Man Utd at home then. The chances of either this game being played or us going to watch it have looked slim, but here we are. It’s on Sky so no way it’s off.

I’ve got to say I’m a bit worried about this game. Not jumping up in the middle of the night worried, but worried.

This game certainly gives us our best chance of winning out of the three games we have previously played, but that’s not saying much. Liverpool and Manchester City are on that much of a different level that, of course, in theory, a team who had the worse autumn in living memory would be a good chance of us winning. BUT people seem to be hanging their hat on this one. That we will cut through these like a knife through butter and get our season going (at least in my circle of people anyway). I just look at the individuals these have and, alright, they have went from the sublime to the (mostly) ridiculous for most of the season, but we still will have to play and defend like we haven’t done for a long time now to get anything on Monday night.

That’s not to say we can’t win but the over optimism about this game has me very wary.

This game and the Everton game are not only vital for our survival chances but our chances of securing a certain type of player. Beat these and any player in the world might take a punt if the money is right.

We go into January with another two defeats and we will have a serious recruitment issue.

As ever, Callum Wilson is vital for us and although lately the strain of being our great hope looks to have shown, he will be the difference for us given any chances or help.

We must not shoot ourselves in the foot..

We must not shoot ourselves in the foot..

We must not shoot ourselves in the foot.

You get the picture.

Enjoy!

 Scott Robson

The fixture computer is the grinch

So the last two games have shown us just how far we are from being a top team in this league. This game will probably show us how far we are from being a top eight team in it too. We could really have done with Ole sticking around a bit longer as they could be brilliant or ridiculous in those games. They also happen to have one of the best players of the last decade in attack. He’s less of the force than he was, but he’s far too good for us.

Routes to success would be helped by picking our best available side. I don’t know what Ciaran Clark does in training but he doesn’t inspire confidence in me, his fellow defenders or in fact anyone except the opposition. Hayden’s suspension gives someone else a chance but, in all honesty, our midfield is so pedestrian anyway that McFred could play together and still show more attacking intent. In attack it will be interesting to see what we do. Callum Wilson needs to avoid a booking here and at Everton on Thursday night, otherwise we are back scrabbling around for makeshift numbers.

They will press higher than normal probably, as they know our defence isn’t great on the ball. This would be a good game then to stop that ridiculous Lascelles in the box for a goal kick. He can’t do it, let’s not make it easier for opponents. I’d play 4-4-2, and 4-5-1 without the ball. Joelinton in behind Wilson for me, give the middle of their defence something to be concerned about. If ASM is prepared to graft then have him on the left and Fraser on the right. The midfield two could literally be anyone; it will make no difference to our game. If it’s Shelvey you need someone with legs who can tackle, but he’s suspended so…

In reality I think this will be a canter for the opposition, the league is getting close to a situation where Burnley might have to play four games in a week to make it fair.

Prediction: 3-0 Man Utd.

Please let’s time hop to Everton.

STEPHEN ORD

Let’s not get trashed again please

Whatever way you look at it, Newcastle United is in terrible form at the moment. We’ve just been thrashed by Leicester City and Manchester City. Liverpool beat us, but that could have gone either way, if the ref had actually clocked in that night. Still, our goal difference for the last three matches is 1-11.  So let’s just not get another trashing please. We can’t take any more beatings. We just need to get to January still with a chance to stay up. That will still be there come January, even if we get hammered in Manchester and then in Liverpool on the 30th, but it will be even harder with a squad completely lacking in confidence. That’s why we just need to see something from this match. We need something to cheer us up, something to be encouraged by.

We know there is some talent in this squad. We know there is a team in there somewhere. Eddie knows this as well. He knows he needs to figure out his best eleven, and to get the best out of the likes of Joe Willock and Alain Saint-Maximin. And if he does get them going, this lot can get a result from most teams in this division.

No doubt there is quality in this Manchester United team as well. Only problem is they’ve recruited so badly for many years. There does not seem to be much of a plan when they pick up players, as seen with Ronaldo, Sancho and Van der Beek. We would sell parts of our inner organs to have these players in our team, yet these don’t look like the players we know they can be. As for the organs, we probably won’t have to, given the size of the PIF’s moneybag. No doubt we would have wanted to face Ole Gunnar Solskjærs team, and not Ralf Rangnicks. Still, this team has its flaws, and they can be gotten to, as several teams have shown this season. Even if that was under the norwegian.

We just want to see the effort be rewarded, we just need a little Christmas present.

Hope and prediction: 1-1 please

Danger man: Bruno Fernandes

Magnus Møller @localhero85 

Rinse and repeat

Even chock full of Christmas cheer it is hard for me to see past a Man Utd win.

Eddie Howe has already substantially improved a side that hadn’t had a proper sense of purpose since Steve Bruce arrived. We now have a much more solid shape and a genuine plan of what to do both with and without the ball.

