After the loss against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, Manchester United were back to winning ways, as they beat Huddersfield Town last weekend. They are just four points off Spurs in the second place, after their victory in the North London derby and United can improve on it this weekend, when they travel to St James’ Park, to take on a Newcastle United side, in the middle of a crisis.
Having failed to win any of their last five games in all competitions, Rafa Benitez’s side are now 16th in the league table, just a point off the drop zone. They are fresh from back to back draws against Burnley and Crystal Palace and will look to put on a fight but Jose Mourinho’s men will settle for nothing less than three points. Here is the predicted lineup the Red Devils might field for this tie:
Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marouane Fellaini are ruled out for a considerable amount of time and remain the only long-term absentees for the side. Marcus Rashford and Phil Jones are back in action, after nursing injuries earlier in the week while Daley Blind, who has also missed the last few games with a niggle, will face a fitness test before the game.
Expected lineup (4-2-3-1):
David de Gea is easily one of the best shot-stoppers in Europe at the moment and should start under the bar for United this weekend. Chris Smalling has not been at his best and could be replaced by Phil Jones, who is finally back in action while Marcos Rojo, who had a decent outing against the Terriers, could keep his place in the backline.
Antonio Valencia remains the first choice right-back for Mourinho and will start this game as well while Luke Shaw, who has finally gained Mourinho’s trust, could keep his place at left-back.
Paul Pogba only came off the bench in the previous round but is fit enough to start this game. He should be partnered by Nemanja Matic, who will look to have a comfortable outing, against a misfiring Newcastle side.
Romelu Lukaku is the first choice striker for Manchester United. He scored the opening goal against Huddersfield Town and will retain his place this weekend. Alexis Sanchez, who also scored in that game, his first in the league for the club, is expected to start on the left flank while Anthony Martial, who has been one of the best players for United this season, will start on the right flank.
Juan Mata’s creativity might be important for United in this game and he could start ahead of Jesse Lingard this weekend.
Here is how they might line up:
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