Steve McClaren will go looking to guide his side to a first victory of 2016 against Manchester United at St James’ Park tomorrow night.
Much has been written about Louis van Gaal’s side this term but they are at least away from any kind of danger at the bottom of the table. The same cannot be said however for Newcastle.
With both sides seemingly struggling to find the back of the net you may be forgiven for thinking that this game may have a look of a 0-0 about it but in reality that would be no use to Newcastle who need to start finishing off some of the chances they’ve been creating.
And that is essentially the crux of our problems. We not been bad at creating chances, our defence has tightened up and is nowhere near as leaky as it was earlier on in the season – it’s literally the end product that is hurting us and with back-to-back home games within a few days that simply has to change.
Henri Saivet (at time of publishing) is yet to be named officially as a Newcastle player so if it happens between now and then he will be unable to make his debut in this fixture.
Fabricio Coloccini will undergo a fitness test while Florian Thauvin and Kevin Mbabu picked up knocks against Watford and are likely to miss out. Jack Colback has trained has trained and could return to the side.
Longer term we still have Tim Krul, Steven Taylor, Papiss Cisse, Massadio Haidara, Vurnon Anita and Gabriel Obertan sidelined while Rolando Aarons and Emmanuel Riviere are back in training but are not yet in contention for a recall to the matchday squad.
Bastian Schweinsteiger is out after picking up a knee injury in the 1-0 win over Sheffield United at the weekend. Morgan Schneiderlin is doubtful while Ashley Young and Michael Carrick could return after missing out their FA Cup game.
This is not a good fixture for United with victories few and far between. The 5-0 will obviously stick out as will others like the two 3-0’s and the 4-3 – all at St James’ Park – but we’ve also been on the end of a few hammerings in a fixture that tends to favour the Red Devils.
Newcastle have just shaded the figures at St James’ Park winning 31 of the 78 games played compared to 30 wins for Man Utd.
Overall is a very different story though as Manchester United have won over half of all encounters home and away notching up 80 victories from 159 games played compared to just 41 victories for Newcastle.
Stats and facts…
Manchester United have lost just two of their previous 26 league clashes with Newcastle, winning 18 of those.
Newcastle have lost more points from winning positions (12) this season than any other side.
The Magpies have not found the back of the net for 412 minutes and counting.
Manchester United have lost their last two away league fixtures. They have not lost three consecutive away league games since 1996.
Where do I start as a final thought? That doesn’t mean that I have a lot to say because I don’t. I guess the only thing I really can say is that we must get a result here. I don’t fancy us for a win, ut now the question is whether a draw is enough from this game or not?
Howay the lads!
Date: Tuesday, 12th January, 2016
Time: 7:45pm – Live on BT Sport
Venue: St James’ Park