The Premier League is back! Merry Christmas to you all, as we prepare to welcome our Manchester United back in action. The Red Devils are set to play on Monday night against Newcastle United in their first match in 16 days, ever since that Norwich City win on 11 December.
Ralf Rangnick’s side did not play their previous two matches as they were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak in the squad. Manchester United missed their trip to face Brentford and then their clash against Brighton at Old Trafford was cancelled as well. That gave Man United plenty of time to recover and prepare for new challenges that lay ahead. Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming match on Monday night.
Newcastle will be without Isaac Hayden, who is suspended for five yellow cards, while Federico Fernandez and Jamal Lewis have thigh injuries which will keep them out. Jonjo Shelvey is a doubt in midfield due to his fitness, while Emil Krafth and Javier Manquillo should be returning to the team following their illnesses.
On the other hand, Man United will have an almost full squad to choose from, with only Paul Pogba still recovering from injury, as Ralf Rangnick has recently pointed out. That means the likes of Raphael Varane, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Edinson Cavani could all feature in this match.
Newcastle’s form this season has been abysmal, despite the arrival of Eddie Howe. They are in 19th place with mere 10 points from 18 matches and their fight to stave off relegation is going to be a tough one in their remaining 20 games. Newcastle’s recent form has not been ideal, but then again, they have been on a very tough road – they lost to Leicester 4-0 and Liverpool 3-1, both away from home, before their final match against Manchester City resulting in another 4-0 defeat. But prior to that, Newcastle won their first match of the campaign, against Burnley at home, which was very important, as they are one of their rivals in the fight for staying in the league.
Man United, on the other hand, were not in action for quite some time and it will be interesting to see how much their form changed. They won their last three Premier League games, against Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Norwich and the games against Brentford and Brighton could have been good opportunities for United to get closer to the top three teams in the league and to maybe snatch that fourth place that Arsenal are currently occupying, although with 18 games played, compared to United’s 16.
Considering how Newcastle are playing this season and the way the two teams played in the 4-1 win for Man United at Old Trafford earlier this season, it is clear who will be the favourites to get all three points. We predict a 2-0 win for Manchester United, who might not be at their very best following a long hiatus from Premier League action, but they will be fresher and with far more quality than the Magpies.