Scouting Manchester United’s Opponents: Newcastle And New Trouble

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Manchester United are in a tough situation. Four matches without a win is never a good thing and even less so when those results mean you are ninth in the Premier League and out of the League Cup. Even worse, none of those four results came against sides that were favourites against the Red Devils and this weekend a similar rival will be up next.

Newcastle United will be visiting Old Trafford and Manchester United will be looking to finally win the match at home. They have not done so since the opening night of the Premier League campaign against Leicester City and it has been nearly two months since then. Newcastle seem like a good side to play against at this point in time, as Rafael Benitez’s side is struggling since the start of the season.

Where Is Their Attack?

When you look at Newcastle, one of the obvious problems is their poor performances in front of the opposition’s goal. The final third seem to them like an unreachable holy grail and the stats are really telling. Newcaste have been making just 7.4 shots per match so far, which is the worst in the league. That is half the number Wolverhampton produce. Knowing that, it is not surprising Newcastle have been struggling to score goals. In fact, they scored just four goals, with only Huddersfield scoring less than them.

It is far from a surprise that a team that scored less goals then their former striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has on his own is also a team that has not won a single match so far. Newcastle have just two draws and looking at their expected goals numbers, it is even more striking how poor they have been in front of the goal.

Basically half of their shots came from outside of the box and that is not good. Their xG over 1.00 in the opening two matches only, against Spurs and Cardiff. It was the Welsh side that was the only team to have a smaller xG than Magpies in a direct clash, but Newcastle still failed to win the game.

Defense Is A Different Story

Defensively, Newcastle are a much better side. It is no surprise, as their manager is Benitez, who is known for successfully drilling his teams into good defensive units that defend very deep, with two low blocks, suffocating the opposition. Manchester United might struggle in this match, as their displays at Old Trafford have been poor. United are slow when going forwards and the movement of the ball is too.  That is usually a very good thing for a team like Newcastle.

They conceded just 10 goals, two less than Man United. Their xG is pretty close too (10.47), so that is their reality right now. Manchester United will need technical players like Andreas Pereira to play and get those vertical balls through the lines, but also players like Martial and Lingard who can be very dangerous with their movement, in order to try and unsettle Newcastle as soon as possible.

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