Wayne Rooney and DC have playoffs in sight ahead of pivotal clash with Montreal

DC United’s upturn in form has been stunning since former England captain Wayne Rooney crossed the Atlantic to bolster their offensive ranks. The all-time leading England and Man Utd goal scorer joined a DC side sitting bottom of the Eastern Conference, with a miserable record when it came to goals, shots on target and chances created. But he has dragged them up to seventh in the standings and was instrumental once again as they drew 3-3 with conference leaders New York Red Bulls at the weekend. DC United now stand on the brink of a playoff spot and they will bid to further those claims when they take on Montreal Impact on Saturday.

Montreal are currently in sixth place, four points clear of DC United, but Rooney and co have a game in hand. Win at the weekend and they will close the gap to just one point, with a fair amount of games left in the season. The top six teams go through to the playoffs, and it would be exciting to see Rooney taking on the best in the league, so fans hope he can produce more magic.

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Check out a BetDSI review and check their odds and you will see that DC United are the favourites to pick up the win. With Rooney in the team, anything looks possible. He has five goals and seven assists in 12 starts, including the most incredible play of the season. DC United were drawing 3-3 with Orlando City and they won a corner deep into injury time, so the goalkeeper went up for it. But the ball was cleared and Orlando’s forward was in possession with an empty net gaping in front of him. However, Rooney burst back with phenomenal pace, delivered an inch perfect slide tackle, won the ball cleanly, carried it up the pitch and blazed a long ball directly onto Luciano Acosta’s head, allowing the diminutive forward to nod in the winner.

Rooney followed that up with a well-taken brace in a 4-1 victory over Portland in their following game, and he has scored in his last two matches. He is pulling the strings with aplomb, and Acosta’s performances have improved greatly since teaming up with the former Everton and Man Utd star. His arrival gave the entire team a lift, and they have not lost in four games now.

Yet Montreal Impact are also in great form, so it should prove to be a cracking game. Last time out, they travelled to fifth placed Philadelphia Union and earned a thrilling 4-1 victory courtesy of Alejandro Silva Gonzalez’s brace and further strikes from Saphir Taider and Quincy Amarikwa. That followed a 3-0 win over Red Bulls, in which former Arsenal and Man City right-back Bacary Sagna was on target. Evan Bush has arguably been the best goalkeeper in the league this season, and they too are surging with confidence.

The last meeting between these teams finished 1-1 in August, and DC United have not beaten Montreal since 2015. Yet after a testing few years there is finally optimism around this club, thanks to Rooney’s arrival and their subsequent upswing in form. If they want to finish in the top six and surge into the playoffs they need to win games like this in front of their home fans. They have the quality and the momentum to pull it off. But Montreal know that victory will leave them heavy favourites to seal the final playoff spot, so the stakes are extremely high. Both teams have been exceptional in front of goal lately, so we should be in for a high-scoring affair, full of chances and individual brilliance.

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World Cup Qualifier Preview and Prediction: England vs Malta

Competition: International Friendly – England vs. Malta 

Venue: Wembley Stadium – Saturday, October 8 – 17:00 BST (12:00 ET)

Match Odds: England 1/50 – Draw 20/1 – Malta 50/1

Match Preview

England welcome Malta to Wembley on Saturday afternoon in the second round of World Cup qualifying fixtures in Group F.

The host nation are second in the group heading into this game, behind only by goal difference. This is an opportunity for England to pick up three points and improve their goal tally in a game their are expected to win comfortably.

Since their opening win of the qualifying rounds England have parted company with Sam Allardyce for his ‘inappropriate conduct’ in a meeting with undercover reporters. England started their campaign with a late 1-0 win over Slovakia and anything but 100% after the second round of fixtures will be deemed inexcusable.

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Gareth Southgate takes interim charge of the national team for the first time since replacing Allardyce, he has been promoted from the U21 boss.

Malta were thumped 5-1 by Group F leaders Scotland in their opening game of the qualifying campaign, seeing their winless run extended to 11 games.

