Awesome win last week on the Blog with Monaco winning against Lyon despite going 1 man down.
EPL Preview: Newcastle United vs Manchester United – St James’ Park, Newcastle – February 11
Newcastle definitely look a better team this year than the one that lost six out of seven Premier League games in December. Rafael Benitez’s Magpies were unlucky not to have won against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday, thanks to a doubtful penalty decision going against them. The only fixture they have lost in 2018 was to league leaders Manchester City, but it’s the want of goals that’s making wins elusive for Newcastle. Matt Ritchie and Kenedy have been superb on the flanks but goal conversions from strikers Dwight Gayle and Ayoze Perez have left much to be desired. The loan deal with Leicester City that saw the transfer of Foxes striker Islam Slimani should address some of Newcastle’s problem upfront. Slimani, who has vowed to get goals for his new club could make his debut when the Magpies host Manchester United on Sunday, February 11 for a Premier League showdown at the St. James Park. Although his performance at Leicester was nothing to write home about, the 29-year old Algerian striker’s infusion into Newcastle’s front ranks could breathe fresh life into the attack going into the important weekend clash.
While the Magpie fans wait in anticipation for Slimani to debut, Old Trafford seems to have taken to its latest expensive acquisition quite well. Ex-Arsenal ace, Alexis Sanchez, has fit in perfectly in Jose Mourinho’s 4-3-3 formation, playing from the left and blending well with the likes of Lukaku and Mata. Sanchez was already United’s best player on view in last weekend’s game against Huddersfield Town where he opened his account with a goal. Sanchez’s entry has put another left-sided player, Anthony martial, in a spot of bother and it’s quite likely that less will be seen of the 22-year old French forward going into future games. Although comfortably placed in the 2nd spot, Jose Mourinho is not likely to experiment against the much-improved Newcastle on Sunday and stick to his recent formation. He will have a strong mid-field trio in Jesse Lingard, Matic and Anders Herrera to back his power-packed striking trio. Paul Pogba has been far below his best of late and could well be benched for the game against Newcastle. Marcus Rashford could come in for some time in place of Juan Mata.
Benitez will go in for his customary 4-4-1-1 formation and try to hit United on the breaks to unsettle a defense that seems to have come apart since the 0-2 defeat to Tottenham a week ago. Although the United backline did put up a much-improved show against Huddersfied not allowing them a single shot on goal, one must take note that the The Terriers are a team very much on the descent as their second-last spot on the EPL Table suggests. Newcastle’s attack, especially with the possible advent of Slimani, could prove to a much sterner test for the likes of Luke Shaw, Marco Rojo, Victor Lindelof and Anthony Valencia. Phil Jones who was benched for his dismal show in the Tottenham game was left out in the Huddersfield clash and looks doubtful for Sunday’s St. James Park fixture.
Newcastle who are on the borders of relegation will need a win desperately,having being stuck to the 15th to 16th slot on the table for over 2 months. But with a couple of tough away games following the one at home on Sunday, the Magpies could be overtaken by a club like Swansea City who are just a point behind and on a strong come-back trail.
Bookmakers odds point to a comfortable win for the Red Devils in February 11th’s game.
Recommended Football Tip: Man United to WIN, Best Odds 4/6 @ William Hill
New Customer Offer t&cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly 18+