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Starting XI: Manchester United vs. Newcastle United

11 talking points as Manchester United face off Newcastle United in a six-pointer clash

Manchester United Training Session Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Everything you need to know ahead of Sunday’s fixture:

(1) After a hard-fought win against Cypriot side Omonia Nicosia on Thursday in the Europa League, Premier League action returns to Old Trafford as Manchester United host Newcastle United in a six-pointer fixture. Despite the team showing positive signs under new manager Erik Ten Hag, United are improving quite slowly. A few setbacks in the attacking and defensive departments have added uncertainty to the ‘process’ the Dutch manager wants fans to ‘trust.’

(2) While the early accolade of terming Manchester United as ‘clear favourites’ for the Omonia match seemed exaggerated, they did find a way through in the last minute of added time courtesy of a late McTominay effort which found the net past Omonia goalkeeper Francis Uzoho who saved everything but faltered in the last.

(3) Erik Ten Hag on Anthony Martial’s injury:

“I can’t say in this moment, It’s too early to say something about that. We have to wait, we have to see how it progresses in the coming hours. Anthony Martial can be [fit] but we have to wait [to see] how it develops in the coming hours. If he is not available, then we have to do it with other players. We will have 20 in the squad and they have to win this game.”

(4) Erik Ten Hag provided an update on captain Harry Maguire’s injury:

“Harry Maguire will not make this, but it doesn’t take long, I think.

“[Will Harry be another couple of weeks?] No, no, no. I think that next week he will be back in the team training or over the next week.”

(5) Cristiano Ronaldo is the favourite to start on the front this Sunday and it will be another opportunity for him to establish some form before the World Cup as well as for United. Luke Shaw is expected to start over Tyrell Malacia after the Dutchman has shown skimpy form recently. Raphael Varane looks fully fit to start the game after picking up a slight injury.

(6) Newcastle United demonstrated a scintillating performance against Brentford as they put 5 goals past David Raya to move further up the table and set up a six-pointer with Manchester United. Having scored 10 goals in their last 3 matches, the Magpies are in excellent goal scoring form and will look to capitalize on United’s shaky defense this Sunday.

(7) Before demolishing Brentford, Newcastle successfully dismantled Fulham and secured a thumping 4-1 victory over the Londoners. Goals from Callum Wilson, Miguel Almiron and Sean Longstaff were enough for the Tyneside outfit to continue their upheaval under new management.

(8) Bruno Guimaraes has been hailed as a game-changer and is described as the complete midfielder by most media outlets.

(9) Eddie Howe talked about his side’s team news ahead of Manchester United and confirmed the absence of several key players like Aleksandr Isak, Jonjo Shelvey, Matt Ritchie and Emil Krafth:

“Alex is making progress. He’s not available this for this game.

“It’s slow progress for Emil. It’s a serious injury. He is back in Sweden at the moment with his family in the early stages of his rehab. Knowing Emil, he will do his work and he will be very dedicated to that, but we’re very disappointed for him because he was an important part of our squad. We’re missing him.

“(Shelvey) is getting closer. He has trained - not necessarily full training at this moment in time, but he’s very, very close and he’s doing very well.

“Matt’s picked up a calf problem. We don’t know whether he’ll be back for the World Cup break, but he’s doing well.”

(10) Eddie Howe on Bruno Guimaraes:

“I’d just say he’s done unbelievably well. The thing that has pleasantly surprised me is you never quite know your relationship with a player when you sign - you never quite know how that will gel between me and him, and him amd the squad. It is a lot of guesswork.

“But that that has been the most pleasant surprise for me - he’s fitted in so well and epitomised, really, the the team spirit and the drive that we need to be successful.

“I think the supporters have seen that and taken to him from day one, so off the pitch - absolutely brilliant. But I think on the pitch, he speaks for himself. I don’t think I have to really comment too much on his performances.”

(11) Both teams involved knows that winning this match would set them up as potential contenders for the top four spot and games like these ultimately matter at the end of the season. Newcastle United pose a serious threat to United’s substandard defence but a resurrection from the United midfield have been decisive in setting the tempo up in favor of The Reds. We are in for a cracker of a match!

Quotes are obtained from the official websites of Manchester United and Newcastle United.