In advance of Newcastle’s defeat at Swansea, Mark Lawrenson declared that Steve McClaren would be telling his team to defend better than against Southampton, they didn’t…
The annoying pundit forecast United would get something from that game in South Wales but after watching Newcastle’s shocking performance against Swansea, the Lawrenson verdict is that United are ‘not looking convincing at the moment’.
Speaking to BBC Sport, the former Liverpool defender says that whilst Manchester United have won their first three games, they don’t rate as ‘serious contenders’ for either domestic or European success.
Mark Lawrenson goes for a 2-1 win for the home team and says that defending (or lack of it) is the big difference at the moment.
Man Utd have only needed to score two goals to pick up six points so far and that has been based on a solid defence which hasn’t conceded a goal in over three hours of Premier League so far.
In contrast, Newcastle have defended abysmally and still look weak when facing set-plays, as well as whenever the ball is crossed in open play (three goals already conceded this way).
Wayne Rooney is playing as the central striker and doesn’t score a lot with his head, in fact he hasn’t scored at all since 4 April 2015 – let’s hope he keeps that record going for another 90 minutes…
Mark Lawrenson on BBC Sport:
‘Manchester United have now played three and won three this season but the way Club Brugge set up in their Champions League qualifier on Tuesday definitely helped them.
The Belgian side gambled going forward and that suited Louis van Gaal’s side because it gave them space when they attacked and Manchester United won 3-1.
As good a start as they have made, I still think they are short of what they need to be serious contenders in the Premier League and Europe at the moment.
Both of these teams are a work in progress but the difference is that, defensively, Newcastle do not look convincing at the moment. I can see Manchester United’s good start continuing.’
Also predicting this weekend’s matches with Lawrenson was (alleged) comedian and Arsenal fan, Jack Whitehall.
His prediction is a 3-1 win for Man Utd with him saying:
“Memphis (Depay) is hitting form for (Manchester)United and I think Newcastle will be in trouble again this season…”
Let’s hope Newcastle can pull a new look side together as soon as possible, with the late arrivals of Mitrovic, Mbemba and Thauvin meaning United are very much playing catch-up in terms of readiness for the early part of the season.