Pietro Ghedin faces the unenviable task of trying to frustrate teams in the group, with his side widely expected to finish bottom and be on the receiving end of many defeats by a high number of goals.

Malta are ranked 176th in the world rankings, their last win came in 2015 and they have conceded 14 goals in their last four games.

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Team News

Southgate announced Wayne Rooney would remain England captain during his time in charge. Phil Jagielka, Raheem Sterling and Glen Johnson pulled out of the squad through injury, leaving the door open for Michael Keane to earn his first cap for England. Andros Townsend replaced Sterling but Southgate isn’t expected to call in a replacement for Jagielka.

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Malta have no real ‘household name’ players in their squad. What you can expect is their starting XI to work extremely hard and ensure they earn the respect of the Wembley crowd.

Key Points

England’s last five: D/W/D/L/W

Malta’s last five: D/L/L/D/L

Key Stat: This is Gareth Southgate’s first game as head coach of England’s senior team.

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Key Player: Dele Alli – The Tottenham Hotspur star is full of enthusiasm and talent. He will be hoping to express himself on the ball in this game and make it one to remember.

Score Prediction

England 4-0 Malta – To say England are favourites is an understatement. They simply have to pick up a strong win here and ensure they keep a clean sheet. If they score a couple of early goals Malta’s confidence will be even lower than when the game kicks off, but they have to treat their opposition with respect and go about their business in a professional way.

World Cup Qualifier Preview and Prediction: Slovakia vs England

Competition: 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier – Slovakia vs. England

Venue: Stadion Antona Malatinskeho – Sunday, September 4 – 17:00 BST (12:00 ET)

Match Odds: Slovakia 3/1 – Draw 12/5 – England 1/1

Match Preview

Slovakia host England on Sunday afternoon as the qualification cycle for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia begins this weekend.

England are entering another new era as Sam Allardyce will take charge of his first international match since replacing Roy Hodgson in the summer.

These two sides faced off in their final group stage game at Euro 2016 in June, playing out a dull 0-0 draw. Slovakia are still looking to beat the Three Lions for the first time, having lost three in a row before the draw in France two months ago.

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Slovakia picked up just one win at the Euro’s and were eliminated by Germany after being thumped 3-0 in the Round of 16. They begin their qualification campaign looking to qualify for just their second World Cup, after only previously taking part in South Africa in 2010.

Slovakia have won just two of their last eight competitive internationals, so it’s no surprise they enter Sunday’s games as underdogs, with England expected to start life under ‘Big Sam’ with a win. But that’s far from guaranteed, considering the shameful 2-1 defeat to Iceland the last time these English players were together.

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A calamitous Euro 2016 campaign saw Roy Hodgson lose his job, with the defeat to Iceland one of the lowest points in English football history. A much-improved performance is needed this weekend to get the nation back onside.

Allardyce hasn’t had much of a chance to work with his players and so it will be intriguing to see how they respond to the new manager this weekend. The only England manager to not win his first game was Sir Alf Ramsey in 1963, so Big Sam knows the pressure is on.

Team News

Slovakia’s main threat remains Marek Hamsik. He is one of the most creative players in European football and manager Jan Kozak will look to get the best out of him here if Slovakia are to stand a chance. Former Liverpool centre-back Martin Skrtel will be hoping to keep England out as he did successfully at the Euro’s.

Sam Allardyce has already announced his first England starting lineup, making just three changes to the team that lost to Iceland in the Round of 16 a couple of months ago. Chris Smalling, Dele Alli and Daniel Sturridge are all dropped, with John Stones, Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana replacing that trio. Wayne Rooney will captain the side once more and will become England’s most-capped outfield player on Sunday. Joe Hart remains No.1 despite leaving Manchester City on Deadline Day.

England XI to face Slovakia: Hart, Walker, Cahill, Stones, Rose, Dier, Henderson, Lallana, Rooney, Sterling, Kane.

