Manchester United will be looking to keep their slim Premier League title hopes alive when they welcome Newcastle United to Old Trafford on Sunday evening.
The Red Devils have drawn three of their last four league games and are now 10 points adrift of leaders Manchester City, while Newcastle are six points above the relegation zone.
Last week’s 1-1 draw at strugglers West Bromwich Albion was surely the final nail for United’s title aspirations, particularly after City won their game in hand in midweek.
The 10-point gap Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have to make up on the leaders is fast becoming insurmountable, but United are not ready to throw in the towel just yet.
Solskjaer will certainly be hopeful that Thursday’s 4-0 win over Real Sociedad in their Europa League last-32 first leg can provide a catalyst to push on in the league.
Bruno Fernandes maintained his incredible scoring rate with a double and Marcus Rashford was also on target in Turin, before Daniel James rounded off the scoring late on.
A place in the last 16 of the Europa League now all but guaranteed, and an FA Cup quarter-final with Leicester City to come next month, Solskjaer’s focus is now on the league.
United’s only win in their last six league matches was their record-equalling 9-0 thumping of Southampton – a performance in stark contrast to last week’s draw with West Brom.
Finding that consistency is now the aim for Solskjaer, and this weekend’s visit of Newcastle provides a chance to get three more points on the board.
Newcastle have won just one of their last 35 away league games with Man United, losing 25 of those, including four of their last five visits to Old Trafford.
The Magpies have alternated between a win and defeat in their last five games, most recently following up a 3-2 win against Southampton with a 2-0 loss at Chelsea last Monday.
Steve Bruce was without Callum Wilson for that trip to Stamford Bridge and will have to make do without the striker for at least another six weeks.
That is worrying news for Newcastle, having lost all three Premier League games without scoring when Wilson has been absent this season.
With Fulham picking up another point in midweek, and the Cottagers facing bottom side Sheffield United next, Newcastle’s six-point gap on the bottom three could shrink further with another loss on Sunday.
Manchester United Premier League form: WLDWDD
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Newcastle United Premier League form: LLWLWL
Newcastle United form (all competitions): LLWLWL