All the pre-season positivity is gradually being sapped out of Manchester United at the moment.

But this weekend we face a team in far worse situation than ourselves. An increasingly desperate Newcastle United.

Newcastle are in 19th and lost 5-0 at Leicester last weekend. Our away record is not good, and so this is an ideal opportunity to get back to winning ways.

When putting together a predicted line up, it becomes increasingly apparent how few options United have, especially with injuries factored in.

There are still a few ways to tinker with the team and give a fresh approach.

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Injury updates

Jesse Lingard is out of the trip to Newcastle, Solskjaer confirmed after the trip to Alkmaar.

Question marks remain over Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw. At this point we have to assume United will not rush any of the trio back before the international break.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka should be ready to return after his illness which kept him out of the last two matches.

If not, then expect Ashley Young or Diogo Dalot to fill in instead.

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Key decisions

Victor Lindelöf featuring against Alkmaar was an indication Axel Tuanzebe could get a first Premier League start at centre-back alongside Harry Maguire.

His physicality could be needed if Newcastle go route one and lump Andy Carroll up front.

 

At left-back we would like to see Brandon Williams rewarded for his display against Alkmaar by getting the nod. This may depend on his fitness, and again Young could start instead.

Scott McTominay is locked in as a starter in midfield and while Fred is the most probably midfield partner for him, we believe it could be time for James Garner to get the nod as United look to shake up the team.

Lack of competition means it will likely be Dan James and Andreas Pereira on the wings.

Lingard’s injury opens up a spot for Angel Gomes to get a chance in attacking midfield. It is most probable that Solskjaer takes the safe option and goes with Juan Mata, while Marcus Rashford will start up front.

Verdict

The back four is both intriguing and encouraging if this is how United line up.

Even against a struggling Newcastle side, Sunday’s match could be a painful watch, assuming Pogba and Martial do not recover in time.

The one bright spot in midfield could be the potential selection of James Garner, who has scored six in seven for the under-23s this season.

United need to shake it up, and this team needs goals. It could be time to bring him in, with Pogba out, and Fred did himself no favours this week.

Making three big calls, Williams at left-back, Tuanzebe at centre-back, and Garner in midfield, give United a fresh feel. It is needed.

(Photo by Chris Vaughan – CameraSport via Getty Images)
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