Key Points

Slovakia’s last five: D/L/W/D/L

England’s last five: W/D/W/D/L

Key Stat: England have not lost a World Cup Qualifier since October 2009. That is the Three Lions’ only defeat in their last 22 WC qualification outings.

Key Player: Wayne Rooney – There are many who feel the Manchester United man needs to now be taken out of the international picture, but Allardyce has kept him as captain and Rooney will become the outright leader for appearances made by an outfield player on Sunday. He is currently tied with David Beckham on 115 caps. A good start to life under the new manager is vital for Rooney if he is to remain a key player for England.

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Score Prediction

Slovakia 0-2 England – A horrendous end to Euro 2016 may still be in the minds of these players and fans alike, but the chance for a fresh start under Allardyce should see the England players lifted for the trip to Slovakia this weekend. The Slovakians haven’t been in great form in 2016 and will likely be penned in for the majority of the game. They defended valiantly against the Three Lions in the summer but are unlikely to be able to equal that. England to win, though it might not be a walk in the park.

MLS has ‘significant money’ available in chase for United star

There is no hiding the fact that a number of Major League Soccer franchises have the ability to tempt world-class players into a move to the US. The latest name to be linked with a high-profile move is Wayne Rooney.

Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson has stated clubs in MLS have been monitoring Rooney’s situation at Manchester United with a view to bettering offers from China, the Daily Mirror reports.

Rooney’s current contract at United ends in 2019 and he has previously spoken of the possibility of a move to MLS at the end of his playing days in Manchester.

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Paulson feels Rooney still has a lot to offer but that a move would be tempting for the United captain. “I would argue he still has some good soccer ahead of him. I think he would be a great signing for MLS.”

The Timbers’ owner is excited at the prospect of another high-profile player coming at an earlier stage of their career. “Keeping in mind that he is a very talented footballer, who has quality soccer ahead of him, you are not talking about a 34 or 35 year old.

“I get excited about the impact he would have in the MLS more than a guy who is coming in later in his career.”

There is evidently the funding available to attract some of the biggest names in world football. Paulson revealed that Orlando City are one of the latest clubs to have been in talks for high value deals.

“MLS is offering significant money. There were conversations with some guys who are as big a name as Rooney recently. Orlando City had some high profile discussions with some players, guys in his age range. There are some big-dollar numbers that have been put out.”

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China has been attracting some big names to the Chinese Super League in the last year but Paulson feels MLS has more to offer and that it is still a more favourable move for any potential signing.

“I think America compares really favourably. I wouldn’t want to play soccer in Beijing right now. I am not saying that because I don’t like China but the air quality issue is something they have to deal with in a sport which requires fitness.

“Players need to determine where they want to play and what is going to be best for their legacy and lifestyle, where they want to live.”

Rooney has had a good start to the season under new boss Jose Mourinho and a move away looks unlikely at this stage.

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Would a move to MLS suit Rooney? What club should he join if he decides to make a move stateside?

What does signing Paul Pogba actually mean for Manchester United?

The summer-long transfer saga regarding Paul Pogba was finally and perhaps unsurprisingly put to rest today as the Frenchman completed his £89 million return to Manchester United. But what does his arrival actually mean for the club? Lewis Addley explores…

In a summer market of crazy transfer fees, Paul Pogba has become the world’s most expensive player at £89 million, how long that fee will remain the highest remains to be seen. Pundits and fans alike have cast their opinion on just about every talking point regarding the 23-year-old Frenchman, from topics such as how Pogba is or isn’t worth the money to whether Manchester United actually need him.

So let’s have a look at what Pogba’s sensational return to United actually means for the club in terms of how Jose Mourinho will be able to get the best out of the highly-rated Frenchman and the impact his arrival could have on their current midfielders.

Where exactly can we expect Pogba to play?

