable to put on a display today. Make some noise and get behind the lads

    🙁

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  5. At least there is a possibility of a goal since the England pairing of Jones and Smalling are in central defense.

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  6. With all of the results going against us it means we really do have to take care of our own business. No excuses. Big game for the new ‘keeper.

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  7. Wow the other sides around us are really starting to pull tbeir finger out. We are in big trouble if we dont put a run together. Just watch Saints blow Liverpool away today.

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  8. So sick of these shit referees … even if not a pen it’s still a free kick… even Andy Grey thought it was a nailed on penalty. 😳😱

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  9. Dubai Toon: Than I think we are well and truly up the creek.
    Good idea to loan a crocked striker.

    it is way better than no forward in at all. Being a Toon fan you have to lower your standard.

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  10. Well nervy last 20 mins, need to hang on to these 3 points for once.
    Been impressed with our pressing and workrate

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  11. Well I’ll take that… what a team effort. Well pleased with our new Goalkeeper too. Very assured. Over the moon with that result. Happy days. Now to see Liverpool beat saints.

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  12. Well not beimg in the drop zone for the next 2 weeks is massive psychologically.

    Meanwhile, although we are still in massive trouble, we are only 1 win off 10th! Wtf is going on this season?

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  13. Looks a bit better now Prem, without a doubt.

    Considering that was such a huge win, i’m suprised moree people are not about…

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  14. Me Too Shamrock

    Most unexpected, most welcome and whereas before we were looking at the top 6 games as write-offs, there is no an outside chance. The other games I was at best hopeful, but now with a little more confidence. 12-14 seems almost realistic !

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  15. Best performance of the season by a mile. Guts, desire, hard work and a little bit of class when needed. I think that will be the result that catapults up to safety. Bournemouth next.

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  16. At least we can say we deserved that nowt jammy,the new keeper looked the part,two weeks now to get the lame duck fit hopefully

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  17. Yep those home games are massive. Nobody seems to have really mentioned southampton as real candidates for the drop but they have alipping for a long time.

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  18. PREM I really thought Bournemouth would get draw at least today,that’s the nature of the bottom of the PL I suppose

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  19. Thought I might need a defibrillator for the last ten minutes. Dubravka and Shelvey great today as most people agree but I would also add Lejeune. Won many headers and was excellent with his distribution and won the header that eventually led to the goal. Although not scoring Gayle put in a good shift. Got an assist for the goal and made two crucial blocks. Joselu also did well in holding up the ball when he came on. Diame is keeping up his good recent form. Seems unfair for me to pick out these players as they were all heroes today. We were in the bottom three otherwise instead of thirteenth. Well done.

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  20. Groucho:
    Thought I might need a defibrillator for the last ten minutes. Dubravka and Shelvey great today as most people agree but I would also add Lejeune. Won many headers and was excellent with his distribution and won the header that eventually led to the goal. Althoughnot scoring Gayle put in a good shift. Got an assist for the goal and made two crucial blocks.Joselu also did well in holding up the ball when he came on. Diame is keeping up his good recent form. Seems unfair for me to pick out these players as they were all heroes today.We were in the bottom three otherwise instead of thirteenth. Well done.

    It is a team work win, no doubt about it. The victory has credit to everyone, including fans.

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  21. The goalie is the only one of our loanees with a buy option. I think it is only 4 million. One swallow doesn’t make a summer but it was definitely a good start. He seemed so much more assured than Darlow so maybe Rafa was right and we did need a goalie.

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  22. Check out the goal differences as well. Stoke minus 27 and Huddersfield minus 26 might be in trouble if it continues to be this tight. NUFC, minus 11.

    Want was that you were saying Carra and Nev? Take on Man City at their on game? You make sense a lot of the time and then sometimes you turn into the pricks you were as players.

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  23. Icedog: here’s one for you. I watched Keys and Gray on Friday. Richard Keys was saying that it was a travesty that the FA had looked at 30 nationalities in their search for the new England women’s manager and that they should have only looked at the UK. Apart from being a little Englander it must have escaped his notice that they appointed Phil Neville, erm… who is… English.

    But let’s not that get in the way of a good bitch. Everytime he had Pardew or Allardyce on he was crawling up their arses.

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  24. I don’t know if any of you get the Italian matches but Roma appear to have appointed Elvis Costello as their manager.

