Newcastle United are suffering badly for a tough run of fixtures to start their Premier League campaign and find themselves in the bottom three.
Traditionally, a trip to Old Trafford would represent an extension of that challenging start and a game from which it would be unreasonable to expect a result.
However, Rafa Benitez’s old foe Jose Mourinho is under fire. His Manchester United are spluttering and were comprehensively outplayed by West Ham on Saturday afternoon.
That means that Newcastle are making the trip at the perfect time to jolt themselves from their current rut. We’ve looked at why, as well as why Rafa would love to put the boot into Jose…
Newcastle found out last season that this United side is a spluttering attacking unit. They secured a 1-0 home win over the Reds with a strong defensive display and patience to wait for the inevitable mistake.
Wolves and Derby recently went to Old Trafford and got a result. Benitez will go there with less expansive tactics but no less hope of getting at least a point.
Sticking to their task defensively will mean Newcastle get Old Trafford nervous and that is absolutely ideal.
Rafa can stick the boot in
Mourinho and Benitez are famously rivals; their time as Chelsea and Liverpool manager respectively lit the blue touch paper.
That was reignited when Benitez succeeded Mourinho at Inter, without much success. Rafa’s popularity is far superior to Jose’s right now and the Spaniard would love to worsen his old foe’s plight.
He is more than capable of doing exactly that.