Pogba netted eight goals last season for Juventus in Serie A from a central midfield role and in the modern game he plays a somewhat old-fashioned style. Pogba doesn’t tend to be deployed as an attacking midfielder, despite the fact that he can be a sensational finisher from inside and outside the box. He dictates the play, evident from the fact that his passing statistics are far more impressive than his shooting statistics. Pogba managed an average of 83% passing accuracy compared to 37% shot accuracy in Serie A last season.

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Jose Mourinho is widely expected to play his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation on the opening weekend of the Premier League season. We can expect the new signings to feature from the off, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic set to lead the line. Behind him, Anthony Martial should start on the left, captain Wayne Rooney in behind in his preferred number ten role with Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the right to form a frightening trio of attacking support. With those front four slots occupied, it is clear Pogba is likely to be used in an anchoring role, deep through the centre of the park, most likely alongside Morgan Schneiderlin.

Will midfielders be leaving now Pogba has joined?

As everyone was still waiting for Pogba to be announced, Mourinho made it very clear that he was looking to bring in one more ‘high-quality player’ and have his business done before the opening weekend of the season. With that in mind it doesn’t look like the United boss is looking to offload any other players than those who have already been reported.

Juan Mata’s torrid relationship with Mourinho came into question once again after he was substituted just 27 minutes after coming on in Sunday’s Community Shield final win over Leicester City. Despite Mourinho giving what some may accept as an appropriate reason for Mata being replaced, it has only increased speculation on the Spaniard’s future at the club.

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The future of Bastian Schweinsteiger remains up in the air. It has been made apparent that the German is surplus to requirements and he looks set to be on his way out from the club just one season after joining.

It looks likely that Mourinho has Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini in his plans, but just how much playing time the three midfielders will amass is unclear.

The remaining midfielders in question will not be expected to challenge for a holding role at the club as they are either wingers or upcoming youth talent. One worth mentioning is Daley Blind, the dutchman can play in the holding role but he has predominantly featured at the back for United.

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There is no doubt the arrival of Pogba will be a boost for the United camp and some of his teammates have already taken to social media to show their excitement of his return. It is clear he has already made a huge impact in terms of talking points but now it is time for him to step up and deliver, to show any doubters that £89 million is a worthwhile fee for his services.

Is Pogba worth £89 million and are United right to have resigned the Frenchman?

Would this £50m striker answer Manchester United’s goalscoring problems?

Manchester United‘s goalscoring problems have been well documented by pundits and fans alike throughout this season. The summer transfer window is fast approaching and there have already been plenty of players linked to United.

According to Tuttosport.com, Alvaro Morata is a striker Manchester United are looking into. Any sale of the 23-year-old Spaniard would not come through Juventus directly. Tuttosport highlight United would be prepared to offer a figure around £50 million for the forward.

Morata has a buy-back clause of £24 million from his former club Real Madrid, who could well be tempted into resigning their former man to sell on to potential suitors for profit.

If United are interested in signing Morata as the reports state, Madrid would potentially stand to make a whopping £26 million if they were to exercise their right to buy him back from Juventus.

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But is he the right man to lead Manchester United’s frontline? Lets have a look at his statistics.

Morata vs United forward

Morata 2015/16 league stats compared to Martial, Rooney and Rashford

As we can see, Morata made the most appearances in his domestic league compared to the three United strikers in question above. However, the only area he outperformed any of them was in assists.

Anthony Martial scored the most of the strikers compared with 11 goals coming in three less appearances than the Juve man. Marcus Rashford had the highest shot accuracy, though this is unsurprising given his substantially lower amount of games played. Wayne Rooney had the highest pass accuracy and created more chances than the other three strikers listed.

Manchester United’s Martial had the highest direct involvement with goals for his side, combining with his assists to tally at 15. Morata and Rooney came in joint second, with 14 each and Rashford had the lowest output with seven.

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It is worth mentioning that these comparisons are only an indication of the output all four of the strikers in question, though it is difficult to make an exact comparison given the differing number of appearances.

With the stats presented in mind it would be hard to make a case for United to spend anywhere near £50 million on the Juventus forward and there would more than likely be a number of other candidates whose comparable statistics would provide a better option for the club this summer.