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  25. Eric Sykes:
    I don’t know if any of you get the Italian matches but Roma appear to have appointed Elvis Costello as their manager.

    😀 he is a dead ringer mate!

    The new goalie was very assured today. To play that well onnhis debut against Manure is very promising. Fingers crossed he keeps it up.

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  26. Stuart79:
    Best performance of the season by a mile. Guts, desire, hard work and a little bit of class when needed. I think that will be the result that catapults up to safety. Bournemouth next.

    God I’m still on a high!!.

    Stu – when I’ve banged on about workrate and effort (or lack of) – today is exactly what I meant. Today we had a new keeper & left winger – but the rest were our players & I was so proud of them today. To a man they worked their arses off, but I thought our central midfielders were outstanding!!. Shelvey & Diame have came in for their own individual criticism on more than one occasion – but they were brilliant today IMO.

    There was an added pressure on our players today after that Huddersfield win, and results yesterday – but the boys stood up today.

    Just a pisser our next game is 2 weeks away. But good rest and get the injured players back in the mix.

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  27. Sham
    Eric quoted some relegation odds the other day and I told him I was tempted to have a flutter on Southampton at 7/1. Tonight their odds have been cut to 4/1.
    I reckon that home wins against Southampton , Huddersfield and West Brom will see us safe on 37 points.
    I can not see 2 out of West Brom , Southampton , Huddersfield and Stoke getting to 37 points and I think that the 3 teams relegated will come from that group.

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  28. funrafa:
    kim, remember i said we will get 4 points from the 3 games? We are almost there already.

    Aye mate you did, I thought we had a chance until they signed Sanchez when I lost hope.
    The whole team were brilliant but that last 10 minutes was too much for my ticker lol .

    Dubravka my motm, that was a class debut and he kept us in it. close second Shelvey.

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  29. sidekick:
    Sham
    Eric quoted some relegation odds the other day and I told him I was tempted to have a flutter on Southampton at 7/1. Tonight their odds have been cut to 4/1.
    I reckon that home wins against Southampton , Huddersfield and West Brom will see us safe on 37 points.
    I can not see 2 out ofWest Brom , Southampton , Huddersfield and Stoke getting to 37 points and I think that the 3 teams relegated will come from that group.

    You could be on the money there Sidekick. I have been watching S’oton fall for a long time now and cant see where their burst of form is going to come from.

    I dont think we will best all those sides at home, however we may pull of a suprise or 2 along the way. Todays win was massive. Just need to not blow it in the games against our rivals…

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  30. sidekick:
    Sham
    Eric quoted some relegation odds the other day and I told him I was tempted to have a flutter on Southampton at 7/1. Tonight their odds have been cut to 4/1.
    I reckon that home wins against Southampton , Huddersfield and West Brom will see us safe on 37 points.
    I can not see 2 out ofWest Brom , Southampton , Huddersfield and Stoke getting to 37 points and I think that the 3 teams relegated will come from that group.

    You snooze, you lose 🙂

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  31. Eric Sykes:
    Icedog: here’s one for you. I watched Keys and Gray on Friday. Richard Keys was saying that it was a travesty that the FA had looked at 30 nationalities in their search for the new England women’s manager and that they should have only looked at the UK. Apart from being a little Englander it must have escaped his notice that they appointed Phil Neville, erm… who is… English.

    But let’s not that get in the way of a good bitch. Everytime he had Pardew or Allardyce on he was crawling up their arses.

    Thought I was the only one that thought that,he’s a creep/arse licker,do you have to be this way to get these jobs??

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  32. Mourinho is really strange now. He gets pissed off when they win and now is acting all gracious to Rafa and NUFC. I know there is the Bobby Robson factor but he used to be very snidey to Rafa. Well, he usually is snidey to everybody. Now he is picking a fight with their most expensive EVER player.

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  33. kimtoon: Aye mate you did, I thought we had a chance until they signed Sanchez when I lost hope.
    The whole team were brilliant but that last 10 minutes was too much for my ticker lol .

    Dubravka my motm, that was a class debut and he kept us in it. close second Shelvey.

    Kim – I know they got beat anyway but did you see the pen Palace got yesterday? – they must be offering bungs I reckon

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  34. Eric Sykes:
    I also hate the way Keys and Gray suck up to John Cross.

    Maybe I just shouldn’t watch then

    Told you a few times I put them on mute when watching Bein sports

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