Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will look to emulate the late, great Sir Matt Busby this week, when the Red Devils travel to the North East to take on Newcastle United at St James’ Park. Busby won his first four games in charge of United, and Solskjaer will have achieved the same if his team win on Tyneside. The Old Trafford outfit have not won at St James’ Park since 2015, though, so this will be a tougher test than Solskjaer’s previous three games in charge, which have been against Huddersfield Town, Cardiff City and Bournemouth.
Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle team have won just once in seven Premier League matches, not a stat which will inspire much optimism in the ranks of the Toon Army. The Magpies beat Man Utd at St James’ Park last season, but they have not won consecutive home games against the Red Devils since 1987.
Newcastle United vs Manchester United Prediction: Newcastle 1-2 Man Utd
Our prediction for this game is that the away side will win 2-1. Manchester United have looked a lot more fluent and free since Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho earlier this month. They are certainly a lot more confident in attack, and look like a much happier side, with a lighter spirit. They do still have a tendency to concede goals, though, even when winning, which suggest that there is work to be done defensively. Newcastle don’t score that many goals, but they will want to give their home fans something to cheer.
Our recommended tip: Man Utd, both score
Our featured tip for this match comes from William Hill. They are offering odds of 2/1 on the Red Devils to win and both teams to score. This looks a good bet to us as United are undoubtedly the favourites to win the game, but they have a tendency to concede goals. Under Solskjaer, the Red Devils are yet to keep to a clean sheet, despite winning all three of the matches in which the Norwegian has taken charge. A bet on the away side to win and both teams scoring looks a good way to maximise your chances of placing a winning wager.
These two sides have played each other on 47 previous occasions in the Premier League. Newcastle United have won just six of those games, with Manchester United having won 27 times. There have been 14 draws, and the Red Devils have won 12 times at St James’ Park in the Premier League. The last time the two sides met was in October, earlier this season, at Old Trafford. The home side won the game 3-2. Newcastle went into a 2-0 lead after just 10 minutes, before the home side retrieved a victory with three goals in the last 20 minutes.
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Players to watch: Salomon Rondon & Paul Pogba
Newcastle’s Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon ran the Watford defence ragged in the Toon’s last game at the weekend, when he scored the Magpies’ goal. He also revealed to the Spanish press this week that he is hoping for a lengthier stay at St James’ Park, as he is still on loan at Newcastle from West Bromwich Albion. He has provided five goals and two assists in his 14 Premier League appearances in 2018/19.
Paul Pogba is not every fan’s cup of tea. Much of what the French international does in life seems to revolve around his social media profile rather than what he does on the football pitch. His form at Manchester United has been patchy. Since Solskjaer took over at Old Trafford, though, Pogba looks a new player. Now freed up to create from the number 10 role, Pogba is providing assists, scoring goals and scaring opposition defences.