However, Howe is working with some players who are neither good enough for this division, nor do they have the stomach for the fight. Watching Lascelles and Clark turn their backs on a shot after failing to close it down made me howl with rage. It could be Pep Guardiola in the dug-out, but even he could not legislate for that level of lily-livered lassitude.

Man Utd have their own problems at the back and we have the firepower to hurt them, but their own big guns dwarf ours. They have perhaps the best array of attacking talent in the league – and in Ralf Rangnick they have a manager who can return it to its ruthless best.

The reality is that this game has probably come a couple of weeks too early for Howe and his anticipated January reinfcements. Therefore I expect a re-run of recent matches, peppered with increased fan participation as we sing a special song for Ronaldo. We’ll play some decent stuff in spells, and largely defend well, but be let down by catastrophic individual errors. Rinse and repeat.

Prediction: 1-3

Danger Man: any of half a dozen. Hopefully not Ronaldo

Dan Jenkins @PlumsGinger

 

It doesn’t feel like we’re about to turn the corner.  Man Utd roll into town having not played in over a fortnight, with interim boss Ralf Rangnick having confirmed that they have virtually no injuries or illnesses within the squad.  Eddie’s Mags, by contrast, are running on empty.  With Lewis and Fernandez out, and Manquillo and Krafth still not definitely clear of illness, we’ll be relying on the likes of Clark, Ritchie and Lascelles to keep Ronaldo, Fernandes, Rashford, Cavani et al, at bay.  The absence of Hayden due to suspension is also a big miss: despite his obvious limitations on the ball, our midfield looks powder-puff without him there to put a foot in.  I don’t fancy us to get anything: the league’s leakiest defence (complete with injuries), without a recognisable holding midfielder, coming up against a wealth of attacking talent.  Man Utd have a seriously impressive squad: although Solskjaer had no idea how to use it, whoever they pick will be licking their lips at the prospect of coming up against us.  In terms of specific tactics, it’s hard to know how to set up for this one: Rangnick’s still pretty new, doesn’t yet know his best side, and it’s anyone’s guess how Man Utd will line up.  We pretty much have to just pick whoever is available, have to hope that we avoid defensive calamities, and get a bit of luck at the other end, or some magic from ASM – who has been off the boil for ages.  The prospects don’t look great.

Nonetheless, it should be a special occasion.  A lot of Newcastle fans live and work away from the North East, as well as overseas.  At Christmas, these exiles come home, are welcomed back like the prodigal sons and daughters they are, and exercise their birth-right by going to watch the team that will always be theirs, wherever they may be for the rest of the year.  Last year it didn’t happen.  There will be plenty meeting up in town tomorrow who have not seen each other for a long time.

I’d like to think we’ll get a result befitting of the occasion.  My heart says we will.  My head says otherwise.

Prediction: 0-2

Danger Man: Bruno Fernandes

YOUSEF HATEM

All eyes are cast to St James Park on Monday Evening as the Magpies host Manchester United as they return to Premier League action following an outbreak of Covid-19 cases within the Manchester squad.

Whilst Eddie Howe’s boys have yet to be affected with the horrible virus, they are in a battle to avoid a fourth straight defeat. Festive joy will be at a minimum around St James Park as their defence has gifted eleven goals in just three games to their opposition there for making their survival task harder by the week despite starting the month in promising fashion with the win at home to Burnley. Whilst a total of forty-one goals conceded is the worst record so far in the 2021-22 campaign, Newcastle could find themselves with a new unwanted record as they have already been breached seventy-nine times so far in the calendar year.

The Red Devils are unbeaten in their last six games in all competitions and have scored in all of their away matches so far this campaign. They have not played a competitive game since 11th December thanks to being disrupted by the huge surge in virus cases.

When it comes to previous encounters between the two teams, Manchester United have won the last four of them scoring at least three goals on each occasion. The one positive in this for the Magpies fans is that the visiting side have yet to keep a clean sheet against Newcastle since January 2019.

Newcastle United Team News: Isaac Hayden will sit out this game through suspension after he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Manchester City.Jonjo Shelvey is an injury doubt so Sean Longstaff could return to the starting eleven. Federico Fernandez and Jamal Lewis are on the injury list as they suffer from thigh issues and Paul Dummetthas just returned to training so he is a long way from full fitness.

Manchester United Team News:Ralf Rangnickhas hinted that he has a fully fit squad to choose from for this fixture minus Paul Pogba who is still recovering. Raphael Varane, Anthony Martial and Edison Cavani will all be in contention for the visit to St James Park. Varane could return to the lineup in place of Harry Maguire if he is fit enough.

Sutty’s Match Prediction: Whilst facing multiple members of the “Big Six” was always going to be a tough ask for Newcastle, it does get them out of the way and the team can look to other fixtures to see where they can pick points up. It is going to be a tough ask for the Magpies to beat The Red Devils despite being spurred on by a capacity crowd. The supporter inside of me is saying a win for the Magpies but I just cannot see it happening with our shambolic defence and expect Man United to run rings around them. My Fantasy Score Prediction: Newcastle United 3 Manchester United 1.

 @jsuttonwrites