We look ahead to Saturday’s late kick-off at St James’ Park with our Newcastle vs Manchester United prediction and preview. Following their midweek UEFA Champions League draws, can either of these top-four contenders bounce back in the Premier League?
Newcastle vs Manchester United Stats: The Quick Hits
- The Opta supercomputer has this as the most difficult Premier League game to call on Matchday 14. Newcastle have a 36.5% chance of victory to Manchester United’s 34.4%.
- Man Utd have won their last three Premier League games by an aggregate score of 5-0. The Red Devils have not won four in a row without conceding since August 2017.
- Newcastle’s Anthony Gordon has been involved in six goals in his last seven Premier League appearances (four goals, two assists), as many as in his previous 45 (five goals, one assist).
With the UEFA Champions League hopes of Newcastle United and Manchester United hanging by a thread following midweek draws, both sides will be desperate to boost their chances of qualifying for the next edition of that competition. They enter Matchday 14 five and four points adrift of the Premier League’s top four respectively, but who – if anyone – will come out on top when they meet at St James’ Park on Saturday?
The Red Devils’ European struggles continued on Wednesday as they squandered 2-0 and 3-1 leads in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Galatasaray. Alejandro Garnacho, Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay were on target in Istanbul, but André Onana was caught out by two Hakim Ziyech free-kicks before Kerem Aktürkoglu equalised.
The Opta supercomputer now gives United just a 6.1% chance of advancing from Group A, with a leaky defence costing them. They have conceded 14 times in the Champions League this term – their most in any single group-stage campaign – while their 33 goals shipped across all competitions is their most after 20 games of a season since 1962-63 (43).
Things have been different in the Premier League, however. United have won five of their last six league games, with the last three – victories over Fulham, Luton Town and Everton – coming by a 5-0 aggregate scoreline. They last won four in a row without conceding in August 2017, while the last time they did so within a single season was under Sir Alex Ferguson in March 2013 (a run of six).
Garnacho set the tone for Erik ten Hag’s men against Everton with a stunning overhead-kick, before Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial joined him on the scoresheet after the Toffees missed several chances to level. Rashford will likely return to United’s lineup after serving a one-match European ban in the week, though the fit-again Rasmus Højlund could nudge Martial out of the side.
While Højlund has five goals in as many appearances for United in the Champions League, he is still waiting on his first Premier League goal, failing to net from 14 shots totalling 2.47 expected goals (xG) in nine English top-flight outings. No United player averages more non-penalty xG per 90 in the competition this season than Højlund’s 0.34, but five team-mates – including defensive midfielder Casemiro – have bettered his 1.94 non-penalty shots per 90.
Behind the Dane, Ten Hag continues to face a midfield selection crisis, with Casemiro, Christian Eriksen and Mason Mount all out. Sofyan Amrabat started in Istanbul, but 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo – who impressed on his first Premier League start last Sunday – could return. Lisandro Martínez, Jonny Evans, Amad Diallo and Tyrell Malacia also remain absent, while Jadon Sancho’s exile shows no sign of ending.
Newcastle returned to England after being denied a vital Champions League win on Tuesday as well, with their frustrations focused on the controversial decision to penalise Tino Livramento for handball as Kylian Mbappé’s stoppage-time penalty cancelled out Alexander Isak’s opener in a 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain.
Mbappé’s equaliser came with PSG’s 30th shot of a game, which saw the French champions amass 4.54 xG but almost be denied by an admirable defensive showing from Newcastle. Eddie Howe’s depleted side now have it all to do to reach the last 16 and he must pick them up swiftly ahead of Saturday’s clash with a fellow top-four contender.
As for Newcastle’s team news, Callum Wilson, Sven Botman, Jacob Murphy, Dan Burn, Joe Willock, Harvey Barnes and Matt Targett are among the Magpies’ long-term absentees, while Sean Longstaff will be evaluated. That could mean 17-year-old Lewis Miley continues in midfield after impressing in recent weeks.
