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Michael Owen disagrees with other pundits on Man United score prediction vs Newcastle

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Manchester United will be back in action after 16 days when they travel to St James’ Park to play Newcastle United.

A COVID outbreak within the Reds’ squad saw the Brentford and Brighton clashes postponed, meaning that Ralf Rangnick’s side had over two weeks before facing Eddie Howe’s Newcastle during a busy festive period.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the only goal in the win over Norwich earlier this month whilst the Magpies have suffered three straight defeats – two of which came during United’s enforced break as Liverpool and Manchester City proved too strong.

The reverse fixture marked the 36-year-old’s second debut for United. With Ronaldo-mania in full flow, the Portugal international popped up with a brace in the rout against the Toon Army.

But a lot has changed since then, including changes in the hot seat of both clubs and Newcastle also becoming the richest club in the world after being taken over by the Saudi-led consortium.

However, in terms of the league table, the hosts are three points off safety but find themselves level on points with the Canaries who are at the foot of the table.

United will be looking to assert their European credentials, knowing a win would see them keep the pressure on Arsenal, West Ham and Spurs.

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Michael Owen – BetVictor

“This is one of my favourite fixtures and St James’ Park will be noisy for this one. Newcastle continue to struggle, mainly at the back,” he told BetVictor.

“I’ve said all season that I don’t worry about the goals in this side, Callum Wilson is a natural goal scorer, but they need to improve defensively. They’ve been in a difficult run of fixtures though, and things will get easier from now.

“I’m very interested to see how Man United perform. There’s been some signs of change from the new boss in terms of pressing and how he wants them to play. He’s had some time with the squad to get more of his ideas across and it will be fascinating to see how they play.

“With the home fans behind them, I can see Newcastle scoring. I don’t trust them at the back though and United will score a couple of their own.”

Prediction: United 2-1.

Mark Lawrenson – BBC Sport

“Eddie Howe has improved Newcastle, but not enough to get them many more points than they already had. Yes, he brought them their first win of the season but they are still losing a lot of games. They have left themselves a mammoth task to stay up,” he explained in his BBC Sport prediction.

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“Lose this too and they will have earned 10 points from their first 19 games. If they are going to reach the usual 40-point mark that guarantees safety, they will need 30 points from their last 19 games which, if you look at the table now, is more-or-less top-six form.

“They might not need 40 points of course, but it won’t be far off it – and even reaching 35 points, which has been what teams have needed for survival in two of the past three seasons, will take a phenomenal effort from here.

“If they carry on picking up points at the same rate as they have been under Howe, they will end up on 24 points and will be relegated.”

He added: “I know they have got the January transfer window to improve the team but getting that right will be a challenge in itself, and they have put themselves under huge pressure to recruit properly. They can’t hang about either because they have got huge games against Watford and Leeds in the middle of that month.

See also  Erik ten Hag already knows his Man United transfer priority

“I do think this game will end in another defeat for the Magpies too. Yes, they were competitive at Anfield, and they also had a big decision go against them against Manchester City, but the facts are they were just not good enough defensively to get anything out of either game.

“I’m expecting a similar story here. Manchester United have had a couple of weeks off since their last game because of a Covid-19 outbreak, but their training ground reopened this week and Ralf Rangnick will have been working them hard. They will be going to St James’ Park to win.”

Prediction: United 2-0.

Paul Merson – SportsKeeda

He told Sports Keeda : “These big games are coming thick and fast for Newcastle, aren’t they? I thought they showed some good signs last week, but you can’t give away a goal like that so early against Manchester City.

“Newcastle haven’t been all that bad and managed to give a good account of themselves against Liverpool.

“Manchester United did show signs of vulnerability against Norwich last week. We’re going to see a loud Christmas crowd and a packed St. James’ Park this weekend – this will be a hard game for Manchester United.”

Prediction: Newcastle 1-1 United.

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Report: Arsenal now really Keen to sign ‘Astonishing’ attacker who scored more goals than Gabriel Jesus last season

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According to But Football Club, Arsenal want to sign Bayer Leverkusen and France winger Moussa Diaby before the transfer window shuts.

The Gunners are looking for a new wide player. Raphinha was high on their wish list and Mikel Arteta tried really hard to bring him in. The Brazilian, however, joined Barcelona for £55 million (Sky Sports) instead, and Arsenal have now apparently turned their attention to Diaby.

Arsenal really keen to sign Moussa Diaby from Bayer Leverkusen

Diaby is one of the finest players in the Bundesliga.

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The 23-year-old France international scored 17 goals and provided 14 assists in all competitions, which is a truly sensational return for a wide player.

His performances have caught the eye of a number of clubs, including Arteta’s Arsenal. The report claims that Diaby ‘strongly appeals’ to the Gunners boss, who is really keen to bring in a new winger before the window shuts.

