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Two teams at the heart of the Champions League football battle will meet on Sunday morning in St. James’ Park.
Fifth-placed Newcastle United are slight home favorites over third-placed Manchester United, but the Red Devils come into the game in stronger form.
It’s still been a great season for Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United in recent years.
The Magpies were not expected to finish in the top four in 2022-23, but they have been in the Champions League spots for almost the entire campaign.
Newcastle vs Manchester United the announcement
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That said, things are starting to pick up a bit for Newcastle, who are just 4-5-2 (WDL) in their 11 games since the World Cup.
That record does not include Manchester United’s loss in the EFL Cup final, which saw Newcastle win their first major trophy since 1955.
The results may not be there for Newcastle, but there are no major concerns with how the Magpies have played recently.
Manchester United’s Alexander GarnachoManchester United via Getty Images
The team have lost two of their last four games, but those results came at the hands of Manchester City and Liverpool, which is hardly something to work on.
Newcastle appeared to have stabilized ahead of the international break with a pair of wins against Wolverhampton and Nottingham Forest to take care of business.
Newcastle have played with a +8.1 expected goal difference in their last 11 games, and their defensive numbers (8 GA in 10.7 xGA) suggest this team is still playing at a top-five level.
Manchester United will test that defensive shape, though.
The Red Devils thrashed Liverpool 7-0 and then drew last-placed Southampton 0-0 before half-time, but before those results, Erik ten Hag’s side threatened the title race with a clean sheet.
Those dreams are now dashed, but United still have a lot to play for as they aim to return to the Champions League in 2023-24.
Newcastle United’s Alexander IsakGetty Images
Manchester United haven’t scored a single goal in their last two Premier League games, but are still a strong attacking side, ranking in the top five in goals predicted, goals scored, shots within 90 and big goal chances created.
There is enough here to believe that United will get on the scoresheet even against a strong defence.
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On the other hand, Newcastle should also be confident that they will be able to create plenty of scoring chances against a United defense that has shown some cracks and will be without Casemiro in midfield.
You could make the argument that there has been no more important player in the Premier League this season than the Brazilian midfielder.
This game should be a thriller, and both clubs have the finishing talent needed to finish off the chances they create. It is above 2.5.
Newcastle and Manchester United selection
Over 2.5 picks (Caesars)