This weekend’s EPL fixtures have been altered in a major way by the powers that be, but one of the matches still going ahead as scheduled is the Newcastle versus Manchester United game on Monday. With both teams sitting on weeks of rest due to Covid postponements, the energy levels are bound to be very high. Manchester United only played half of their normal December workload, giving new manager Ralf Rangnick valuable preparation and revamping time that is usually impossible at this point in the season. The question in every prognosticator’s mind this week is who benefits most from this wildly rearranged appointment book? We take a hard look at this question and more in this edition of the EPL Weekend Windup, but in this ever-evolving holiday schedule, don’t forget to head over to FanDuel Sportsbook, where you can get all the latest odds.
Newcastle vs. Manchester United Predictions & Picks
- Manchester United (-220)
- Over 2.5 (-162)
- Anytime Goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo (+240)
Manchester United (-220) midfielder Paul Pogba has not played for The Red Devils since his red card exit from United’s embarrassing 5-0 defeat to rivals Liverpool in October. With only months left on the superstar’s contract, it is widely expected that the Frenchman is not a part of new manager Ralf Rangninck’s rebuilding process. The difficult task of rebuilding a Premier League squad in the middle of a campaign is not an enviable chore for any club. Still, the media attention and scrutiny at Old Trafford takes the difficulty to new levels. However, with a schedule that has seen more alterations than your average Hollywood plastic surgeon, Manchester United has been given a boost as they embark on their latest rebuild.
New boss Ralf Rangnick has had an unprecedented amount of December time to analyze and reconstruct a team that has suffered some historic setbacks this season. With no games played since December 11, Manchester United is fully fit, except for Pogba’s mysterious and convenient “thigh injury.”
On top of the rare rest this time of year, United’s recent history against Newcastle (+550) suggests that the Magpies could be in for a rough evening this Monday night. Newcastle has won only one of the past seven fixtures between the clubs and has been shut out twice while outscored 20-7. The struggling Newcastle squad sits tied for last place with Norwich and only has one win in their 18 matches.
With seven players out of Newcastle’s lineup to injury and United eagerly waiting to play some football with an ax to grind, things will likely get very ugly at St James Park. Take United to win, take the over 2.5, and take Cristiano Ronaldo to bag a goal. Nothing in the Newcastle lineup suggests they have any means to stop the Portuguese talisman from scoring at will.