Manchester United vs. Newcastle Prediction: All Eyes on Old Trafford Saturday Anticipating Cristiano Ronaldo's Return
When: Saturday, September 11 - 10:00 AM ET
Where: Old Trafford
This is probably the most expected match on the round in the Premier League, not because of the importance of the match but because Cristiano Ronaldo might make his 2nd United debut following his transfer from Juventus.
Man United vs. Newcastle Preview
Man United is sitting 3rd in the standings with 7 points earned in their 1st three games of the season. After a brilliant 5-1 win against Leeds in the season opener, Man United showed signs of weakness, being kept to a 1-1 draw by Southampton on the road. Before the international break, they traveled to play Wolves, beating them 1-0, with Mason Greenwood scoring the match's only goal. They were pretty lucky not to concede in that specific game with Wolves failing to find the back of the net, having 15 goals attempts and 6 shots on target.
After scoring in all three Premier League fixtures, Mason Greenwood has been named Manchester United's Player of the Month for August. He's improving with every game, and the top pundits in England see him as the best finisher at the club, but it will be interesting to see how many minutes and games he will play from now on after Ronaldo's transfer.
Marcus Rashford is currently out after undergoing shoulder surgery last month. Ronaldo's arrival will impact him negatively (how much game-time he will get?) and positively (grow as a player under Ronaldo's guidance).
Many United players are always under the media radar, and with CR7's move, not only will they improve as a team and become more consistent, but Cristiano will now absorb the pressure from the entire media.
Everyone is happy at the club, even Paul Pogba, who wanted a new challenge in the last two years. After two impressive acquisitions (Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane) and a mega bomb transfer (CR7), the team feels they are finally ready to win silverware.
On the other side, Newcastle enters this match, having nothing to lose. They are winless this season, earning just 1 point in three games, losing two matches, and conceding 8 goals in the process. Last season they finished 12th, having a solid finish, winning three of the previous four games of the season. They will be without Jonjo Shelvey injured while Miguel Almiron is on quarantine.
Players away on international duty:
Man United: Daniel James (Wales); Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal); Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane, Anthony Martial (France); Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw (England); Victor Lindelof (Sweden); Eric Bailly (Ivory Coast). Jadon Sancho was pulled out of the England squad due to injury, but he's back in training and fully fit for this clash. Unfortunately, Fred will be out for the next two games if Premier League will not suspend the ban imposed by FIFA for the Brazilian players. Luckily, Scott McTominay returned to training following groin surgery.
Newcastle: Fabian Schar (Switzerland); Ryan Fraser (Scotland); Jeff Hendrick (Ireland); Emil Krafth (Sweden); Jamal Lewis (Northern Ireland). You can easily see the difference in class between the two teams. One of Newcastle's most important players, Callum Wilson, managed a tight quad against Southampton, but he might be ready on time for Saturday's clash. Steve Bruce will give an injury update on Friday when he speaks to the English media.
Man United vs. Newcastle Prediction
The level of confidence in United's locker room is huge. The players are thrilled with Ronaldo's arrival, they believe this will end their 4-year trophy drought, and they can't wait to see him in action. Last season United managed to cover the -1.5 Asian Handicap both at home and away, defeating Newcastle 3-1 and 4-1 respectively.
They possess even more firepower this season, and they should be able to cover it again. Newcastle's defensive struggles and injury issues will be the key to this match. They won't be able to keep United at bay, and they will probably concede many goals. Allan Saint-Maximin can't play on his own, no matter how good he is. It's tough to find value when you have United priced at -500.