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Mark Lawrenson on what he thinks happens now Steve Bruce has returned from holiday

3 days ago
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Mark Lawrenson is definite about two things.

Firstly, that Steve Bruce and his Newcastle United players ‘badly need a win.’

Secondly, Saturday at Old Trafford ‘is not the time or place for them to get it.’

Mark Lawrenson can only see Newcastle United dropping into the relegation zone with a heavy defeat and the abysmal start to the season continuing under Steve Bruce.

Not much consolation when looking at how Bruce has done against his old club, as in over two decades of management the former Man Utd defender has only managed to avoid defeat once at Old Trafford, losing every single game apart from a 2-2 draw with Sunderland 12 years ago.

If you were looking for something to give a bit of hope, Newcastle United have actually scored first in six of their past eight Premier League matches (home and away) against Manchester United.

However, only two of those eight have led to a win, the Matty Longstaff (now sent on loan to Aberdeen) Premier League debut one in October 2019 and Martin Dubravka’s man of the match NUFC debut in February 2018, another 1-0 at SJP.

The chances of a win and / or clean sheet look an impossibility for Newcastle according to Mark Lawrenson, despite Man Utd only drawing 1-1 against Southampton and then a very lucky 1-0 win when outplayed for much of the game against Wolves.

Mark Lawrenson sees Saturday as all about Ronaldo and his participation ensuring even further a home win.

In Newcastle’s first six Premier League games at Old Trafford they lost only twice, drawing the other four. However, the following 21 have seen a massive 16 defeats, four draws and that solitary 1-0 Cabaye scoring win in December 2013.

With Steve Bruce having returned from a bizarrely timed holiday after only two weeks played of the season, Newcastle fans now await his cunning ‘plan’ to get a result at Old Trafford.

I can’t wait…

Mark Lawrenson speaking to BBC Sport:

“Newcastle badly need a win, but Old Trafford, on the day Ronaldo makes his return, is not the time or place for them to get it.

“There is no doubt Ronaldo’s arrival has improved Manchester United.

“In terms of what he brings to the team, well, he won’t be chasing full-backs down, will he?

“It will be a case of ‘you stay up there, we will get the ball to you’.

“It is pretty basic, but why wouldn’t you do that with Ronaldo in your side, when he is so good in the air?

“If he gets the service you’d expect him to from the players behind him, he is going to score plenty – and he’ll probably be taking every penalty, free-kick and even the throw-ins and goal-kicks too.

“Prediction is Manchester United 3 Newcastle United 0.”

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