Looking back at United's last XI for Newcastle away, a lot has changed

Manchester United travel to face Newcastle tomorrow night, a little over a year to the day since our last visit to St James’ Park.

On that occasion, we lost 1-0, with a poor attacking display compounded by Matty Longstaff’s first senior goal.

That loss may have only been twelve months ago, but a look back at the team which started the match shows how many changes have taken place at Old Trafford in the interim.

Who played that day?

Both starting full backs, Diogo Dalot and Ashley Young, have since left for Italy and are now cross-city rivals in Milan.

Axel Tuanzebe started at centre half, which serves as a reminder of his strong form last term before injury curtailed his season.


Scott McTominay, Fred and Andreas Pereira made up United’s central midfield trio, with the latter another who now plies his trade in Italy, for Lazio.

Juan Mata and Daniel James manned the wings, which is now something we only really see in the EFL Cup, although the Spaniard maybe deserves a Premier League shot after being named the club’s player of the month.

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A familiar problem

Anthony Martial will be suspended tomorrow and he was injured for the trip to the north east last season.

Just like last term, there isn’t an obvious, convincing alternative up front, despite the fact United have signed two strikers in the interim.

Marcus Rashford played up front, but looked despondent and exhausted, only have 21 touches of the ball.

Solskjaer may go down that route again, but Rashford still looks short of sharpness and confidence.

Mason Greenwood could lead the line – especially if Mata has earned a game on the right – but Solskjaer tends to prefer deploying him from the right.

A year, two expensive striking signings and an emerging wonderkid later and United still have the same dilemma ahead of traveling to Newcastle – how to replace Martial.

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The survivors

Rashford is one of only three players who started last October who would expect to play from the off tomorrow.

David de Gea is another, although Solskjaer may be tempted to replace him with Dean Henderson.

The third is captain Harry Maguire. After his red card for England in midweek, it’s clear he could do with a break.

But will Solskjaer drop his captain at a time of crisis?

Eight of the starters from the last Newcastle trip likely won’t start, and there are question marks over the three who likely will.

Add in a familiar striking problem and it underlines the lack of planning and consistency at Old Trafford.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.