The ‘Opposition Opinion’ returns once again this week with some thoughts from Manchester ahead of the visit of Mourinho’s men to St James’ Park,
As ever, we are looking to bring you a view from the other side before this weeks game, interviewing an opposing fan to gain their opinions on NUFC, some insights into their own club and their thoughts on of our upcoming match.
This week we’ve been speaking to Man Utd Jeffrey, with him having the following to say ahead of their trip to Tyneside this weekend:
1) What sort of shape do you feel you’re coming into this game in? With us in a relegation battle and desperate for points, we could do with catching you on an off day!
“Despite our loss to Spurs and the manner in which we lost, I’d say we are in good shape and form, so don’t be fooled by that match, unless you manage to score after 11 seconds!
“Although we are chasing Man City we have not given on winning games so expect a professional version of Manchester United to turn up at St James park.
“We’ve lost once in 9 games so a victory is on our minds.”
2) What do you make of this Newcastle team? Who do you think are the strengths and weaknesses in our side and do you think we’ll have enough to stay up?
“I think Newcastle United will stay up if they can get their goalscoring issues sorted out. I feel your weakness is that your team lacks xfactor upfront and Gayle is just not bringing it this season. This, to me, has been no surprise because he either needs a partner upfront to compliment his limited game at Premier league level, or he needs to work on his overall game.
“Your strengths probably comes from wide areas as I think Atsu, Kennedy, Murphy and Richie (to a certain degree) can cause most teams problems.
“Another strength is your central midfield area. From the outside I would say you have a good mix of EPL level operators (Merino, Diame) Shelvey is the obvious name for me if we are talking quality. His long range passing and pass selection is outstanding.”
3) Any players (aside from the obvious) for us to watch out for in your Man Utd side? Which players in your side are on and out of form?
“Aside from the obvious names, Phil Jones looks better than he does from the outside. He’s a natural born defender with very good positioning who consistently wins his duels against most or forwards he comes up against and is one of the main reasons we have been solid most of the season.
“Matic on the ball is more than just efficient. He doesn’t just look for the sideways pass and is also very good going forward from time to time.
“Lingard off the ball is very good and on it he links everything together better than Mkhitaryan and Mata did when they have played at number 10.
“The main thing to consider is that Sanchez has transformed us. He has brought a dimension and level of quality that makes us more confident of winning matches than we had before. He’s a match winner and will be the difference.”
4) What sort of game do you think it’ll be & how do you see the match panning out? Score prediction?
“I think we will win 2 or 3-1 and Alexis will be the difference.
“I know it be difficult because I’ve watched your games and I see Rafa Benitez has you well drilled for each occasion; especially against big sides. I understand that he’s maybe too cautious for Newcastle fans but I know you will make us work hard for a win.
“I don’t think you will defend as deep or for as long as you did in your games against City because you don’t respect our team in the same way but, trust me, if you don’t defend properly you will get smashed because the quality is just as high City’s, but our style and substance is not.
“We will sit and wait for you to break us down, then punish you when you lose possession.”
“You will come out of the stadium saying you should have won in a game you lost because of the style Mourinho has us play.”
5) Predictions for the remainder of both our seasons & the position we’ll both finish in? Also, which three teams do you see going down?
“I think we will fight for second place for the remainder of the season while hoping City drop points, which I believe will happen.
“I can see us getting to maybe the semi-final of the UCL or further because we have Mourinho in charge of us.
“I feel Huddersfield and Brighton will go down and the other place will be between Swansea City and Newcastle United. Silimani and Jordan Ayew are they keys to you two staying up because goals win games.”
6) Finally, Jose Mourinho. A top class manager over the years, but someone who has actually NEVER won at St James’ Park in the Premier League, having failed to win in six attempts with Chelsea. Why do you think this is?
“I think Mourinho is the type of man and manager Newcastle fans love to hate. I reckon he brings an added tension that amps up your passionate crowd when you play his teams, so I feel that has inspired your fans and players to go the extra mile when you play his teams.
“The same may happen regarding how your fans feel coming into the Sunday’s fixture with Manchester United but we a different to Chelsea. Our club, fans and players thrive on the tension you crazy Newcastle fans bring to us.
“It will make our side play better because it’s part and parcel of being a Manchester United player – most hated, most ignored etc.
“The other reason why Mourinho can’t win at St James park is because that sod Bobby Robson doesn’t wan’t his for assistant shitting on his parade. Good Bobby is look over you when Jose comes to town, or should I say toon!”
Like so many opposition fans we’ve spoken to this season, he seems to think we’ll stay up – providing we start scoring more goals. I would tend to agree with this assessment, so it could be key that Islam Slimani hits the ground running. Starting tomorrow.
He gives an intriguing take on how both teams could approach the game here. Interesting that he thinks we won’t set up as we did against City for this one, however he does think that they are just as destructive as the league leaders when they want to be.
A tough game here, but I’ve actually got a good feeling about this one – HWTL!