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

This weekend we face a Man Utd side who are in a complete and utter mess. It’ll be under the lights at St James’ Park and gives us the perfect opportunity to bounce back after last weekend’s embarrassment – yet I can’t say I’m remotely confident.

I expected to lose against Leicester, with them being the one side outside the ‘big six’ who look capable of breaking the mould this year, but the performance from all involved was worrying on so many levels.

There was no fight, no organisation, no quality on display and no leadership. We completely crumbled and are going to have to be MUCH better this weekend if we’re to respond with a win – and that’s saying something given how bad this Man Utd side have looked of late.

They’ve not won in 10 away games. They’ve kept a clean sheet in just one of them. It’s their worst run for 30 years and they’re currently 10th in the league with Solksjaer under huge pressure from their frustrated fans.

It’s time for both Bruce and the players to step up and get at them. After all, if we roll over against this Man Utd side and can’t get at them, it’ll be hugely concerning.

Predicted XI

Bruce must be very tempted to make several changes given how awful just about everyone was in that 5-0 mauling at Leicester.

A few of Carroll, Saint-Maximin, Ki, Yedlin, Manquillo and Fernandez could all feature, but there’ll be a few enforced changes, with Hayden suspended and Shelvey likely to make the bench at best.

At the back, I believe Federico Fernandez deserves his chance, but I’d be surprised if Bruce dropped Dummett, his captain (Lascelles) or our best ball player (Schar) – who’s often our top creator at St James’ Park!

At wing-back, I don’t think Krafth will keep his place, meaning it’ll be between Manquillo and Yedlin. I’d prefer to see the latter, but is he fit enough to start after only recently returning to training?

In midfield, it seems to be between Ki and Matty Longstaff to partner Sean Longstaff in midfield. Hayden starts his three-game ban and Shelvey seems far more likely to be on the bench than in the starting 11 after only just recovering from a hamstring strain.

Out wide, I can see Saint-Maximin starting. It would be a risk, but Bruce said he was fit to start on Friday. We need an injection of life in attacking areas and he could give us exactly that – not to mention that fact this Man Utd side is there to be got at. The question is, does he replace Atsu or Almiron? Or does Bruce find a way to fit in all three?

Up top, this could be an occasion made for Andy Carroll, but I doubt he’ll be thrown in from the start just yet, meaning Joelinton could well be handed another chance to bag his first goal at St James’ Park. He needs one, but he needs far more support up top and MUCH better service if we’re to get the best out of our £40m man.

Preferred NUFC XI – (3-4-2-1) – Dubravka – Schar, Fernandez, Dummett – Yedlin, Ki, Longstaff, Willems – Almiron, Saint-Maximin – Joelinton.

The Opposition

Here’s a few ‘ones to watch’ in Ole Gunner Solksjaer’s Man Utd side:

Marucs Rashford – Bags of pace and plenty talent to terrorise defences on his day, but his finishing has left a lot to be desired recently. Let’s hope we can keep him quiet once again, as he looks set to be Man Utd’s most likely attacker with Martial and Pogba out.

Daniel James – Another speed demon who has looked pretty good since making a summer move from Swansea. He’s got plenty of energy and a good right foot, with the winger currently their joint top scorer after 3 goals in 7 Premier League games.

David De Gea – He’s made plenty mistakes over the past few years, but the Spaniard is still a top class goalkeeper who looks unbeatable on his day.

Mason Greenwood – With Martial and Lingard expected to miss out, the highly-rate 18-year-old could be in line for a rare start here. He looks a huge talent and such a natural finisher, so must not be underestimated.

Predicted Man Utd XI – De Gea – Tuanzebe, Maguire, Lindelof, Young – McTominay, Pereira – Greenwood, Mata, James – Rashford.

Team news

Dwight Gayle and Jonjo Shelvey could make surprise returns to the squad, while both Allan Saint-Maximin and Jetro Willems have been deemed ‘fit to start’

Matt Ritchie will miss out once again and the game also comes too soon for Florian Lejeune, with Isaac Hayden also missing as he starts his three-match suspension.

