Newcastle United-Manchester United Preview
Manchester United are not ready to concede the Premier League title to Manchester City, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows their form must improve.
United were frontrunners in January before a sticky patch left them 10 points behind City heading into a weekend when the leaders, at Arsenal, play first.
Regardless of events at Emirates Stadium, though, United manager Solskjaer knows the importance of a result at home to Newcastle United.
"We can't hide the fact we have dropped off on our form in the last few weeks," he said.
Solskjaer added of the state of play at the top: "I don't think anyone would say they're not going to go for it. We're going to go for a win in every game we play.
"Whatever other teams do, we can't control. We've just got to control ourselves. We are second, and of course your ambition then is to not end any lower than that.
"We're going to have to get a good run together if we're going to put pressure on City, and it should start on Sunday of course."
Newcastle's ambitions are much more modest, but Steve Bruce is taking a similar approach to their survival bid, not distracted by Fulham's improving form in the bottom three.
"No matter what anybody else does, you have got to set yourself a target of whatever that points tally will be," Bruce said.
"Whoever is in the bottom five or six at the moment, there's two or three points separating a host of teams. We're not alone in it.
"Fulham have obviously closed the gap a bit but they're still struggling to win as well; I think they've only won one of their last 13, as well. It's all to play for."
Manchester United - Marcus Rashford
Rashford will be looking to turn in another standout display. He has been involved in six goals in his six Premier League appearances against Newcastle (three goals, three assists) and scored one and assisted two in United's 4-1 win in the reverse fixture at St James' Park this season.
Newcastle United - Dwight Gayle
Gayle had no impact on his return to the XI against Chelsea last time out, but Newcastle need someone to swiftly step into Callum Wilson's boots. They have lost the three league games Wilson has missed this season without scoring. The injured striker has netted 10 of their 25 league goals.
- Manchester United have won four of their past five Premier League games against Newcastle (L1), winning the last two 4-1.
- United have not won three consecutive league games against a side by at least a three-goal margin since doing so versus Aston Villa between April 2013 and March 2014.
- Newcastle have won just one of their past 35 away league games against Manchester United (D9 L25), winning 1-0 at Old Trafford in December 2013.
- Only against Liverpool (81) have Newcastle lost more matches in their entire league history than versus Manchester United (80). The Magpies have lost 49 away league games against the Red Devils.
- Newcastle coach Bruce has taken just one point from 33 available in his Premier League visits to Old Trafford (D1 L10), drawing 2-2 with Sunderland in October 2009.
Updated February 19, 2021