Morata’s strike rate is one goal in every 4.85 games, which in comparison to Rooney – who has had his fair share of critics this season despite an injury-stricken campaign – is worse, as the United captain has averaged a goal in every 3.5 games.

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Martial and Rashford have had far less criticism than Rooney and their statistics better both Rooney and Morata’s. Martial is averaging a goal every 2.8 games, while Rashford’s output is one in every 2.2 outings.

It is clear from the United strikers in question that the squad needs an out-and-out goalscorer in this window. This would take some of the pressure off of the young shoulders of Martial and Rashford but would also give them another quality teammate to learn from.

Given these statistics Morata doesn’t look the right option for United, but as we all know, stats don’t tell the full story in football.

Would Manchester United be wrong to make a move for Morata? Who should they be going after in the summer transfer window?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: West Ham vs Manchester United

Competition: Premier League – West Ham United vs. Manchester United

Venue: Boleyn Ground – Tuesday, May 10 – 19:45 BST (14:45 ET)

Match Odds: West Ham 21/10 – Draw 23/10 – Man Utd 13/10

Match Preview

West Ham host Manchester United at the Boleyn Ground for the final time on Tuesday night in what is sure to be a special night for the East London club. But sentiment cannot get in the way too much with both clubs fighting for European football in their penultimate game of the season.

The Hammers will want nothing more than to win in their final game at their famous old stadium before moving over to the Olympic Stadium in time for next term. A special atmosphere is expected with the home fans set for an emotional evening.

But there is still an important match to be played. West Ham fell 4-1 at home to Swansea on Saturday, ending a ten-game unbeaten run in the league and dropped down to seventh in the table as a result.

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They know a top six place will guarantee European football next term and that is something they will be desperate to achieve after a successful campaign. Three points on Tuesday would move them back into sixth ahead of their final day trip to Stoke.

But Manchester United will arrive at the Boleyn Ground desperate for all three points themselves. Louis Van Gaal’s side are two points off Manchester City in the final Champions League spot and know this game in hand is crucial.

A win would move the Red Devils into fourth ahead of the final day, on which they host Bournemouth while City travel to Swansea.

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United are unbeaten in four in the league and have won three of those games, conceding just one goal in that time. A strong finish to the season had boosted morale and they will be out to spoil the Hammers’ party here.

History favours United in this fixture, with the Red Devils unbeaten in 14 league outings against West Ham (W11 D3).

The Hammers have not beaten United at the Boleyn Ground since 2007 but Tuesday night would be a magical time to end that record as far as the home support is concerned.

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Team News

West Ham have just the one injury concern ahead of this special game. First-choice goalkeeper Adrian will miss the rest of the season and so Darren Randolph will keep his place between the sticks. Andy Carroll is expected to lead the attack once again.

Manchester United will hope Anthony Martial can shake off a hamstring problem in time for this one. He miss Saturday’s game with Norwich and is a huge doubt. Matteo Darmian picked up an ankle injury in that game and won’t feature, while Bastian Schweinsteiger and Will Keane also remain out. Marouane Fellaini is suspended, while Luke Shaw and Phil Jones are not yet match fit. Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Daley Blind will expect to return to the starting lineup.

Key Points

West Ham’s last five: D/D/W/W/L

Manchester United’s last five: L/W/W/D/W

Key Stat: This will be West Ham’s 384th and final Premier League match at the Boleyn Ground. They will take their overall points haul from the stadium to 601 with a victory here (W167 D97 L119).

Key Player: Wayne Rooney – It will be a special night for the entire West Ham team but also for Manchester United captain Rooney. He has scored more goals against the Hammers than any other United player (12 in 17 matches) and has netted seven of those at the Boleyn Ground – the stadium in which he happened to make his England debut as a 17-year-old in 2003. He will be out to spoil the West Ham party on Tuesday evening.