Ole Gunnar Solksjaer could have FIVE first-team players missing, with Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Aaron Wan-Bisaka, Jesse Lingard and Luke Shaw all major doubts.


I don’t quite know what to think ahead of this one.

It’s been hard to see where our next win is coming from based on our last two performances, with us looking toothless at one end and all at sea at the other, but you can’t help but think this MIGHT just be our moment to steady the ship and secure our first home win of the season.

My heart says we’ll respond with a big win, my head fears we’ll lose – so I’ll go for a draw!

Prediction: Newcastle 1-1 Man Utd

Howay the lads!

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About Olly Hawkins

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

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

  1. Lloris makes another mistake. The Emperor has no clothes. A bit like De Gea who has reverted back to the keeper he was during his first year at Man U. The pundits are scared to say it though as the Man U fans had trademarked ‘best keeper in the world” for him. He is far from that. He doesn’t command his box and saves everything with his feet – you go know you are the only one on your side who can use their hands David. Seriously, I don’t think he is even top 10 in the world and yet he is paid the most. The pundits have convinced themselves he is great though and wont move from that opinion.

    You should watch how rooted to the spot he is on some free kicks. And he has no spring so shots that other keepers would get to, he doesn’t. Vastly overrated. Maybe not the new Joe Hart and undroppable on his contract.

    You would have thought they would have learnt their lesson with Sanchez. Paying out of form players huge money and destabilizing the team because their other players then want more. It ends up with Jlingz on 200k a week (they are negotiating). Players’ Agents must rub their hands every time they see Ed Woodward.


  2. I have been banging on for ages about how media darlings are overrated. They have been terrible for the whole of 2019 in the league. This was papered over by lucky wins against Man City and Ajax in The Champions League. Their CL group is easy apart from Bayern but Levy’s parsimony and him letting important players’ contracts run down is creating disharmony and catching up with him. I certainly don’t see them making the CL this year.


  3. Sorry to go on about Spurs again. It was just so obvious there was trouble out there for them. Their centre backs are out of contract, their full backs are Rose and Aurier who probably wouldn’t even start for us and how far can you really go with Sissoko and Winks in midfield?


  4. Spurs having a mega wobble, reckon Poch is a goner if things don’t pick up. Can see them trying to nick Rogers from Leicester .


  5. But on the article itself, although De Gea was mentioned 🙂 I would be surprised to see Yedlin as he will have the international break to regain fitness. The one thing Man U have is speed on the flanks and Bruce may see Yedlin as the answer. He is not that good a defender though. Ask Kimtoon. I wouldn’t risk him and certainly wouldn’t play Krafth who has shown nothing so far.


  6. Kimtoon: I watched the Bayern game and the excuses coming out of the pundits were a complete joke. From saying Spurs played well in the 1st half to saying that Bayern were lucky because their last 5 goals came from 7 shots.

    This was the worst home defeat by an English team in the history of European football. Good teams do not ship 7 goals at home. But Spurs are the media darlings and it wasn’t their fault.

    And with The Chicago Bears at Daniel Levy stadium it gives the tabloids another excuse to have double page spreads about it.


  7. This is bad news for NUFC. Brighton were one of the teams that looked in danger of relegation. Not on this evidence. And our only hope it seems is that there are 3 teams worse than us. Again, that hasn’t looked the case so far and we are fully deserving of being 2nd bottom.


  8. Jamie: Bruce has changed his mind quite a bit about formations etc. in his short time at NUFC. I think he must have opened up a drawer in his office and found a copy of Alan Pardew’s Big Book of Excuses.


  9. Or Schteve’s classic tome “It’ll be better next week I promise, just give me 10 games, until Christmas, until after the January transfer window”.


  10. Eric i never saw the Spurs v Bayern game but that’s a shocking result no matter how you look at it. Add todays woeful display and it’s looking pretty sh it all round really, still they got a nice new shiny stadium 😉

    And leicester back to earth with a bump, getting outplayed and now 1.0 down
    Mane scores


  11. Well if that’s not proof it’s Liverpools year, pen in injury time
    Massive goal, old boy Milner scores


  12. Kane is screwed as well. He is trapped. Levy is going to want 200 million for him, but who can afford him? In England it is Man U and the rest of the big clubs don’t need him. It would be a risk for Man U as well as that is their transfer budget on one player and they need so much more. Kane would double his wages but Man U are at least 3 years from winning anything by which time he will be 30.

