It seems nigh on impossible that Steve Bruce will achieve his second ever managerial win against Manchester United on Saturday, but stranger things have happened.

Newcastle go into Saturday’s clash with the limelight very much on Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of his second debut for Manchester United.

Going under the radar will suit the Magpies in what will no doubt be a taxing afternoon at Old Trafford.

With the number of question marks surrounding players availability increasing (BBC Sport), Bruce will be fearful of taking a battering which would then bring an inevitable backlash.

But he will also know that if he sets his side up to park the bus and comes away quietly relieved that they only lost by a couple of goals, he will be criticised for not showing any ambition.

Freddie Woodman against Ronaldo

Newcastle United v West Ham United - Premier League
(Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

After becoming the all-time international top goalscorer, Ronaldo will be eager to start his second Red Devils chapter with a bang.

The 36-year-old could be up against Newcastle goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, who only made his Premier League debut last month.

Despite conceding eight goals in three league games, Woodman has already shown his penalty saving exploits by denying Premier League top goalscorer Michail Antonio in the opening weekend 4-2 defeat to West Ham United.

 

Ronaldo did have a penalty saved against the Republic of Ireland last week by 19-year-old Gavin Bazunu.

Although Bruno Fernandes takes spotkicks for Man United, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Ronaldo step up if Anthony Taylor awards the home side a penalty.

What a moment it could be if Woodman could shutout the great Cristiano Ronaldo.

Woodman will need help

Newcastle United v West Ham United - Premier League
(Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Across the three games so far this season, only three sides have allowed more shots on their goal (13) than Newcastle. They are Burnley (16), Leeds and Arsenal (both 18) according to FBREF.

Newcastle are going to be coming up against a formidable interchanging forward line which will test the Magpies’ defence in every possible way.

Woodman is probably going to have the game of his life to ensure Bruce’s side come away with a result, but the only way he’ll be able to do that is if the players in front put their bodies on the line and leave everything out on Old Trafford.

The footballing world is expecting Ronaldo to grab the headlines on Saturday afternoon, but there is no doubt that Woodman has already dreamt about producing a match-winning performance to deny the five time Ballon d’Or winner.

Have something to tell us about this article?