Maybe surprisingly, Mark Lawrenson found a lot to be impressed by despite Newcastle losing at home to Bournemouth two weeks ago.
He thought the team worked really hard and Lawrenson says ‘I liked the way Rafa Benitez had them playing’.
The BBC Sport pundit thought Dwight Gayle ‘did well’ on his return to the starting line-up and that ‘Joselu actually played ok’ as well against Bournemouth.
However, he says that with all of Newcastle’s strikers, whilst you can’t question their commitment ‘you can clearly question their quality’.
No doubt we will have more talk about whether Aleksandar Mitrovic should get a chance this weekend but even if he is better than the other two, nobody can really claim that he is a very good Premier League level finisher.
With strikers and a team overall struggling to score (one goal in the last three matches), not exactly the time maybe to be facing a team who have won all five home games in the Premier League and scored 15 goals, without conceding any themselves.
You can’t really blame Mark Lawrenson for coming to the conclusion this time that it all comes down to ‘whether Manchester United can break’ Newcastle down.
His conclusion is that Rafa Benitez will make it difficult for them but that the result has ‘only one outcome’, Lawrenson predicting a 2-0 victory.
Mark Lawrenson taking to BBC Sport:
“Newcastle worked really hard when I watched them against Bournemouth and I liked the way manager Rafael Benitez had them playing, but it is obvious they are lacking a top-class centre-forward.
“Dwight Gayle did well on the day but will he get them lots of goals in the Premier League? I wouldn’t think so, and I would say the same about Joselu.
“Again, Joselu actually played OK against the Cherries, but he did not really look like scoring.
“With both players, while you could not question their commitment at the top end of the pitch, you can clearly question their quality.
“I can see Benitez reverting to playing with one up front when he goes to Old Trafford, and again it is hard to see the Magpies scoring.
“At the other end, Newcastle will be well organised but it will just be a question of whether Manchester United can break them down.
“Benitez’s side will make it difficult for them but there is only one outcome.
“Prediction: Manchester United 2 Newcastle United 0.”
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