    Real Madrid want MBappe, so maybe PSG? I don’t see him fitting in at Barca.

    No, Levy will price him out of a move and “one of their own” will go into a massive sulk and it will probably affect England’s Euro chances.

    Or Man U will just say fck it and buy him anyway and he will help them win the 6th place trophy whilst picking up half a mil a week. He will be a very rich man who never won a thing. Shame really, as he seems a nice enough bloke.


  13. They were bad results for us yesterday. Villa, Burnley and Brighton all winning. Bottom already taking shape.

    Wonder if we see a pattern of play or a change in style today? Unlikely.

    I see reports that Matty Longstaff will start. Fair enough but unless he’s a goal scorer he won’t make much difference I don’t reckon.


  14. We have poor players Stuart. There’s no pass and move in our team. They pass well enough but then stand and watch what happens.


  15. Stuart79:
    Surely our players compare ok to Brighton’s players?

    Stu – the biggest difference isn’t the players, it’s the approach of the club. Brighton decided Hoots time was up and decided on Potter as the man to take them forward. They bought into his style of play and backed him in the transfer window – buying Maupay from mid-table Championship side Brentford (I wanted him at NUFC) and loaning Aaron Mooy from relegated Huddersfield.
    Hardly marquee signings but players who Potter felt would fit his way of playing.
    New players and existing players have listened to what he’s wanted & delivered – he’s not a big name or have previous success at other clubs – but he’s got the players on side with his ideas and what he’s doing.

    Our lot want the reverse. They don’t want to buy into a manager – they want the manager to buy into their policies and procedures. They recruit players for profit, not for football reason.

    I know I’m not saying anything you don’t already know. But when you hear Ashley say thing like he can’t compete with clubs owned by Countries – Brighton, and Wolves last season are clubs that prove you don’t need mega millions – you just have to all be pulling in the same direction and football be the point of it all.


  16. Just watching Goals on Sunday on Sky – Colman nearly broke Pieters ankle with a really bad tackle yesterday and got a yellow.
    That tackle against Hayden’s last week was far worse imo.

    Colman went on to get a second yellow and sent off anyway. I think that was just a yellow – but the first had to be a red if Hayden’s is a red.


  17. Typically of Sky, despite this being a Newcastle home game, all the talk is Man Utd and their problems.

    Saints v Chelsea and all the talk is about Chelsea 🙄🙄🙄


  18. Graeme Souness – Rafa had a certain way and we (Sky) came up here to watch them against Man City, and it was a hard watch, but it got results.

    Gary Neville – I’ve not enjoyed coming up here for the last 3-4 years – that never used to be the case. This (SJP) was the hot bed of English football – the atmosphere was electric, but it’s dead now – and that’s down to more than who the manager is.

    Dave Jones – that’s a much bigger debate Gary and we don’t have time for that 😳.

    It’s Super Sunday live from SJP – I’ve listened to 10mins of Man Utd sh!te and I’m now watching James Ward Prowse taking freekicks with Matt Le Tissier … 😡🤬😡🤬😡🤬😡



  19. So, Bruce says we are going to go back to Rafa’s tactics and play on the counter. That’s the way Ole’s Mancs like to play as well. Will both teams just be content to put the ball on the half way line and say – go on then attack us? Then the ball will just stay there for the whole match. Judging by the stats on our number of shots, goals, men in the penalty area and this new stat xG that would be like a normal game for us in terms of attacking intent.


  20. I would normally go to the pub for a 10.30 kickoff against the Mancs. The good thing is that they have their own pubs they go to in Chicago so you don’t have to listen to them. However, I am going to sit on the couch and watch it. I am doing my own personal boycott for football reasons, not so much ownership, although they are connected.

    Until we show some intent, skill, score a couple of goals I would rather watch at home. I bought a 4 pack of Carlsberg but if this is anything like Leicester I will be using it to drown my sorrows rather than fuel my enthusiasm.


