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

We may not be playing football that’s easy on the eye, but we’re battling on and getting results!

The win over Palace ensured we’d be in the top 10 for Christmas, taking us 10 clear of the bottom three and leaving us just two points shy of the European places.

It may be hard to believe given the nature of many displays this season, however the team are united and Bruce is getting the best out of them. Yes we’re riding our luck at times, but we’re defending well, working hard and taking our chances when they come.

Let’s hope that trend continues against a Man Utd side who have endured their worst EVER start to a Premier League season, picking up 25 points in their opening 17 games.

Predicted XI

It’s tough to say who’ll start here, with Bruce highly likely to rotate given we face Everton 48 hours on from our trip to Old Trafford.

He’s already admitted that Andy Carroll will be unable to start both games, so I can see Gayle getting the nod up top. I might be wrong, but Bruce has insisted he’ll ‘get his chance’ one week – and I think this could be it.

Joelinton could get another chance out wide, but I have a feeling we’ll see either Gayle and Joelinton up top with Almiron playing in the no.10 role (using the system played vs Palace) or a front three of Atsu, Gayle and Almiron in a bid to catch Man Utd on the counter.

Elsewhere, a recently injured Jonjo Shelvey played the full 90 over the weekend and will be key to our hopes of beating Everton, so I can see Sean Longstaff coming in for him.

Willems will hopefully return all being well, but, if he doesn’t, I can see Manquillo switching sides and Yedlin returning now left-sided options Dummett and Ritchie look set to miss out.

Preferred NUFC XI – (5-2-2-1) – Dubravka – Manquillo, Schar, Fernandez, Dummett, Willems – Hayden, Shelvey – Almiron, Joelinton – Carroll.

The Opposition

Here’s ‘ones to watch’ in Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s side:

Marcus Rashford – Man Utd have struggled in recent years, but the England international has stepped up this season, bagging 14 goals and 5 assists already this term in all comps. We may need another big display from Javier Manquillo if we’re to keep him quiet!

Paul Pogba – Whether you think he’s lazy, sloppy and overrated, he can be the best player on the park both technically and physically, and the enigma that is Paul Pogba looks set to return for Man Utd this week. OGS has described him as the ‘best all-round midfielder in the world’, but let’s hope he isn’t in the mood on his return.

Mason Greenwood – The 18-year-old talent has been described as the club’s best finisher and is being tipped to start on Thursday. He has 7 goals this season and could be a real one to watch down their right-hand side – especially if we’re without Willems, Dummett and Ritchie.

David De Gea – He’s capable of the spectacular and is one of the world’s best shot-stoppers on his day, but he dropped a clanger against Watford last weekend so will be under the microscope.

Predicted Man Utd XI – (4-3-3): De Gea – Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw – McTominay, Fred, Pereira – Greenwood, Martial, Rashford.

Team news

Jetro Willems could return, but Paul Dummett has been rated a “major doubt” after suffering a groin injury last weekend.

Bruce has admitted Andy Carroll won’t be able to play twice in 48 hours, meaning he could be rested for this one.

Saint-Maximin will miss out once again with a hamstring injury, Clark and Ki won’t make it and Lascelles and Ritchie remain out until the new year with respective knee and ankle injuries.

Paul Pogba came on from the bench in their 2-0 defeat at Watford last weekend, so looks set to be involved again here.

Eric Bailly and Maros Rojo will both miss out for the home side.


Man Utd lost 2-0 away at Watford over the weekend, so there’s no reason why we should fear them ahead of the trip to Old Trafford.

That said, there’s only so many times we can play poorly and get away with it. Our resilience, fight and ability to dig in and get results is admirable, but we’ll need to be MUCH better than we were in our last few to exploit a weak Man Utd side here.

A repeat of that performance at Spurs earlier in the season will be needed, so let’s hope we can be not only be defiant defensively and hard working in midfield, but also pack a punch in attack when we get our chance to hurt them.

