Newcastle United and Manchester United meet in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon with both teams in serious need of a confidence boost.
Steve Bruce’s side are without a win since August and were thrashed 5-0 by Leicester City last time out, while United have only managed two wins from their last 12 league games.
In a way, the contemporary tales of Newcastle and United mirror each other quite nicely: a maligned owner, a failing transfer policy, an inept squad, no clear style of play, and no prospect of the club reaching a solution to these problems any time soon.
While Ashley has often been accused of trying to play too much of a shaping role at Newcastle, the owning Glazer family at Old Trafford can be seen as doing the opposite – taking an interest in share prices whilst leaving the actual management of the club to a directorship spearheaded by Ed Woodward, whose success in the marketing side of affairs has been overshadowed by a total failure in planning a coherent footballing strategy.
As United head to St James’ Park, there is a growing consensus among its supporters that the side’s toothless, idle performances this season are a consequence of not just tactics but indeed emblematic of a wider rotten culture at the Theatre of Dreams which feels technocratic, faceless, concerned only with short-term results as opposed to long-term potential.
Head to Head
This fixture has historically been a huge one, with the sides taking each other on 167 times. United lead with 86 wins to Newcastle’s 42, while 39 draws have also been played out.
Newcastle have just one win in their last nine against the Red Devils, which was a 1-0 victory in 2018 thanks to a goal from Matt Ritchie.
The last time they played was at the start of 2019, with United winning 2-0 at St. James’ Park courtesy of goals from Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford.
Possible Line Ups
Newcastle United Dubravka; Dummett, Schar, Lascelles, Yedlin; Longstaff, Shelvey; Almiron, Atsu, Muto; Joelinton
Manchester United:De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Young; McTominay, Matic; Pereira, Mata, James; Rashford
United seem unable to gather enough impetus to generate a dangerous attack, let alone the constant stream of fast patterns necessary to penetrate Newcastle’s low block, while the latter is also painfully bereft of goals at the moment. The lack of confidence and quality on both sides renders a goalless draw – which the hosts will gladly take – the most likely outcome