Where: Old Trafford
When: Broadcast 7:45 A.M. (EST) on NBCS, NBCU, Kick-Off 12:45
The Magpies are facing a tough matchup this weekend as they take on fourth place, Manchester United. The Reds are coming off a 3-1 thrashing of Club Brugge in Champions League play, and look to continue their winning ways. United are just one of four clubs with a perfect record in the BPL right now – a much different tune than last season.
The addition of Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger, and Matteo Darmian has helped to reinforce United’s backline – boasting two clean sheets in two games. Jones and Rojo are still out, but Blind and Smalling are proving to van Gaal and the rest of the BPL that they can hold their own in the back.
According to van Gaal, Schweinsteiger may see his first start this weekend: “It’s a matter of time. Maybe it shall happen tomorrow. You never know. I think he can still do better because when you are not fit enough then it is difficult to show your highest level. But I think it’s also a matter of time and we have seen a solution in rotating our [second] captain, Michael Carrick, with Schweinsteiger. I think it’s a very good solution because we can spare them both for the big moments.”
Schweinsteiger’s midfield presence could be particularly dominating in the potential absence of Newcastle’s midfield engine, Moussa Sissoko. Sissoko suffered a groin injury last week against Swansea coming off at halftime. However, the severity of the injury might not be as serious as initial thinking, says assistant manager Paul Drummett: “We’re delighted with the improvement that Moussa’s shown. At half-time (at the Liberty Stadium), we thought it was a real serious injury but by the end of the game it had settled down. He had a scan early on in the week and the signs were quite positive.”
Newcastle hope to show off their new signing, French attacker Florian Thauvin who looks to make his Magpie debut. Assistant boss Paul Simpson commented that, “If he’s involved at Old Trafford on Saturday, we’re not expecting him to go and set the world alight straight away but if we can get him involved it’ll give the whole football club a boost, and the rest of the players because they want competition for places.”
And a boost might just be what the Magpies need – having only one victory at Old Trafford in the Premier league era.
Contributing Writer: Robert Stephens