  21. Prediction. Man U have averaged less than a goal a game on their travels since OGS was made permanent Manager. NUFC have scored 1 in 3 home games. It looks all the world like a low scoring draw which would keep both clubs in crisis. A narrow win for either would not ease the pressure that much. If we lose the international break will be unbearable.



  22. I think the rest of the country will be wanting a NUFC win just to see the reaction of the ex-Manc pundits and Souness.


  23. At least one Ref is booking City players for their tactical fouls. They do it every game and usually get away with it.


  24. That has to be the weakest Man Utd team we’ve ever faced!!!.

    Bruce has a big chance today.

    Good luck to young Matty Longstaff – what a great day for the Longstaff family – both their boys in midfield at home against Man Utd.
    I bet they dreamed of this as kids playing football in the street.


  25. Brighton punished a Spurs side that on paper looked a lot better than the Man Utd on paper side today.

    I see no reason why we can’t do the same today – it’s up to the players now.


  26. Sharpy17:
    That has to be the weakest Man Utd team we’ve ever faced!!!.

    Bruce has a big chance today.

    Good luck to young Matty Longstaff – what a great day for the Longstaff family – both their boys in midfield at home against Man Utd.
    I bet they dreamed of this as kids playing football in the street.

    Aye good luck to him


  27. The ground looks full. Did the boycotters take the week off? Have they put their principles on hold ? Is it Ashley out as long as we are not playing Man U?


  28. kimtoon:
    oh my Miggy another fluffed chance

    Kim – I’m done with him now like – how much time did he want FFS?!?!!!
    It doesn’t get better than that!!

    He has had more chances than any other player in terms of game time


  29. Miggy gets way too over excited and then when he gets into a great position to shoot seems to hesitate .

    Wow , that was close from slabhead, got out of jail there


  30. Sharpy, it’s baffling mate, he was awesome in the states, is it really that bad a league or is he trying too hard.
    Is this his natural position.


  31. Better from us but this is a very very poor Man u it has to be said and for all our chances man u should of been ahead if Harry was up to his normal standard with that header. He rarely misses those.


  32. They have spent 900 million since Fergie retired and the last valuation I saw of Rashford was 120 million. I think he got a new contract worth 250k as week.

    I am sure they have the possession stats but it is all sideways.

    We should get at them a bit more. I don’t care what Bruce says bout counter-attack. They really seem devoid of ideas. I said earlier that Young is useless except for corners. We have to watch out for that but we should be running at him as well as Dalot.


  33. Kim – im not have excuses of out of position or whatever – the lad has had the most clear cut chances for us so far this season – forget positions – I’m talking one on one with keepers. He’s had 2 or 3 chances just like that one today so far this season and choked.

    I thought before kick off, it’s a bit harsh on Atsu as he’s been more productive this season – but like a lot of Geordies – I’ve been looking forward to seeing a front 3 of Joelinton, Almiron and the Saint.

    The latter looks dangerous, Joelinton is working hard with little end product and Almiron has been put in twice now and fluffed both.


  34. This Man Utd team is there for the taking – we score and I think they crumble like Spurs did at Brighton. But we have to take our chances.

    I’m raging at Almiron.

    Hope Saint isn’t injured after that fall at the end of the first half.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Gayle run at this Man Utd defence. If Saint is ok I’d take Almiron off but if Saint is struggling, take him off and put Gayle in.


  35. quality tweet from a manure fan

    Joan Issac 🔴

    22m22 minutes ago
    Replying to @utdxtra
    We’ve actually managed to make the longstaff brothers look like Xavi and Iniesta


  36. Mattyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
    go on lad get in
    What a debut


  37. A really good performance from the boys today – they left it all out there today.

    Matty Longstaff man 🤩. My MOTM today. Thought he was brilliant and a really composed finish.

    I got a bit emotional seeing his beaming smile as he hugged his big brother.

    Dug Bruce out this week, still feel the same. But I will congratulate him for that performance – I think it was his 400th PL game as a manager and first ever win over Man Utd. Fair play, he got it right and the boys defo played for him today.


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