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Preview: Manchester United vs. Newcastle United - prediction, team news, lineups
10/09/2021 15:13:56

Manchester United will be looking to record their third Premier League win of the season when they welcome Newcastle United to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon (3:00PM, 11 Sept).

The match is expected to mark the second debut of Cristiano Ronaldo, who incredibly returned to Old Trafford from Juventus in the final stages of the summer transfer window.

Match preview

Ronaldo is set to pull on the famous Man United shirt for the first time since 2009 this weekend, as the Portugal international prepares to make his second debut for the Red Devils. An early release from international duty has allowed the 36-year-old to train with his new teammates this week, and it appears likely that he will go straight into the starting XI for Saturday's clash with Newcastle, which will be some occasion.

The return of the former Sporting Lisbon youngster is a huge story, but Man United cannot afford to take their eye off the ball in terms of picking up a strong result, as they have already dropped two disappointing points away to Southampton in the early stages of the season.

That said, a return of seven points from three matches represents a solid start, beating Leeds United 5-1 in their opener before recording a 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers before the international break courtesy of a late effort from Mason Greenwood, who has three goals in three outings this term.

The league table is not too important at this stage, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side occupy third position, two points behind leaders Tottenham Hotspur; it will be a busy end to the month for the club, meanwhile, as they feature in both the Champions League and EFL Cup.

Indeed, Man United will open their Champions League group-stage campaign away to Young Boys on September 14, while West Ham United will be their opponents in the EFL Cup on September 22, just three days after the two teams lock horns in the Premier League at the London Stadium.

Newcastle, meanwhile, have made a disappointing start to the 2021-22 Premier League season, picking up just one point from their three matches, which has left them in 17th position in the table.

The Magpies opened their season with back-to-back defeats to West Ham United and Aston Villa before losing on penalties to Burnley in the second round of the EFL Cup.

Steve Bruce's side did manage to pick up a point at home to Southampton before the international break, though, with Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin on the scoresheet, and Newcastle will surely need to have their shooting boots on this weekend to stand a chance of picking up a positive result.

The Magpies only have the Premier League to worry about until their FA Cup campaign starts, meaning that they only have three fixtures before the end of the month, facing Man United, Leeds United and Watford, and it will be fascinating to see where they sit in the table heading into October.

Newcastle have lost their last three Premier League games against Man United, including a 3-1 defeat in the corresponding match at Old Trafford last term, while the club have not won away at the 20-time English champions in the league since December 2013, which is an indication of the size of their task on Saturday.

Team News

As mentioned, Ronaldo has trained alongside his new teammates this week, and the Portuguese is expected to go straight into the starting XI on Saturday afternoon at centre-forward.

Jadon Sancho has recovered from the problem that forced him to pull out of the England squad, and the summer arrival could join Ronaldo, Greenwood and Bruno Fernandes as part of a front four.

Scott McTominay is back in training following groin surgery but will not be available this weekend, while Brazil international Fred is suspended due to a FIFA-imposed ban, so Donny van de Beek could be in line for a rare start in midfield alongside Paul Pogba.

Marcus Rashford is still unavailable, with the forward recovering from a shoulder operation, but Dean Henderson, Alex Telles and Phil Jones are all back in full training for the club.

As for Newcastle, Callum Wilson picked up a thigh problem in the draw with Southampton before the international break and is set to miss out, meaning that Joelinton could feature alongside Saint-Maximin as part of a front two.

Martin Dubravka, Jonjo Shelvey, Ryan Fraser, Karl Darlow and Elliott Anderson will also be unavailable through injury, but Isaac Hayden and Paul Dummett have a chance of being involved.

Miguel Almiron, though, is suspended due to the same ruling that will force Fred to miss this match, so Hayden could replace the Paraguay international if he proves his fitness.

Bruce is likely to keep faith with a 3-5-2 formation for the trip to Old Trafford, with Matt Ritchie and Jacob Murphy set to feature in the wing-back areas for the visitors.

Manchester United possible starting lineup:

De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Van de Beek, Pogba; Greenwood, Fernandes, Sancho; Ronaldo

Newcastle United possible starting lineup:

Woodman; Fernandez, Lascelles, Schar; Murphy, Willock, Longstaff, Hayden, Ritchie; Saint-Maximin, Joelinton

We say: Manchester United 3-1 Newcastle United

Newcastle will be far from at full strength on Saturday, and it is difficult to imagine them leaving Old Trafford with a positive result. Ronaldo's return has created a real buzz around Man United, and we are expecting the Portuguese to inspire his side to all three points this weekend.

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