I think we’ll make a few changes (prioritising the Everton game) and fall a little short – but it would not surprise me if Bruce and his battlers proved me wrong!

Prediction: Man Utd 2-1 Newcastle

Merry Christmas to you all – Howay the lads!

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

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.

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

  1. Olly: you don’t think Pogba will start? I suppose there is no way he is match fit after months out. I think he would drive me mad if I was a Man U fan because you can see he has the skills but you never know which Pogba will turn up. If his little tricks, turns and Hollywood passes come off we are probably in for a long day. But that only happens about 1 in 3 games and he does have a tendency to go missing. Jose called him a virus so it would be interesting to see how their players feel about him. I am pretty sure he still want to leave and that will be on his mind with the transfer window opening 5 days later.

    If Pogba doesn’t start I am not that worried about Fred and McTominay.

    You also never know which Rashford will turn up although he does have quite a few goals this year. And Martial is even more inconsistent than Pogba.


  2. Eric Sykes:
    Olly: you don’t think Pogba will start? I suppose there is no way he is match fit after months out. I think he would drive me mad if I was a Man U fan because you can see he has the skills but you never know which Pogba will turn up. If his little tricks, turns and Hollywood passes come off we are probably in for a long day. But that only happens about 1 in 3 games and he does have a tendency to go missing. Jose called him a virus so it would be interesting to see how their players feel about him. I am pretty sure he still want to leave and that will be on his mind with the transfer window opening 5 days later.

    If Pogba doesn’t start I am not that worried about Fred and McTominay.

    You also never know which Rashford will turn up although he does have quite a few goals this year. And Martial is even more inconsistent than Pogba.

    I’m tempted to say he will after hearing OGS today!


  3. I will continue my stat attack just to give a bit more hope. I really think Pogba will start and that is addition by subtraction if it is in place of Lingard or Fred.

    BUT, Pogba has started 6 games this season and Man U have only won 1.

    In Pogba’s last 15 starts going back to last season, Man U have won 2.

    Of course, I am cherry picking here because that coincides with OGSs bad run. It also coincides with when Pogba started his p!ssing and moaning again after briefly settling down when OGS was caretaker.


  4. And if Man U think that Pogba will be their savior they are looking at the wrong guy. He doesn’t want to be there. Jose was right, he is a virus. He is also selfish and narcissistic, even more so than most footballers. There is a good footballer in there somewhere we just have to hope it remains hidden until we leave town.


  5. I expect Man Utd to go 4-3-3 with Fred, McTom and Pogba in midfield and Rashford, Martial and Greenwood up top.

    Having watched Man Utd against Watford at the weekend – I would defo play Carroll for as long as he can manage. Mcguire and Linderloff could not cope with the physical presence of Deeney.

    I’d play Gayle alongside Carroll and give Mig a free role behind them. Williems and Manquillo can still provide the width.
    But with Almiron more central it would more match their 3 in midfield. Stick Hayden man marking Pogba and they’ll have little to offer imo.


  6. I say bring David Batty out of retirement and see how many pirouettes Pogba tries then. I don’t like Roy Keane and the hard man act wears very thin but it would have been funny with him and Pogba in training at the same time.

    I am not obsessed with Pogba, really. It is all the media talk about so that is what I have been reading in the build up.

    I think this is another difficult game to call as Man U typically have difficulty breaking teams down. Here’s another stat attack to back that up – Man U have only won 1 game where they have had over 50% possession.

    Stop with the bloody stats now will you Eric!!!

    I would be happy with a draw so, 1-1.


  7. icedog:
    all the best to everyone,thanks for the threads Olly

    Ice – have a good one mate. Are you getting together with Pup at all?


  8. Olly – I second Ice.

    Thanks to you and all those who put the articles together for this site.

    Also to all those who post. Kim – I hope you and Lewis are well enough to enjoy your Christmas.

    Best wishes to all of you and your families ??


