Newcastle vs Man Utd – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Sunday 2nd April 2023
St James’ Park
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we take a look at Man Utd’s visit to St James’ Park. With both sides chasing CL football next season and not in the best form, who will prevail? Read on with our Newcastle vs Man Utd prediction.
Newcastle vs Man Utd Match Preview
Following the international break for Euro 2024 qualifying, Newcastle United host Manchester United in a hugely important clash for two Champions League-chasing teams. When the two teams last met, it was Ten Hag’s side who took the honours, coming away with a 2-0 victory at Wembley to lift the EFL Cup. That encounter was part of a run for the home side that saw them endure five matches in all competitions without a victory, scoring just two goals against eight goals conceded.
Thankfully for the hosts, they have since rebounded with two consecutive 2-1 victories, although admittedly not against the strongest opposition in the form of relegation battlers Wolves and Nottingham Forest. Though Newcastle have the best defensive record in the division with just 19 goals conceded in 26 matches and have lost just three Premier League matches all season, 11 draws – second only to Brentford, means that Champions League qualification is far from certain and there is much work to be done between now and the end of the season for Eddie Howe’s men.
The visitors are now four matches removed from their 7-0 humiliation at Anfield. Three victories from four matches is clearly a welcome run of positive results; however, United have struggled against both of their domestic opponents in stark contrast to the ease in which they saw off the challenge of Real Betis in the Europa League. While Man Utd did manage to earn a point after playing with 10 men for an hour at home to Southampton, the game was keenly contested before the red card and although they would probably have been expected to pick up the three points with 11 men, it was far from a certainty.
This dip in performance continued against Fulham in their FA Cup quarter-final clash. While Fulham are by no means a poor team, it has to be said that once again, the game was well-balanced before Willian was sent off for handling a goalbound effort on the line, and Mitrovic followed him for a meltdown in protest of what was actually the correct decision. We can also say that the momentum would have been with the home team even if Willian hadn’t intervened, but nevertheless, it was a subdued performance in keeping with their match against Southampton.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Gordon
Will Not Play: Almiron, Fraser, Krafth
Might Not Play: Eriksen, Martial, Rashford, Sabitzer
Will Not Play: Casemiro, Garnacho, Heaton, Van de Beek
Newcastle vs Man Utd Lineups (Predicted)
Newcastle (4-3-3): Pope; Burn, Schar, Botman, Tripper; Longstaff, Willock, Guimaraes; Saint-Maximin, Gordon, Isak
Man Utd (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Shaw, Varane, Martinez, Wan-Bissaka; Sabitzer, McTominay; Rashford, Fernandes, Antony; Weghorst
Newcastle vs Man Utd Analysis
Newcastle Will Remember the EFL Cup Final
While every game in itself is a blank slate, and just three points are separating two sides who aren’t exactly in blistering form, it’s telling that when Newcastle opted for a more controlling, possession-based approach against this United team, they were repaid with 10 shots on target and only generated two themselves. Even though they can be prone to inconsistency, it’s often difficult to play expansively and generate the required goal threat against this United team. The 0-0 draw earlier in the season between the two sides limited both teams to two shots on target, where Man United had 63% of the ball.
With United missing both Casemiro and Eriksen from their midfield, it stands to reason that the visitors will undoubtedly prefer to attack directly and with pace. It’s not that McTominay or Sabitzer are poor players, it’s more that they’re not particularly creative, and therefore they will prefer to get the ball quickly to Fernandes in particular, or if there’s a more direct route available, to the likes of Rashford and Antony. Weghorst will primarily be used to press from the front to make it difficult for Newcastle to play out from the back.
This means that Newcastle would be better served by turning this match into a war of attrition, particularly in the midfield area where United are missing key players. If they can do that, they can perhaps gain the upper hand without having to commit too many men forward and risk getting carved open by United’s incisive attackers. If they can do that, and get the tricky winger Saint-Maximin and the pacey, intelligent forward Isak involved without having to risk too much, they could have some joy as United won’t enjoy the same high-quality protection that they get with Casemiro in the side.
Man Utd Won’t Play Expansively Either
We expect that, to a certain extent, the two sides will mirror each other with their tactical approaches. It won’t be lost upon Man Utd that they created a glut of chances against Newcastle by allowing them possession in relatively harmless areas before looking to attack directly and with purpose when Newcastle’s supporting cast were out of position. On the other hand, Newcastle will probably be more cautious in committing men forward this time around, but will also be aware that United are light in midfield.
What we’re likely to see is a well-balanced match in which both sides are cautious of the threat of the other, albeit for different reasons. Manchester United clearly aren’t as proficient against defending transitions without Casemiro in the side. McTominay is a combative midfielder but one who is deployed more effectively as a ball-winning midfielder further up the pitch. Attempts to repurpose the Scot as an auxiliary centre back at international level haven’t been particularly successful, and in any case, he’s a better-attacking weapon than many give him credit for with his finishing ability.
Therefore, in this particular match, we can see McTominay and Sabitzer holding their position more and looking to defer creative duties to Fernandes, in particular, more often than not. That way, United can retain a measure of defensive solidity by closing off space, rather than looking to defend frantically in transition and risk being picked apart. While not especially slow, Newcastle’s full-backs – Kieran Trippier and Dan Burn – aren’t exactly renowned for their pace, which may aid a more direct approach. Certainly in the case of Antony, who needs to be able to get a yard or so on his opponent to be at his most effective.
We can envisage a match where chances are at a premium, assuming that Newcastle have learned a few lessons from their disappointing EFL Cup defeat. In a match like that, generally speaking, you tend to favour the team with the superior attacking weapons at their disposal, and that would be the visitors in this case. We certainly don’t think that there’s a case for either side outplaying the other, and it’s unlikely that too many clear chances will be created.
Given the high-stakes nature and the likely tactical approaches of both teams, we’ll opt for a narrow Manchester United victory. This is a game that could go either way, and some would perhaps say that a low-scoring draw would be a safer prediction, but we take note of the fact that Newcastle have managed just four shots on target in 180 minutes against the visitors.
Newcastle 0-1 Man Utd
Newcastle vs Man Utd Betting Tip – Man Utd Odds:
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