Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to make his second debut after completing a sensational return to the club. Expect chants of ‘VIVA RONALDO!’ to echo all over. All eyes will be on Ronaldo as he aims to dismantle a winless Newcastle side. However, the Red Devils have to focus on the bigger objective at large & get a formidable win to continue their surge in the title race.
Manchester United Likely XI
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw, Matic, Pogba, Greenwood, Bruno, Sancho, Ronaldo
Jadon Sancho should be fine for this one after suffering a slight knock in England training. Marcus Rashford & Alex Telles remain the only injury absentees for the Red Devils. Fred is unavailable.
Newcastle United Likely XI
Woodman, Clark, Lascelles, Schar, Murphy, Willock, Longstaff, Almiron, Ritchie, Saint-Maximin, Wilson
Newcastle have an injury crisis going on, with the likes of Martin Dubravka, Karl Darlow, Elliott Anderson, Ryan Fraser & Jonjo Shelvey all expected to miss the game.
Manchester United vs Newcastle United Preview
It was 12 years ago that Cristiano Ronaldo made his final appearance for United. Fans have since longed for him to return and will finally be able to witness him in a Red Devils shirt against Newcastle.
Ronaldo returns as one of the greatest players of all time & a certified winner. He’ll want to start the ground running strongly. Cristiano is likely to operate as a centre-forward & demand a lot of service in the penalty area.
Knowing just how ruthless of a finisher he is, CR7 won’t need many chances to score. With his excellent heading ability, clutch finishing & winning mentality, he’ll definitely add a new layer of danger to the Red Devils’ attack.
Ronaldo’s national teammate Bruno Fernandes should be tasked to create more chances now. That probably means cooling down on his experimentative passes & producing more accurate delivery into the penalty area. Fernandes, however, won’t be held back from his free role &should still make his clever off-the-ball movement to sniff out goals.
Paul Pogba is in hot form for the Red Devils and should soon create a nice partnership with Ronaldo. Knowing just how good Pogba’s crosses, long-balls & through passes are, Cristiano should notch them up with delight. The Frenchman just has to be more disciplined in midfield against Newcastle & take more time in picking out those perfect goal-creating passes.
Jadon Sancho might’ve had a shaky start to his United career, but a sparky winger like him would love to play with Cristiano. Sancho just has to be more decisive in the final third for United & look to pick out accurate crosses into the box – which should be latched onto by his clinical new partner.
Mason Greenwood has scored in his last 3 Premier League games. While Ronaldo’s arrival means he’ll probably be moved out wide again, Greenwood proved he’s still clinical from a wider role with his goal against Wolves. As long as able to find space to shoot inside the box, Greenwood should cause huge problems for Newcastle & continue his scoring spree.
Nemanja Matic probably won’t be given any creative duties, but has to improve defensively. He has to shield his backlien strongly and get the ball forward swiftly to help his attackers. Not only the wingers, but United’s full-backs must step up their game to match the high levels of Ronaldo. That means both Aaron Wan-Bissaka & Luke Shaw have to improve their crosses. Shaw, to his credit, has been consistently impressive with his attacking displays over the last year.
His inviting crosses should finally be converted & as long as able to deliver pin-point crosses against Newcastle, he could be rewarded with an assist or two. Wan-Bissaka, however, really has to improve his attacking game. He’s being more adventurous bombing forward these days, but must produce better crosses to compliment his attackers.
While United will look to ‘attack, attack & attack’ in this game to rock up Old Trafford, they can’t take Newcastle for granted. Steve Bruce’s side is going through a rough patch, but still have enough quality to ruin their celebration.
The tricky Allan Saint-Maximin can torment United’s defenders with his speedy, mazy forward runs & ruthlessness in front of goal. Callum Wilson’s a clinical goal-scorer who can even convert half-chances if given the opportunity.
Miguel Almiron’s creative passes can fool many defenders, while Joe Willock’s barging runs & Matt Ritchie’s crosses add more attacking threat for the Magpies.
Raphael Varane is about to make his Old Trafford debut & looks to keep another clean sheet. While his partnership with Harry Maguire isn’t the best yet, they’ll look to make good use of their composure & leadership skills to ensure United’s backline shuts down Newcastle’s attacks.
Millions of eyes will be on Ronaldo in this one. The Red Devils have to perform like one well-oiled machine to get a dominant win & maintain the pressure on their opponents in the PL title race.
Can’t really see Ronaldo’s homecoming going wrong against a struggling Newcastle side. I’ll go with a 3-1 win for the Red Devils.