The ‘astonishing‘ winger has come out and claimed that he wants to stay at Leverkusen this season, while the German outfit are keen to retain his services too.

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However, the report claims that if an offer in the region of £59.2 million arrives, they will let him go.

Arsenal don’t intend to pay that figure, but the report claims they will try to negotiate a deal for a lower fee.

Diaby still has three years left on his contract at Leverkusen.

Diaby really is a sensational player.

31 goal involvements in a single campaign for a 23-year-old wide player is a truly sensational return.

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Even Gabriel Jesus, who is viewed as the answer to Arsenal’s goalscoring woes, didn’t score as many goals as Frenchman last season.

Arsenal’s backup winger at the moment is Nicolas Pepe. The Ivorian, on his day, is unplayable, but sadly for Arsenal supporters, those days have rarely ever occurred over the last three years.

Diaby would be a massive upgrade over Pepe, but whether Arsenal can lure him in remains to be seen.

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Report: Star ready to join Man United now wants £33.7million contract

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The latest reports in the media are anything to go by and Adrien Rabiot’s mother-agent, Veronique, is proving to be a difficult negotiator.

Last night, we covered a story (via La Gazzetta Dello Sport) claiming that the French international has demanded a three-year deal worth £25.4million to move to Old Trafford.

This morning, as per Corriere dello Sport (news image provided below), the Red Devils have agreed a fee worth 17-18 million euros with Juventus but the dilemma is that the agreement with the player is still missing.

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Ten Hag contacted Rabiot to convince him to join Man Utd which is why the midfielder became willing to negotiate personal terms.

However, Veronique now wants a four-year contract worth 40 million euros (£33.7million) for his son and the negotiations have slowed down.

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Manchester United’s midfield department is in desperate need of reinforcements and Ten Hag may end up losing out on signing Frenkie de Jong to Chelsea.

The last big signing for the central midfield was done back in 2018 when Mourinho splashed the cash to lure Fred from Shakhtar. The Red Devils must act fast to strengthen things in the center of the park.

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Rabiot is neither as creative as Pogba nor as versatile as De Jong. However, he has experience of winning big titles with PSG and Juventus and even with France. So, in all fairness, he would be an upgrade to McFred.

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Man United pushing for Pogba replacement in more ways than one

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Manchester United may be about to take on another troublesome Frenchman, having just gotten rid of one.

The departures of Paul Pogba and others this summer have left new manager Erik ten Hag with a bare cupboard in terms of midfield options.

United have turned to Juventus outcast Adrien Rabiot, who is available for £15 million, after failing to secure Frenkie de Jong, the Ten Hag’s top transfer target, from Barcelona.

Rabiot, 27, isn’t particularly popular at Juventus and hasn’t replicated the form that established his reputation during the seven years he spent at PSG before that.

But it isn’t just on-field sluggishness that has harmed the reputation of a player who was once regarded as France’s golden boy.

Off-field squabbles and indiscretions, not only by Rabiot but also by his formidable mother and agent Veronique, have earned him a reputation as a difficult customer in the game.

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However, Ten Hag and United are becoming increasingly desperate. Despite the club’s insistence that their interest in Rabiot was firm prior to Sunday’s season-opening loss to Brighton, the timing appears to be a reactionary move.

And Rabiot’s rap sheet contains numerous items that could cause United to live to regret their decision.

Rabiot was on the verge of breaking into the PSG senior squad after graduating from their academy in 2012.

Rabiot was supposed to travel to Qatar with the team for a mid-season tour, but his mother insisted on accompanying him.

Veronique, Rabiot’s uncompromising agent, enters the picture. After his father, Michel Provost, suffered a stroke in 2007 that left him with locked-in syndrome, she took over his career. Michel is paralysed but fully aware.

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Her insistence on accompanying the tour caused friction, and Rabiot was eventually loaned out to Toulouse.

Even stranger, she allegedly insisted on attending all of their training sessions while there.

Two years later, Rabiot was on the verge of leaving PSG after Laurent Blanc demoted him to the reserves.

Veronique was waiting for Blanc as he left PSG’s Camp des Loges training facility one evening.

‘You can’t treat him like that. ‘I’m not going to agree to that,’ Blanc was told, presumably forcefully.

PSG had no choice but to call in security, but the confrontation appeared to work.

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Rabiot’s contract with PSG was renewed – and on better terms – not long after he failed to secure a move to Roma.

France’s hopes of adding the European Championship to their World Cup glory last year ended when they lost on penalties to Switzerland in the last-16.

Afterwards, an extraordinary video emerged of Veronique confronting Mbappe’s father, Wilfried, after the PSG striker missed the decisive spot-kick.

It is thought she said: ‘It is embarrassing how he struck that, for a player of his level. He hit it too lightly, I hope you are going to scold him.’

Apparently during an earlier discussion, Veronique told Wilfried his son was ‘arrogant’, has a ‘big head’ and gets ‘too much protection from the press.’

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