Newcastle United host an inconsistent Manchester United side at St James’ Park this afternoon, and manager Steve Bruce will be hoping to end a horrendous personal streak against The Red Devils.
He may be an Old Trafford icon thanks to a prestigious career there as a player, but since stepping into coaching, he’s suffered heavily at the hands of his former employers.
That might not seem surprising considering his previous teams managed, but it’s a little more shocking when you learn he has had 22 attempts to do so in his managerial career so far.
Even more sickening is that in these 22 attempts, Bruce’s sides have only managed a draw on five occasions, averaging a pitiful 0.23 points per match.
It’s the sort of reading that doesn’t fill you with confidence going into the fixture, but do these stats alone tell the full story?
Examining Bruce’s record
To be fair to Bruce, a Premier League CV which includes Hull, Sunderland, Wigan and Birmingham was never going to score too many victories against The Red Devils.
It’s important to remember that these matches span from 2002 to 2015, a period of time in which Man United won six PL titles, and where a win for one of Bruce’s sides would have been an incredibly rare blip and a total upset.
And it seems like Bruce may have been unlucky not to have a few more draws under his belt.
From these stats it appears that Bruce has often set up his team’s to frustrate Man United in the past, looking to grind out at least a point.
The fact his sides have only scored 10 goals collectively across those 22 matches is a testament to that.
Bruce’s teams have actually failed to score at all in 15 of their 22 clashes with The Red Devils, which doesn’t bode well for low-scoring Newcastle.
However Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Man United are a different beast to Sir Alex Ferguson’s outfit, and have been very inconsistent during his spell in the dugout.
They’ve conceded seven goals in seven games this season and scored just nine times, not exactly the sort of team you need to park the bus for.
They’ve also failed to win an away match in their last eight attempts, drawing three and losing four.
If the Toon can recover from their confidence shattering defeat last weekend, they’re certainly in with a shot.
Bruce on his Man United record
In his pre-match press conference on Friday, Bruce commented on his past failings against Man United and how things may be different for him this time around.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Bruce said: “I don’t think I’ve ever beaten them which is a worry, but to come up against them is a big occasion.
“Yes, they might not be the Manchester United of the past, but they’ve still got some very good players and we’re going to have to be better than we were last week.
“It’s a wonderful time to play them because it’s a full house live on TV, if you have to bounce back against anybody, what better way than against them?”
It appears then that Bruce himself is fairly positive going into the fixture and if there was ever a time to get the Man United monkey off his back, it’s now.