The Opposition Opinion returns for another round of Premier League football, and this week we’ve been getting some thoughts from the northwest ahead of Manchester United’s visit to St James’ Park.
Here we are looking to bring you a view from ‘the other side’ before each game, chatting to an opposing fan to gain their opinions on NUFC, some insights into their own side and their thoughts on our upcoming match.
Here’s our chat with Red Devils fan Ash in the build up to today’s game:
Q1 – I think I know your answer to this, but what have you made of your start to the season? Keen to know what shape you’re in coming into this one and the general mood of Man Utd fans..
“Frustrated I think is the mood amongst a lot of United fans.
“It’s been a shocking start to the season (our worst in 30 years) and not only have the results been poor, we don’t seem to have an identity at the moment which is concerning.
“After the draw against Arsenal and another draw against AZ, I think we’ll be up for this game and out for blood.”
Q2 – Could Solksjaer be sacked if he loses on Sunday?
“Fans on Twitter seemed fuming after your 0-0 draw in Thursday night’s Europa League draw in Alkmaar I don’t think so to be honest.
“I think if he drops points against Newcastle and then loses to Liverpool, the pressure will be on, but ultimately I think it’s still early for the board to make a decision like that.”
Q3 – I see you’ve not won in your last 10 away games. Just what’s going wrong on the road?
“I think we’ve become very easy to play against.
“We haven’t got any creativity or stability in midfield and when we go away from home, teams have figured us out.
“All they have to do is sit deep and counter and due to our static midfield, teams cut through us quickly.”
Q4 – What are the strengths and weaknesses of this Man Utd side – both as a team and individually?
“IF Martial is back (unlikely), that will be a big plus for us (and a player to watch out for). We’ve missed his movement and finishing ability of late.
“Defensively we’ve been much better (third best in the league apparently in terms of goals conceded) so we might be pretty solid to break down.
“Midfield is a big question mark and depending on who plays, could be troublesome.
“Dan James is probably THE one to watch. Direct, rapid and could expose the full backs. All depends on whether the midfielders can find him.”
Q5 – What’s the Man Utd XI (and formation) likely to start on Sunday?
“De Gea – Wan Bisaka, Maguire, Tuanzebe, Young – McTominay, Pereira – Greenwood, Mata, James – Rashford.”
Q6 – What do you make of this Newcastle side and which players do you see as the strengths and weaknesses in our team?
“I think you’re in a bit of a transition at the moment with Bruce coming in. Admittedly I’ve not watched a lot of Newcastle this season, however it seems you’ve had a patchy start. Good win at Spurs and a decent performance against Liverpool could stand you in good stead against us.
“The Leicester game wasn’t great and your defence seemed a bit standoffish. That could work in your favour against us or if we decide to go direct, it may work in your favour.
“Joelinton was a big money signing and it’ll be interesting to see how he adapts.“
Q7 – What sort of game do you think it’ll be and how do you see it panning out? Give us a prediction..
“Really tough to say and we never know which United side will turn up.
“Given the past couple of results for both teams and the form we’re in, everything points towards a draw.
“I don’t think we’ll see expansive, attacking football as I think you’ll be keen to keep us at bay and we’ll be afraid of conceding away from home.
“ We might just nick it 1-0 though because of our defence and a penalty.”
Q8 – Which 3 sides do you see going down this season and why and where do you see Man Utd finishing?
“They way we’re going we could end up in one of them, haha!
“Watford are in real danger I think this season. I think they’ll go down. I also think Brighton will struggle this year.
“I hope Newcastle stay up as they’re a great club and the size of the club and support they have warrants that. Just hope you can find some form.
“Toss a coin between Villa and Norwich then.“
Q9– If you could sign one player from NUFC, who would you like to see Solksjaer go for?
“Tough one as we’re in need of so many players.
“If he wasn’t an ex Liverpool player, Shelvey always seems to do a job against us and he can control a game on his day.
“Joelinton also could be an option as we’re light up top.”
Q10 – Finally, Sean Longstaff. You were heavily linked over the summer and it was reported again this week that you could make a January bid. What are your thoughts on this?
“He looks a top young talent, but the trouble with us is we have plenty of young talent and no decent experience around them.
“McTominay is improving who I see as very similar to Longstaff and Jimmy Garner is smashing it in the U23’s and has yet to get a chance.
“However, I’ll take whoever we can get at the moment!“
A big thanks to Ash for answering our questions ahead of our game Man Utd’s trip up to Tyneside today, and interesting to hear him say they’ll be ‘up for this game and out for blood’ after 10 games without a win on the road.
Next time we’ll be speaking to a Chelsea fan ahead of our trip to Stamford Bridge in two weeks time.