Manchester United v Newcastle United – Premier League Betting Preview and Prediction
In this soccer betting preview, we will turn our attention to a Boxing Day fixture between Manchester United and Newcastle, who are set to lock horns this Thursday at Old Trafford, where the hosts will look to bounce back from their defeat against Magpies (0:1) back in October.
Weather: Mostly cloudy with some rain, 8°C
The referee for this match will be Kevin Friend. This will be his 13th match in charge this season, having previously refereed the Everton versus Arsenal bout, where he handed out five yellow cards. Despite his friendly last name, however, Kevin Friend does not take nonsense on the pitch lightly, having already shown 42 yellow and three red cards in 12 fixtures.
Manchester United struggling to keep a clean sheet
This Thursday, Steve Bruce will make his return to the all-too-familiar ground where he will reunite with an old friend and former teammate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with whom he has played for Man Utd during his nine-years-long stay the Red Devils.
This, however, won’t be his first meeting with Solskjaer as a manager, having previously defeated the Norwegian’s Cardiff (4:0) in 2014 while in charge of Hull and just over two months ago when Newcastle bested Man Utd at St. James Park. Being 2-0 up in their meetings as managers, Bruce will look to make it three in a row and it will be interesting to see if that will have an effect on the outcome of this match.
There are arguments to be made that just might happen, considering Man Utd are returning to their home ground after suffering a crushing 0:2 defeat against Watford at the start of the week, where they left a lot to be desired with what they have shown.
In a way that defeat overshadows their impressive run which goes back to the end of November, during which the Red Devils had not suffered a single loss. Their 4-2-1 record across all competitions suggest Man Utd have finally found their form, and while their defeat against the Hornets is nothing to brag about, we can give them the benefit of the doubt and say Watford’s win was a fluke.
That being said, we have to address the defensive issues Solskjaer has been dealing with. Since their 1:0 win over Leicester in September, Man Utd have not managed to keep a clean sheet in any of their EPL fixtures that followed, which equates to 13 games, where United conceded at least once.
On a more positive note, their offense has been blossoming. Marcus Rashford has 14 goals in the last 16 fixtures to his name across all competitions and 10 goals in EPL so far this season, making him the fifth deadliest striker in the league. But we can’t forget the offensive threat that Anthony Martial, Dan James and Mason Greenwood bring with them as well, who will be put to a test when facing the sturdy Newcastle’s defense.
Doubtful: Axel Tuanzebe, Angel Gomes
Out: Marcos Rojo, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Eric Bertrand Bailly
Newcastle counting on their solid defense
Newcastle have had their moments of greatness throughout the 2019/20 season, which earned them a respectable ninth place in the league, where they sit tied with Man United, who are ahead only due to a better goal difference.
The Magpies will enter this bout having lost only three out of their last 10 league fixtures while grabbing two stalemates and five wins along the way. Much of their success as of late was due to their solid performance in the defensive end, seeing how Newcastle conceded only twice in the last four fixtures, once against Southampton (2:1) and once against Burnley (0:1).
With that in mind, we can expect Newcastle to take advantage of their strengths, set up a more defensive strategy to keep Man Utd’s dangerous attack out, and will most likely aim for a 0:0 draw if given a chance.
As far as their attack is concerned, Newcastle have scored 18 goals in 18 games, which is by no means something they can brag about. That being said, it’s worth noting the Magpies have scored seven goals in their last five, including two goals against Manchester City (2:2), two against Sheffield United (2:0), two against Southampton (2:1) and most recently one against Crystal Palace (1:0).
The only fixture out of their last five, where Newcastle failed to score was against Burnley (0:1), where they put up nine goal attempts and no shots on goal. In their last three, Newcastle averaged 9.7 shots on goal and three shots on goal.
Doubtful: Ki Sung-Yeung, Jetro Willems, Paul Dummett
Out: Allan Saint-Maxim, Ciaran Clark, Jamaal Lascelles, Matt Ritchie
Verdict & Prediction
The last five meetings between Man Utd and Newcastle, which go back to November 2017, have seen the Red Devils claim three wins, while the remaining two bouts belonged to Newcastle. At Old Trafford, however, the hosts won three times, lost once (0:1) in 2013 and saw one stalemate in 2015 (0:0). The last two meetings in Manchester saw Man Utd win 4:1 and 3:2 respectively.
The head-to-head record does not look too promising for Newcastle, yet there is a reason for them to be optimistic heading into Boxing Day, as they can at least count on their defense to deliver as it did in recent weeks.
Winning here might be out of reach for Bruce’s men, however, we don’t expect them to push too hard for all three points and rather go for a more defensive approach and aim to claim one point.
All things considered, we don’t see this one getting too out of hand. Man Utd might have a strong attack, yet we can’t expect them to have an easy time scoring against Newcastle. As we see it, this will be a low scoring match with a high possibility of a draw. Two predictions for this match.
Prediction: Newcastle +1.50 Asian Handicap
Odds: 1.84 SBOBET
Prediction: Under 3.00 goals
Odds: 1.70 Asianodds
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