Regarding the race for a spot in the UEFA Champions League, the matchup between Newcastle and Manchester United is crucial. With 50 points, United is in third place, three steps ahead of Newcastle, who is right now fifth in the Premier League standings. Tottenham has 49 points and is in the middle, but with two more games played than either of these teams. Therefore, a victory here would significantly improve the prospects of qualifying for the most prestigious European competition.
Newcastle (+145) held strong until the beginning of February when their performance drastically declined. The Magpies’ recent losing streak of five games (two ties and three straight losses) effectively ended their title hopes and jeopardized their UCL plans.
The English Football League finals saw Newcastle lose to Manchester United by a score of 2-0. It was a missed opportunity for Newcastle to win its first trophy in 60 years, thanks to the Red Devils.
Newcastle’s hallmark this season has been moderate efficiency (2 or 3 goals), and their last seven matches all fell into that category. Unlike during his time in Bournemouth, Howe prefers to set up a conservative game plan, which protects his goal first, and attacks later. That’s why Newcastle’s defense is the best in the league, with only 19 allowed goals.
Manchester United‘s (+185) only loss in the last six games was a 7-0 embarrassment at the hands of Liverpool at Anfield. Apart from that, Erik Ten Hag’s team has been pretty solid, presenting good performance in all the competitions. Just to remind you that they still have solid chances of winning the trophy in both the Europa League and the FA Cup.
Though, we must say that a goalless tie against Southampton in the previous EPL contest was unexpected. After that, United got back on the winning trail, beating Betis on the road, 0-1 (thus advancing to the quarterfinals of the Europa League) and winning over Fulham in the FA Cup at home, 3-1.
United’s away record is mixed, with four losses, four wins, and two ties. The Red Devils have failed to score in three of the past four road trips.
Anthony Gordon and Miguel Almiron are both out for this game, while Sven Botman, Nick Pope and Allan Saint-Maximin are expected to be fully fit to appear.
Casemiro is suspended for the Red Devils due to his red card. Garnacho and Eriksen are out, while Rashford and Varane, who had some mild injuries, should be 100% ready.
Head to Head
The year’s first match between Manchester and Newcastle ended scoreless at Trafford. It was a sluggish contest, with both teams being overly cautious. Later, these two teams faced each other in the EFL Cup finals, and United ended up winning 2-0.
A tough, tactical, and ultimately unattractive battle is what we anticipate. The Magpies are in need of a win, but Howe won’t be keen on attacking the rivals. Meanwhile, Ten Hag’s tactics on the road are much more defensive-minded than at home. Because of all this, backing under 2.5 goals is a safe wager for this match.
Pick: Under 2.5 goals -105
Here are more preview for this weekend’s games:
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.