  9. It would be nice if the football would pick up and match the results. But we did start from a ridiculous summer as Jamie said. The whole Rafa saga which nobody says a peep about and Rafa gets a free ride taking the Yuan. He could have said he was leaving a long time before he just got on the plane and fcked off.

    Then there was the BZG debacle. They strung us along and nobody from the club told is they were full of sh!t. So Bruce starts with a club in turmoil and that is before I mention the boycotters. I didn’t want Bruce but didn’t say he was just a useless lump as a lot of people did.

    He also had to integrate a lot of new players in a short period which is never easy. 4 were probable starters as well – Willems, St Max, Krafth, Joelinton. Add in Almiron who had only played like 12 games and that’s half the outfield. Then you had Shelvey who Rafa was definitely set to sell if he had stayed.

    Bruce gets a B from me now, up from a C+ a month ago. But we are due for our luck to run out because this is NUFC. That’s why we need to start playing better football because we will go on a bad run if we continue to play as we are.


  10. Since the year is nearly over. What the hell was that BZG about? Some of the Journos seemed to know it was a hoax but it seemed so real with that Head of Terms or whatever it is called, the tweets to the Chronic from the Chairman and setting up a holding company. How did they suck everybody in?

    Merry Christmas to all on here and I second Sharpy’s note to Kimtoon and hope she and Lewis are not back in the hospital.


  11. Merry Christmas to you all on here. Have a fantastic day with all your respective families. Hoping for a win tomorrow. I’ll be watching with a mate who is a Manc through and through!

    Take care all.


  12. Sharpy17: Ice – have a good one mate.Are you getting together with Pup at all?

    no mate had this week with him but he had to get back toScotland (work) have a good one bud


  13. icedog: no mate had this week with him but he had to get back toScotland(work) have a good one bud

    Ice – at least you’ve spent some time with him for Xmas – hope they’re well mate. All the best ?


  14. Can Man Utd be that bad again? Surely not? Will De Gea throw a couple in for us?

    Got to be honest I don’t fancy us but Man Utd are so unpredictable we have a chance. It will be another 25% possession game no suppose.

    Merry Christmas to everyone too.


  15. Stewart: the bookies give us little to no chance of even a draw.

    The Mail have an EXCLUSIVE interview with Jesse Lingard. Must be very slow over the Christmas period! Says he wants his England place back. Not sure if he will even be in the Man U team tomorrow. Also said that he has been quiet in the past but now wants to be a “leader”. Is that the way it works, you look after only yourself for 27 years and then suddenly decide – I am a leader now! Stick to selling overpriced hoodies.


  16. I don’t know why these no-name players think they are fashionistas. Christiano yes, Jesse Lingard no. They are some of the worst dressed people on earth. Just give them a pair of $500 ripped jeans with the crotch coming down to their knees and anything off the Gucci rack that has an ugly print on it. The proof is that when they become pundits they are immediately put into suits or cashmere sweaters.


  17. Can’t help but feel that this is a banna peel game for Man U. There fans would have every right to feel very nervy about this fixture. We haven’t played pretty football but we are nabbing a lot of points and results. 2-1 in our favour I reckon.


  18. Man U players have taken the pundits’ and Journos’ narrative that they have done better against the other “top 6” teams than the rest because all they need is motivation. Nonesense. They played 2 good games and were extremely lucky against Chelsea, and it was the opening day anyway. Those were the outliers and not their boring, no ideas games. Most teams will play a few good games in any season. Their squad is way short on talent and needs at least 5 good players to compete with Liverpool and City. They need a superstar or 2 and that is not Paul Pogba who only functions in a dominant team.

    The journos have given the players a straw to clutch at with this narrative and they have gone for it with both hands thinking they are better than they are. Is Harry McGuire really worth 80 million for example? Would Lingard even get on the bench at Liverpool? Would Fred even make City’s squad? De Gea, the highest paid goalie in the world, would be on the bench at City and Liverpool.

