Fresh from losing to Chelsea a fortnight ago, United return from the international break to host newly promoted Newcastle United on Matchday 12
United’s struggles without Pogba culminated in a loss to Chelsea last time out. Meaning that despite Jose’s men making a flying start to the campaign, they now sit an uncomfortable eight points behind high-flying City, with Spurs and Chelsea breathing down their necks. Making the Newcastle game a must-win for the home side. However with United already losing to a promoted side this season, they cannot afford another slip up – especially with Arsenal and Pep on the horizon. Rafa Benitez’s side have returned to the EPL in commendable fashion, having recorded four victories already, while sitting pretty in eleventh – they will be no pushovers. United’s forwards showed good form on International duty, despite struggling domestically. Belgium’s all-time leading scorer (regardless of FIFA) is without a goal in four league games, and may find Newcastle an excellent opportunity to resuming hitting the back of the net for United.
Pogba (hamstring), Carrick (calf) and Zlatan (knee) have stepped up recovery but may miss out. As may Rojo, who is still working his way back to fitness after playing for the reserves on Wednesday. Jones is an injury concern, but will likely figure given his importance.
United have available for selection: D.d.Gea, Romero, J.Pereira, Lindelof, Smalling, Jones, Bailly, Tuanzebe, Valencia, Shaw, Young, Blind, Darmian, McTominay, Matic, Fellaini, Herrera, Mata, Mkhitaryan, Martial, Rashford and Lukaku.
Jose has to show ambition with his selection at home to a newly promoted side. United should line up with a back-four – with Smalling and Bailly in central defense. Jones should not be risked with bigger games ahead. Young and Valencia should resume fullback duties after spending time further ahead. Matic got a well deserved break so should be in top condition on Saturday. The Serb is likely to be joined by Fellaini in central midfield, despite recent exit rumors surrounding the Belgian. Mikki scored for Armenia. but has been poor and should be replaced by Mata – who has also flattered to deceive – behind Lukaku. Mata should also be fresher after having no international commitment. Jose is yet to pair Martial and Rashford on the flanks, and probably should in light of the pair’s performances on international duty. There’s no question of Lukaku starting, the worry is will he rediscover his scoring touch for United.
Kick off: 5.30pm (UK time) 6.30pm (Nigerian time), Saturday 18th November 2017
Stadium: Old Trafford, Manchester
United have to win this, and can count on a decent home form, against a Newcastle side likely to be without some key performers.
Manchester United 4 Newcastle 1 (United goalscorers – Lukaku, Fellaini and Martial)
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