Manchester United will be hosting Newcastle United in their third fixture of the new season of the English Premier League (EPL) at the Old Trafford on 22 August, Saturday.
United have somehow managed to win the previous two fixtures of the EPL 2015-2016 season against Tottenham Hotspur at home and against Aston Villa at Villa Park. The two victories were not as convincing as United boss Louis Van Gaal would have wanted. But the Red Devils were right on the money against Club Brugge in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League Play-Off match on Tuesday where they beat the Belgian side 3-1.
The new no.7, Memphis Depay, showed what he can do if he is offered space down the two flanks. He scored two goals and came up with one assist against Brugge on Tuesday and that helped the Red Devils to gain a two-goal cushion before their second leg. Marouane Fellaini who was serving his suspension came back in their last match against Brugge and scored from a header off Depay's cross but he will continue to serve his three-match ban (this will be his last match under suspension).
Captain Wayne Rooney's form will be a point of concern for the United manager. Defender Phil Jones will not be featuring on Saturday as he is still suffering from Thrombosis. David De Gea is likely to be looked over again. There is a chance that Bastian Schweinsteiger might feature in the first XI.
United suffered a twin blow in their transfer pursuit of Pedro Rodriguez and Nicolas Otamendi on Thursday as the former joined Chelsea and the latter signed for Manchester City. It should not affect Van Gaal's 'process' ahead of the third game of the EPL against Newcastle on Saturday.
"Last season there were that many changes, it was hard to get a good run - even though I still don't think we conceded that many goals in the second half of the season. But that togetherness and that work ethic is showing on the pitch now because we are not letting that many chances in. We must continue our good start. It is another home game and we have to assert ourselves early on. It is good that we again get to be in the first game that plays and, hopefully, set the benchmark for the weekend," United defender Chris Smalling told reporters ahead of their Saturday's clash at the Old Trafford.
On the other hand, Newcastle United are struggling already and they are yet to taste the first victory of the new EPL season. So far , they have won one and have drawn the other. They also have conceded four goals in two matches.
The Magpies will be looking for an upset at the 'Theatre of Dreams' but it will not be easy. Van Gaal will not leave any leaves unturned to continue with their winning momentum before they go into the second leg of the Champions League Qualifiers. Newcastle have also got a new manager, Steve McClaren, who is trying to figure out the right combination.
Florian Thauvin who arrived from Marseille earlier this week would be eyeing his Newcastle debut against the Red Devils and what a moment would it be for the young lad.
"I can't wait to get out there, and I'm really looking forward to it. It's great to know that Newcastle have wanted me for such a long time, and to know they wanted me so badly. It's a massive club," Thauvin told the media.
Manchester United: Romero; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw; Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger; Mata, Depay, Januzaj; Rooney.
Newcastle United: Krul, Williamson, Mbemba, Coloccini, Haidara, Anita, Colback, Taylor, Wijnaldum, Thauvin, Cisse.
Manchester United vs Newcastle United: Saturday, 22 August (12:45 pm BST, 5.15 pm IST, 7.45 am ET) at Old Trafford.
Live TV coverage in India, UK and US will be on Star Sports 4 and Star Sports HD4, BT Sport 1 and NBC Sports respectively.