Dull. Dreary. Boring
No, not the British weather. The description of Man United this season by fans and pundit’s alike. The Red Devils have been worse at hitting the target than a BDO darts player, and pressure is once again on the shoulders of Louis Van Gaal. He faces a must-win game against Newcastle on Tuesday night, and the Magpies aren’t exactly in the best of form either.
With all the focus on their home form and how they’re not scoring, LVG is getting away with the fact that United have only won four games away from home all season, the last of which came nearly two months ago.
12 goals away from home (the same number as 16th placed Bournemouth), only 12 goals at home, yet somehow they are still fifth in the table. But the chasing pack are closing. Six sides are within five points of United. Another trophy-less season coupled with the failure to qualify for the Champions League would be disastrous for the Mancs.
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In reality, Steve McClaren should be out of a job by now. But wins over Spurs and Liverpool before Christmas meant he relieved a little bit of pressure.
Fast forward three weeks and no win since then, an exit in the FA Cup, and a return to the relegation zone means the Magpies are in danger of being cut off at the bottom. What better way to relieve the pressure than with a victory over another struggling side?
- Newcastle have lost their last four games by the same scoreline (1-0)
- United haven’t won a game by more than a single goal since the beginning of November
- These sides have the same shot accuracy so far this season – 48%
- United have also created just three and a half chances per away game
There are some easy bets here. A repeat of the 0-0 scoreline when the sides met in August is . Something has got to give though. Both managers need a win desperatley. I can see it being a 1-0 win for Newcastle at . It’s just what McClaren does. Let the pressure build up and then out of nowhere get a result no one expects.
I can’t see it being a goal fest either. Under 2.5 goals would be my banker at . In the goalscoring markets look to Wijnaldum for Newcastle. He seems to pop up in pressure games and is to do so against countryman LVG. If anyone’s going to prove critics of Man U wrong, it’s probably Memphis at . Rooney was very poor against Sheffield United, and is ageing.
So there you have it. You are more than likely going to fall asleep in front of the telly after finally polishing off the Christmas sweets while watching this. But at least you might make a bit of money.