Those injuries did not affect Newcastle in their last Premier League outing, however, as Chelsea were routed 4-1 at St James’ Park, where the Magpies have won their last five league games by an aggregate score of 12-1. Anthony Gordon helped himself to a goal and an assist, just the third time he has done so in a Premier League game, and the first time at St James’ Park.
Gordon has looked a player reborn this season and has six goal involvements in his last seven Premier League appearances (four goals, two assists), as many as he managed in his previous 45 (five goals, one assist).
Newcastle vs Manchester United Head-to-Head
Saturday’s game comes just over a month after the teams last met, with Newcastle thrashing United 3-0 in the EFL Cup on November 1. Miguel Almirón, Lewis Hall and Willock scored on that occasion as a much-changed Magpies team humiliated Ten Hag’s men at Old Trafford.
Newcastle also triumphed when the teams last met in the Premier League, with Willock and Wilson netting as they claimed a vital 2-0 win at a raucous St James’ Park in April.
Newcastle could now win back-to-back league games against United for the first time since October 1972, while they are also looking to post three straight wins against them across all competitions for the first time since January 1922.
Following a goalless draw between the teams at Old Trafford last October, Newcastle could also keep three successive clean sheets against United in league action, something they last did in the second tier back in November 1897.
The Red Devils are winless in their last three league games against Newcastle (D2 L1), having won six of their previous seven (L1). They last went four without a win against Saturday’s opponents between April 1987 and November 1988, drawing twice and losing twice.
United did, however, win the teams’ most important meeting of recent years, triumphing 2-0 in February’s EFL Cup final at Wembley Stadium to deny Newcastle a first major domestic trophy since 1955.
Somewhat incredibly, given the noise surrounding Ten Hag’s side, United enter this game as the Premier League’s form team. Since the start of October, their five wins and 15 points collected are both league-high tallies.
It’s fair to say it’s been an up-and-down period for United. None of their last 20 Premier League games have ended level, with them recording 13 wins and seven defeats in that span.
Only once in their top-flight history have they had a longer run without a draw, going 21 matches without being held in the 1893-94 campaign (W4 L17).
United have certainly improved on a shaky away record lately. Having only won three of their first 12 games on the road in the Premier League this calendar year (D2 L7), they have won each of their last four. They last won more consecutively between June and December 2020, enjoying a 10-match winning run on their travels.
Newcastle, though, have won their last five home league games since August’s 2-1 defeat to Liverpool, and they are looking to win six in a row on home soil for the first time since last April.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off this weekend, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Newcastle vs Manchester United Opta Player Ratings
Before kick-off in this match, here are the top five performing players from both teams in the 2023-24 Premier League according to the Opta Player Ratings:
Kieran Trippier: 79.6 (out of 100)
Alexander Isak: 76.1
Anthony Gordon: 75.9
Bruno Guimarães: 71.9
Callum Wilson: 71.6
Diogo Dalot: 77.8 (out of 100)
André Onana: 77.2
Victor Lindelöf: 65.9
Harry Maguire: 65.7
Raphaël Varane: 65.3
These Opta Player Ratings also power our set of brand-new, free-to-play gaming experiences, which you can play on Opta Analyst all season long.
Newcastle vs Manchester United Prediction
The Opta supercomputer has struggled to split Newcastle and Manchester United ahead of Saturday’s game, with the teams’ respective win probabilities closer than in any other MD 14 fixture.
Of 10,000 match simulations conducted by the supercomputer, Newcastle won 36.5% while the visitors triumphed in 34.4%, with the remaining 29.1% finishing level.
In our overall 2023-24 season predictions, Newcastle are given a greater chance of Champions League qualification than United.
The Magpies secure a top-four finish in 33.3% of the supercomputer’s simulations, with United doing so in 8.5%. Fifth is Newcastle’s most common position in our projections, finishing there in 23.2% of scenarios, while United finish seventh (19.6%) most often. Fifth could be enough for Champions League qualification, however.