Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd in for ‘shock’, as Paul Merson predicts Newcastle masterclass will ruin Ten Hag progress

Miguel Almiron, Cristiano Ronaldo, September 2021

Paul Merson believes Newcastle have every chance of beating Manchester United on Sunday if they simply carry on as they have been.

The Magpies have enjoyed a resurgence under Eddie Howe since the manager took over. At first, he rued his side’s mentality at shipping costly goals and not being able to hold onto leads.

However, he has built impressively and led Newcastle to just a single defeat in nine Premier League games.

And that run has included a thrilling 3-3 draw with Manchester City and 4-1 and 5-1 victories in their past two games against Fulham and Brentford.

Newcastle subsequently sit sixth, a point and a place behind Sunday’s opponents Man Utd. The Red Devils have also turned a corner and have won six of their past eight games in all competitions.

Although, they had to edge past Europa League minnows Omonia in back-to-back ties. And their run also featured a 6-3 defeat away at Man City.

Writing in a column for Sportskeeda, Merson said Newcastle have “got the players and have pace on the counter”. The pundit added that United boss Erik ten Hag “will have to play” Cristiano Ronaldo after his recent performances back in the side.

Merson added that United could be in for a “shock” against Newcastle.

Newcastle could shock Man Utd

“I think Casemiro needs some time. There’s a lot yet to come from him,” Merson said. “This game is very different to the Everton fixture, and United will need to be at their best. I’m not too sure about this game, and that’s a big compliment for Newcastle.

“I’m going to go for a shock this weekend. Newcastle have the players in their team to hurt Manchester United.

“They’ve got the game to beat United, but they’ll need to pick the right pass.

“If they stick to Eddie Howe’s plan and execute it like they have been over the last couple of weeks, I think they’ll win.”

Newcastle have had Miguel Almiron and Bruno Guimaraes to thank for their two big victories of late.

The pair have both netted in the past two games to spark the winning run for the Magpies.

Big Magpies test for Eddie Howe

Nevertheless, Newcastle’s clash with Man Utd marks the start of a massive pre-World Cup test for Howe and his players.

They have only played Man City and Liverpool from the Premier League’s traditional ‘Big Six’ – and face Chelsea and Tottenham before the World Cup alongside Man Utd.

Newcastle have only suffered that one defeat to Liverpool, so the upcoming games against Man Utd, Spurs and Chelsea are chances for the Magpies to put down a serious marker.

Newcastle have ambitions to break up the top six and get themselves into that bracket. Indeed, they are in and around there in the early stages of the campaign.

And after taking a point off Man City, Howe will be eyeing up more points in further big games before the mid-season break.

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