Score Prediction

West Ham 2-2 Manchester United – This should be a special night of Premier League football for so many reasons. Both need three points from Tuesday’s game and so an exciting and attacking match is expected. Both sides will be confident of finding the net but it seems impossible to split them. The only top half side to have beaten West Ham at home this season is Leicester, while United have only won one of five trips to London so far. A loss would be a major blow for either and with so much to play for, a rather unhelpful score draw seems likely.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Norwich City vs Manchester United

Competition: Premier League – Norwich City vs. Manchester United

Venue: Carrow Road – Saturday, May 7 – 12:45 GMT (07:45 ET)

Match Odds: Norwich City 16/5 – Draw 13/5 – Manchester United 17/20

Match Preview

Norwich City welcome Manchester United to Carrow Road in a tie which could have a huge impact on the fight for survival and battle to finish in the top four.

Norwich sit 19th in the Premier League and trail 17th place by two points. They have a game in hand coming up in midweek so cannot be relegated this weekend but defeat could make things incredibly hard to avoid the drop.

They come into this tie off the back of their 1-0 away loss to Arsenal, a game they would have been bitterly disappointed to have not taken at least a point from.

Norwich have a huge week ahead. Just two wins in 15 make relegation look likely for The Canaries but their fate remains in their own hands.

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Manchester United are clinging on to their hopes of making the top four. They come into this tie off the back of their 1-1 draw with Leicester.

United trail 4th spot by four points but they do have a game in hand which they also play in the coming week.

Manchester United fans will be praying for a favourable result on Sunday in the clash between Arsenal and City. If results go their way they could move into the top four with two wins in their next two games.

This is a huge week for Louis Van Gaal’s side and it is time for their key players to step up to the challenge. They must ensure they win all their remaining games to give them the best chance of finishing in the top four.

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Team News

Norwich City have four injury concerns heading into this tie. Timm Klose, Alexander Tettey and Andre Wisdom are all expected to miss out, while Rhys Bennett is a doubt.

Manchester United could be without up to five for this clash. Luke Shaw continues his recovery from his broken leg, while Bastian Schweinsteiger, Will Keane and Adnan Januzaj all look unlikely to feature. Marouane Fellaini is suspended.

Key Points

Norwich City’s last five: W/W/L/L/L

Manchester United’s last five: W/L/W/W/D

Key Stat: Norwich City have lost their last three Premier League outings.

Key Player: Wayne Rooney – This has been one of Rooney’s quietest seasons in his career, although he has suffered an injury stricken campaign his performances have been below his high standards. Now is the time for him to show his ability as a leader and give United a fighting chance of making the top four.

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Score Prediction

Norwich City 1-2 Manchester United – A win for Manchester United here wouldn’t be a huge surprise considering Norwich’s form of late. Both sides will be nervy and we can expect a cagey game as the stakes are so high. United know they have to win to keep the pressure on in their chase for Champions League football. They have the squad power to win this one.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Sunderland vs Manchester United

Competition: Premier League – Sunderland vs. Manchester United 

Venue: Stadium of Light – Saturday, February 13 – 12:45 GMT (07:45 ET)

Match Odds: Sunderland 4/1 – Draw 5/2 – Manchester United 3/4

Match Preview

Sunderland host Manchester United in the Saturday afternoon Premier League kickoff this weekend in a hugely important game for both sides, for opposite reasons.

Sunderland are still four points off safety and come into the game in 19th place. However, Sam Allardyce is still yet to be relegated as a manager and so they have that good omen onside with their survival hopes.

If they are to stay up they will need two major factors to go their way. They need to stop conceding so many goals, as they have the worst defence in the league. And Jermaine Defoe needs to score the goals to keep them up as he is their most lethal attacker.

Sunderland’s Premier League record: P25 – W5 – D5 – L15

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Defoe’s late goal at Anfield last week earned Sunderland a point but they need more than that in upcoming games with just 13 fixtures to play.

Manchester United are at a crisis themselves. Simply put, Louis Van Gaal has to make the top four if he has any hope of keeping his job past the summer.

