Charlie Nicholas has been looking ahead to Sunday at St James Park.
Second bottom playing tenth place mid-table mediocrity.
No doubt the Manchester United fans will still be thinking they are the ones most hard done by, what with it being all of two years since they won a trophy (Europa League in 2017) and just over five months since they played Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Charlie Nicholas describes Sunday’s game as ‘an intriguing one’ with Steve Bruce going up against the club he loves the most.
I think fans of the two clubs would have a lot of ways of describing this contest, most of them a lot more basic than that.
Newcastle are the Premier League team with the lowest number of goals, lowest number of chances created, lowest average possession, lowest number of touches in the opposition box and the very lowest when it comes to entertainment, Steve Bruce playing the most negative football possible, far worse than we saw under Rafa Benitez.
As for Manchester United, they haven’t won any away game since March, haven’t scored more than one goal in any match since the opening day of the season, haven’t won away in the Premier League for two and a half years straight after a European midweek match, then last night they were especially woeful with not a single shot on target against a poor AZ Alkmaar side in a goalless draw.
Despite all of this, Charlie Nicholas sees positives for both clubs.
The Sky Sports pundit saying ‘One week, Newcastle will surprise everybody’ and thinks Sunday could be the day, believing ‘If they hit them and are aggressive, they can shock Manchester United.’
Well Man Utd have been so poor, I don’t think it would be a shock at all to any of their fans if they did lose, indeed many of them expect it.
It would though be a shock certainly for Newcastle fans, as even against relegation rivals Watford, Norwich and Brighton, there were minimal chances created.
Charlie Nicholas predicts a 2-1 win for Newcastle and hopefully it will be proved correct.
However, difficult to see this Newcastle team scoring twice against anyone at the moment and whilst Man Utd have been rubbish this season going forward, Harry Maguire does appear to have made a difference at the back, with only two PL clubs conceding less than Manchester United.
If Newcastle are to do it then I think it would be most likely a 1-0 win, built on the usual Steve Bruce ultra-defensive tactics gifting the opposition the vast majority of possession but keeping a clean sheet, then getting a moment of luck or inspiration at the other end.
If Newcastle United do beat Man Utd this time, hopefully Steve Bruce doesn’t get as upset as he did back in 1996, supposed to be a fan of both clubs and a pundit in the Sky Sports studio, he was almost in tears when the Magpies smashed his beloved Red Devils 5-0.
As for his positivity on Man Utd, Charlie Nicholas claims ‘There is a lot of demands in place but Solskjaer has his plan for the youth and the club. His vision will take time.’
I’m not sure many Mancs are seeing much of a vision of the future at the moment, at least certainly not one that they like.
Charlie Nicholas speaking to Sky Sports:
“Steve Bruce goes up against his old team – it is an intriguing one.
“The last time Newcastle were at home, they were dreadful.
“You have to give the fans something at home, they are an amazing bunch of supporters.
“Manchester United are sitting in 10th with two wins in seven, scrambling for points at home.
“There is a lot of demands in place but Solskjaer has his plan for the youth and the club.
“His vision will take time.
“One week, Newcastle will surprise everybody, and this may be this week.
“If they hit them and are aggressive, they can shock Manchester United.
“Prediction is Newcastle United 2 Manchester United 1.”