Manchester United are travelling to Newcastle for their Sunday clash against the Magpies, which will be really important for both sides. The Devils are in a bad moment right now, after failing to win against AZ Alkmaar on Thusrday, Arsenal on Monday and Rochdale in regular time in League Cup before that.
Newcastle, on the other hand, are in relegation zone and if they got the win on Sunday they will escape it at the expense of Everton. Steve Bruce’s side could really do with a good performance.
How Did They Fare So Far
The reason for that is that they have only one win so far this season and that one was a lucky one against Tottenham Hotspur. First, they lost to Arsenal and then Norwich quite comfortably, before beating Spurs. A 1-1 draw against winless Watford came before loss to Everton and a 0-0 against Brighton. Finally, their worst performance came last weekend against Leicester City, with the Foxes beating them 5-0.
Only five points from seven matches is clearly not good enough for them and after Man United they will play Chelsea and Wolves as well. They could realistically remain on five points after 10 matches. That would be alarming for them.
Newcastle have problems with scoring goals. A lot of problems. In these seven matches, they scored just four goals and therefore those five points look even better. It is no wonder that none of their players have more than one goal to their name, with Joelinton, Schar, Willems and Shelvey scored. That is two defenders, a central midfielder and a forward.
Newcastle’s expected goals total up until now is 4.30, which is even worse, because their tally is actually reality, not being unlucky. Creating just 0.61 xG per match across the WHOLE team is simply appalling and then it is not a surprise to see Newcastle have not had a higher xG than any of their rivals in those seven matches. Against Leicester, they had just 0.05 xG, which is almost as if they did not play at all.
Scoring four goals from 64 shots is something that Man United should have in mind on Sunday and not allow their opponents to trouble them the way they did not trouble most of their recent rivals.
Signings Still Not Clicking
Newcastle have spent much more money than in years before and that was a slight surprise. They paid 40 million pounds for Joelinton and another 15 for Allan Saint-Maximin, while Jetro Willems and others also joined them. Miguel Almiron arrived in January for 20 million and none of those attacking signings have clicked.
Steve Bruce have been making some odd decisions, like Almiron – a clear energetic number 10 – playing on the right wing where he is ineffective. Saint-Maximin has played just 57 minutes this season, while Joelinton has scored just once since arriving from Hoffenheim.
They seem too rigid going forwards and lacking any coherent patterns of play and, like Man United many times this season, they can be very predictable in that attacking side of the game.