    Man U and their fans haven’t changed. They are still as arrogant as ever. Some even say that OGS deserves the same teething time as Klopp when there is no evidence in his CV that he is even a Championship level Manager.

    They do tend to win on Boxing Day though. Perhaps that is a function of Fergie’s results as I haven’t looked up what they have done since he left.


  19. Mason Greenwood is their great hope. Do you really want to be putting that much pressure on an 18 year old. Fergie introduced Ronaldo, one of the greatest players that ever lived, gradually. Harry Wilson is as good a prospect but is out on loan because Liverpool have a great team without him. Man U are piling so much on this lad’s shoulders. It could pay off like Rooney and Owen – BUT BOTH WERE DONE AT 26.


  20. Rashford is a better striker than anybody we have. He has 6 PL goals this season if you take out the penalties. The stats of 10 are a bit misleading because he has got 4 penalties.

    Have we had a penalty yet? I think Man U must have had like7 because I remember Pogba scoring at least 1 and missing 1.


  21. And Rashford wouldn’t even be taking penalties if Pogba was (A) on the pitch (B) not missing them.


  22. Eric, penalties are easily missed and are often more difficult than chances in a match. Rashford takes a cracking penalty. He’s a good finisher quite often but is still only 21 I think. He’s the danger today.


  23. Not knocking Rashford, just saying he has 6 goals from open play. I did say he is better than anything we have. Who’s that Palace midfielder who had like 11 pens last year. It can pad your stats.


  24. Our record is so bad at Old Trafford that you cannot help but be a bit fearful. I am rather optimistically going for 1-1.


  25. I think we had 11 losses last year against the top 6 and no matter how badly Man U are screwing this up they should be top 6 every year.


  26. This may be an unpopular opinion but I wish these idiots would stop with their racist chants and gestures for the simple reason it takes away from my enjoyment of the game. I know it is selfish of me to think this way, but I am not going to solve this problem and they talk about it for 10 minutes before every game with player tweets (obviously written by PR people or lawyers), then the Managers wade in, then the pundits and then the journos and podcasts.

    Instead of talking about players, special moments, managers, transfers, finishing positions we have to hear about racism.

    Who are these people doing this? They must know they are going to be caught and even the fans standing next to them will turn them in now.

    Can’t they just stop and let me enjoy the game in peace without the whole bloody commentary being taken over by 1 idiot making a monkey gesture?


  27. Unless it is on a large scale like Lazio I think it might be better to ignore it and let the Stewards and Police deal with it. That would involve having much better communication in the stadium but with today’s technology that is easily doable.

    They did it with the individual pitch invaders where they don’t show them on TV anymore. Perhaps this is the way to address non-violent and stupid acts of racism by individuals at football matches?

    I don’t see the problem being like it is in Italy or the former Eastern Europe so I don’t think we need the same solutions and the half an hour of talk before, during and after games about 1 idiot making monkey noises.


  28. Most tenuous link by a commentator ever was just made by Martin Fckn Tyler who said “Boxing Day is known in some parts of the world as St Stephen’s Day and Stephen Alzate has already had a couple of chances in this game” FFS, sometimes I wish the internet did not exist.


  29. Another stat attack.

    Guess who has the best Boxing Day record in PL history? And the worst?

    You know the answer 🙂


  30. I think we have the worst record because the PL keep scheduling us against Man U and Liverpool away on Boxing day. Probably for TV and also logistics as they wont want fans having to travel to London and the NW isn’t that far.


  31. Mackems draw with bottom club Bolton who had 5 points before today.

    Sunlun now 15th in the 3rd Division, their lowest position in their history.


  32. Getinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
    Merry Christmas lads and Lasses 😀 😆


  33. Well i’m proper hanging with some awful virus as is the lad and Christmas has been a damp squib so far but if we get a result here i’ll be well happy.

    Thanks to the lads who keep the site running and merry Christmas to all the posters old and new.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green