Not even this weekend’s visit to relegation zone-dweller Newcastle United is a guarantee Manchester United will earn their first Premier League road victory of the season.
Only time will tell as the Red Devils try again to record that elusive away victory Sunday at St James’ Park.
It should be known that it was not too long ago, in 2014-15 to be specific, that United (2-3-2) opened 0-3-2 on the road in the Premier League. They did not win the top-flight title that season, but managed a fourth-place finish by a comfortable margin.
A top-four placement this term almost seems like a dream at the moment for United, which entered this weekend’s matchday 10th in the table, 0-2-1 on the road and with one victory since opening with an impressive 4-0 victory over Chelsea.
And, Man United’s road woes are not limited to the Premier League, as they played AZ Alkmaar to a scoreless draw away from home in the Europa League on Thursday. However, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer found the point valuable in terms of his team’s status in that competition.
Back in the Premier League, United followed a 1-0 win over Leicester City on Sept. 14, with a 2-0 loss at West Ham United and last weekend’s 1-1 home draw with Arsenal.
“Of course, we have a young team, but the lads have to react, have to play better than what they are doing,” United keeper David De Gea told Sky Sports as reported on the club’s official website. “So, we are a team, we know that we have to improve. We are working really hard to do it.”
Playing their third match in the seven days, Solskjaer reportedly won’t have the likes of key contributors Jesse Lingard, Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba fit enough to feature. Daniel James and Marcus Rashford, who share the team lead with three goals over all competition, could feature after playing in the mid-week.
Rashford scored one of United’s five goals whilst they did the double over Newcastle last season. However, Man U’s current state leaves anything a possibility this weekend at St James’.
The Magpies (1-2-4), though, enter this weekend’s matches in the middle of the drop zone and 0-2-2 since stunning Spurs on the road Aug. 25. Newcastle have also failed to score in their last two matches, and must find a way to somehow regroup from a terrible 5-0 loss at Leicester last weekend.
That defeat did not sit well with the dressing room.
“So, there should be a few words when you get beat as badly as we did,” manager Steve Bruce, a Manchester United fixture as a player during the late 1980s and into the ’90s, told Newcastle’s official website.
“You know what’s coming. The one thing you have to do is respond, and look forward to the next game and erase it. Enough has been said on it. We were disappointing on the day – very disappointing – we had our backsides licked.
“When that happens, you have to show a certain degree of pride about yourself and make sure you put it right … And, we’ve got a wonderful opportunity this weekend.”
Jonjo Shelvey has one of Newcastle’s four league goals this season, and is slated to be available following a hamstring issue.