Manchester United are ready to get back in action in what will be only their third competitive match in 2024. Erik Ten Hag’s team is ready for a trip to Wales, where they will face League Two’s Newport County, in the hopes of getting as simple win as possible, without expending too much energy. Here is what you need to know beforehand.
Saturday’s intense match between Newport and Wrexham ended without a loss in terms of personnel. Adam Lewis, a wing-back on loan from Liverpool, was allowed to start after he was replaced at halftime during the victory against Eastleigh. However, manager Coughlan still has to deal with the absence of two defensive players: Declan Drysdale (hamstring) did not play against Wrexham, while Josh Seberry, 19, is recovering from a fibula fracture. Before Man United visits, Kyle Jameson and Offrande Zanzala will also need to be checked before the match. Newport will probably line up in a cautious 5-3-2 shape in an effort to frustrate their esteemed guests, and Luke Jephcott, who recently arrived from St Johnstone, may also make his debut.
Regarding Man United, Anthony Martial will miss 10 weeks of action following a groin surgery, ending the Red Devils’ hopes of offloading the soon-to-be free agent in the final days of the January transfer window. If fully fit, Martial could have earned a rare start in Wales. While Mason Mount (calf), Tyrell Malacia (knee), and Victor Lindelof (groin) are sidelined due to their injuries, Sofyan Amrabat and Andre Onana are both abroad at the Africa Cup of Nations. Luke Shaw (unspecified) and Harry Maguire (groin) may both make their competitive returns at Rodney Parade. Meanwhile, Jonny Evans and Marcus Rashford are questionable due to sickness.
While Man United did not play much this month, that cannot be said for Newport County. The Wales-based team is currently sitting mid-table in League Two and their recent results were on the up. Since the start of 2024, they drew 1-1 against Sutton United in the league and then Eastleigh in the FA Cup. After beating Doncaster 1-0, they defeated Eastleigh 3-1 in the replay, which was followed by a 1-0 win against their fellow Welsh rivals, Wrexham. These were important results for Graham Coughlan’s side, but we all know that none of that really matters before a game as big as this one, against the Red Devils.
Man United, on the other hand, are not in some incredible form, but they also played mere two matches in the first four weeks of the year. Following their disappointing loss to Nottingham Forest in the last match of 2023, they defeated Wigan Athletic 2-0 in the FA Cup and then drew 2-2 against Tottenham in a match where they had the lead on two separate occasions. Apart from that, Erik Ten Hag has had a lot of time on the training ground with his players and that should be a big bonus for the Devils ahead of their upcoming run of matches, which will follow the trip to Wales.
There is not much to debate here. We predict Manchester United will beat Newport County 3-0 and get an easy win on their way to fifth round of the FA Cup.