They are struggling to gain enough form to challenge the current top four and they are still six points off their goal, and more worryingly 12 points off the top.

Manchester United’s Premier League record: P25 – W11 – D8 – L6

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As it stands, United are desperate for huge results and missing out on the win against Chelsea in the dying minutes last weekend could well prove crucial come the end of the season.

The reverse fixture ended 3-0 to United at Old Trafford back in September but that seems a long time ago now and this game should be a lot tighter.

Team News

Sunderland may be without Jermaine Defoe, Fabio Borini and Billy Jones who all have minor niggles. Younes Kaboul, Duncan Watmore, Jermaine Lens, Adam Matthews and Sebastien Larsson are all out. Adam Johnson has been sacked by the club.

Manchester United will be without Ashley Young, Adnan Januzaj, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Marcos Rojo, Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw through injury.

Key Points

Sunderland’s last five: W/L/D/L/D

Manchester United’s last five: D/W/L/W/D

Key Stat: Sunderland haven’t won at home in the Premier League to Manchester United since March 1997.

Key Player: Wayne Rooney – The England captain is under immense pressure due to the form of Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy and his Euro 2016 starting berth is not guaranteed. He is still a huge factor in the United attack and has found his goalscoring form again lately. Expect him to be a threat from the outset.

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Score Prediction

Sunderland 0-2 Manchester United – Manchester United have regained their attacking spark recently and were minutes away from three vital points at Stamford Bridge a week ago. Sunderland need points just as much but will find it difficult to open a United defence which is fortified by the magnificent David De Gea.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Newcastle vs Manchester United

Competition: Premier League – Newcastle United vs. Manchester United

Venue: St. James’ Park – Tuesday, January 12 – 19:45 GMT (14:45 ET) 

Match Odds: Newcastle 7/2 – Draw 5/2 – Man United 5/6

Match Preview

Newcastle host Manchester United in a key Premier League clash on Tuesday night, with both sides desperate for three points.

Newcastle lost their fourth straight game by a 1-0 scoreline in their FA Cup defeat at Watford on Saturday and have now scored just seven in their past eleven league games.

Steve McClaren remains under pressure with the Magpies still stuck in the relegation zone. A win here would pull them out of the bottom three for 24 hours at least, but that looks unlikely given their recent run of defeats.

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United travel to St. James’ Park as favourites and despite winning back-to-back games, they remain under pressure as performances continue to disappoint.

Louis Van Gaal watched his side struggle to beat Sheffield United in the FA Cup on Saturday, requiring a stoppage time Wayne Rooney penalty to advance, and the Dutch coach is under just as much pressure as McClaren.

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The reverse fixture ended 0-0 at Old Trafford back in August and the same scoreline could well be played out in Newcastle on Tuesday, with both struggling to find the net.

Team News

Newcastle head coach Steve McClaren could be without as many as 11 players for the visit of United here. Jack Colback and Vurnon Anita will hope to recover from knocks to give the Magpies some options in midfield, while Rolando Aarons and Fabricio Coloccini are both also doubtful. Papiss Cisse, Curtis Good, Massadio Haidara, Tim Krul, Gabriel Obertan, Steven Taylor and Mike Williamson all remain out.

Manchester United will hope Morgan Schneiderlin can return here. He is a doubt for this clash, as are Ashley Young and Phil Jones. But Bastian Schweinsteiger, Nick Powell, Marcos Rojo, Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw all remain sidelined.

Key Points

Newcastle’s last five: W/D/L/L/L

Manchester United’s last five: L/L/L/D/W

Key Stat: Manchester United have only lost two of their last 28 games against Newcastle in all competitions.

Key Player: Wayne Rooney – The United captain has scored in back-to-back games for the first time this season and will look to pile more misery on Newcastle here.

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Score Prediction

Newcastle 0-0 Manchester United – With both sides struggling to take chances and goals at a premium for both, this looks likely to end goalless, just as the reverse fixture did back in August.