Paul Merson has been looking at Sunday’s match at St James Park.
Only two teams have scored fewer than Newcastle’s 11 goals at home, whilst only Manchester City have conceded less goals away from home than Man Utd’s 13.
So if Newcastle are going to get something…you have to think it will need to be a low scoring game.
When Man City visited in December, Newcastle United were rated a massive 14/1 shot to win by the bookies, surely the highest odds recorded for NUFC to beat a Premier League rival.
Against Man Utd Newcastle are ‘only’ 5/1 to get a victory and Paul Merson sums up the difference to Man City, saying ‘Newcastle have got a chance, Manchester United don’t blow you away’.
Evidence of this is shown in the fact that away from home Mourinho’s team have scored a relatively modest 22 goals, less than any other club in the top five.
The fact that in six Premier League matches with Chelsea, Jose Mourninho never won once (3 defeats, 3 draws) at St James Park, must in some way affect the ‘Special One’ in his thinking of how to approach the game.
Measured against that is of course the fact that no Newcastle player would get into Man Utd’s first 11, or indeed quite possibly the bench, so Mourinho has a ‘slight’ advantage there.
However, as Merson says, they do give you a chance, and that first half hour at Old Trafford saw Newcastle more than a match for them, leading with that Dwight Gayle goal. Only to tamely gift the match to the home side with some poor defending, Jamaal Lascelles out injured.
Speaking a but like a very optimistic Newcastle fan for once, Paul Merson declares: ‘Rafa Benitez is one of the best managers at setting teams up not to lose games, and with players like Jamaal Lascelles at set-plays, you never know.’
Kenedy has improved the Newcastle team and added extra attacking threat, if Islam Slimani can add a little bit more then it increases the small but definite chance of NUFC getting something on Sunday.
Despite his ‘you never know’ statement though, Paul Merson still goes for a 2-0 away win.
Here’s hoping Jamaal Lascelles (or Mohamed Diame) can get on the end of another excellent Kenedy set-piece delivery…what better time as well to get a first Premier League victory in 113 days at St James Park.
Paul Merson speaking to Sky Sports:
“Manchester United are just efficient, aren’t they?
“They played a weakened Huddersfield at home and fell over the line – you could not come off that pitch and say they could have won by nine, but they were efficient.
“Newcastle have got a chance, because Manchester United won’t blow you away.
“Rafa Benitez is one of the best managers at setting teams up not to lose games, and with players like Jamaal Lascelles at set-plays, you never know.
“Prediction is Newcastle 0 Man Utd 2.”
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