Manchester United find themselves in lying in third place in the English Premier League, with 12 points from the opening six games.
While this doesn’t quite represent a full-blown crisis at Old Trafford, it is not entirely the start that the club and its fans would have hoped for.
Nonetheless, there is indeed plenty of time for United to turn their fortunes around, but the improvement needs to start soon—perhaps even as early as this weekend.
This article outlines five key reasons why United must secure victory against Newcastle this weekend.
Last season, Newcastle defeated the Red Devils convincingly, running out 3-0 winners at St. James’ Park.
Upon reflection, this result could arguably have been the one that cost Manchester United the league title last time out, as they were not only denied a crucial three points but also saw their goal difference take a bit of a battering.
While it is of course difficult to pin the failures of a whole season on one individual game, last season’s fixture will definitely have been an instance where United may feel they could have done better, as they were very much outplayed on the day by their opponents.
Sir Alex Ferguson will be hoping for the opposite result this time out, and the club will not want to once again look back in anger and rue what could have been, come the end of the season.
In the introduction, I alluded to the disappointing start that Ferguson’s men have made to the current Premier League campaign.
However in a recent article, I acknowledged and explained why this is not necessarily a disastrous situation for the club to be, in due to their tendency to come on strong in the latter parts of the season.
That being said, even the most dominant of finishes to the campaign will be futile if the club are already too far off the pace due to their earlier lack of form.
Thus, if United are indeed going to turn their stuttering start around, they will need to do it soon.
And what better place to do so than the ground at which they lost so heavily last time out? Victory will send a real message of intent and show that United are indeed back with a vengeance.
It has been well publicised in recent weeks that Manchester United’s defence has not been at its most solid so far this term.
In their opening six Premier League fixtures, the Red Devils have conceded nine goals in total. Last season, they conceded such a high figure over an equal period only once, though the fact that they scored ten in the process lessened the blow of their defensive frailties.
Granted, much of the problems with United’s back four can be attributed to injuries, but unfortunately there are no points awarded for such excuses in the Premier League.
Depleted as they may be, Rio Ferdinand and company must dig deep in order to rediscover the form of old that saw Manchester United become one of the most unbeatable sides in the country.
The leakiness must stop, and soon. Continuing to concede goals at such a rate will be of serious detriment to the club’s title aspirations.
This weekend of Premier League action marks the last before the start of the October international break.
Though many of the Manchester United squad will be involved in these international fixtures, there are a number of players who will not, such as the likes of Paul Scholes and perhaps Rio Ferdinand.
Thus, the final game before the break tends to last longer in the memories of such players. With two weeks to wait until the next club fixture, there is plenty of time to stew over the result and dwell on what went right or wrong.
And if the players are spending this time reflecting upon a defeat, it can have a very negative impact on the morale of the squad.
United, as any other team does, will be hoping for a positive result heading into the international break, so as to avoid a prolonged period of ruing what could have been, something that can be particularly damaging psychologically.
Manchester United have already faced Liverpool, Everton and Tottenham this season. But as if that wasn’t a tough enough run, it gets worse—the fixture list has been less-than-kind to England’s most successful domestic side.
After the Newcastle tie, United face an away trip to Chelsea as well as a home tie with Arsenal in two of their next three league games.
Facing the current league leaders on a poor run of form will not bode well for the Red Devils. Thus it is of even greater importance that United leave St. James’ Park with a positive result, to put them in good stead and haul the Blues off of top spot in the table.
Furthermore, these upcoming games will be even trickier given the lengthy injury list that United currently have to contend with.
The absence of key names such as Nemanja Vidic will be a huge blow to United’s chances in these games, so they will need all the confidence they can get heading into the Arsenal and Chelsea games. They must start with this weekend’s clash with Newcastle.
Though the season is young, United really need a victory against Newcastle in order to put them back on the right track in the Premier League.
A third defeat would spell trouble for Ferguson’s men, particularly considering the club’s forthcoming fixtures and their well-documented injury worries.
It is perfectly achievable for the Red Devils, but they must step up and show exactly what they’re made of, as Newcastle have proven many times before that they certainly are no pushovers.
But what do you guys think? do you fancy United’s chances against the Toon? Furthermore, do you agree that they desperately need the three points this weekend? Comment below and discuss your opinions regarding this matter.