Newcastle v Manchester United: the predictions

This is a game where perhaps it is best to start with recent form rather than the home and away records that we normally use.

The results for Manchester United in December may be put down to the tactical abilities of the old and new managers, or maybe their man management, but also I suspect psychological issues are involved.  A sense of relief at the end of the old regime, followed by a growing confidence – factors that may not be as important as raw talent and training, but still have a major part to play.   “We can’t win a game” changes into “We can’t lose”.

01 Dec 2018 Southampton v Manchester United D 2-2
05 Dec 2018 Manchester United v Arsenal D 2-2
08 Dec 2018 Manchester United v Fulham W 4-1
12 Dec 2018 Valencia v Manchester United Champ Lge L 2-1
16 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Manchester United L 3-1
22 Dec 2018 Cardiff City v Manchester United W 1-5
26 Dec 2018 Manchester United v Huddersfield Town W 3-1
30 Dec 2018 Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth W 4-1

That stuttering collection of results through the first five games of December was indeed followed not just by three straight wins but three straight wins scoring 12 goals.

So there is momentum there – but momentum always comes to an end at some time.  And there is a bit of a way to go to get an away form for Manchester United that is comparable to the norm for clubs in the European places.  This table shows away results only

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 11 9 0 2 25 12 13 27
2 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 21 5 16 26
3 Chelsea 10 7 1 2 19 8 11 22
4 Manchester City 10 6 2 2 19 7 12 20
5 Arsenal 10 4 3 3 22 21 1 15
6 Wolverhampton W 10 4 3 3 11 10 1 15
7 Manchester United 10 4 2 4 20 19 1 14

There is in fact a significant gap opening between the away form of the top four in that list and the rest.   But Manchester United did knock five past Cardiff, so things are starting to change.

What undoubtedly makes Manchester United’s position easier in this match is Newcastle’s home form…  Here is the foot of the home form league table

16 Burnley 10 3 1 6 12 20 -8 10
17 Crystal Palace 10 2 3 5 5 9 -4 9
18 Southampton 10 1 5 4 11 17 -6 8
19 Newcastle United 10 2 1 7 7 15 -8 7
20 Huddersfield Town 10 1 2 7 4 14 -10 5

This table which as I say, just shows home games, reveals Newcastle with just two wins in 10, scoring less than one goal a game on average and conceding over twice the number they score.

For December the Newcastle results look like this…

01 Dec 2018 Newcastle United v West Ham United L 0-3
05 Dec 2018 Everton v Newcastle United D 1-1
09 Dec 2018 Newcastle United v Wolverhampton Wanderers L 1-2
15 Dec 2018 Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United W 0-1
22 Dec 2018 Newcastle United v Fulham D 0-0
26 Dec 2018 Liverpool v Newcastle United L 4-0
29 Dec 2018 Watford v Newcastle United D 1-1

There is just won win in there and that against fellow strugglers Huddersfield who seem to be doomed to relegation already.  Newcastle’s last home point was a goalless draw against fellow relegation contenders Fulham.

Unless suddenly the magic of the new manager at Manchester United wears off or Newcastle find some incredible magical way of turning things around, this looks like another easy win for Manchester United.  They might knock in another hatload but I would think that 0-2 is more likely, given the way the goals have gone in, in the past.

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