December 24, 2014

Now that Manchester United new boy Memphis Depay has announced his arrival with a stylish brace, it's time for captain Wayne Rooney to get off the mark.

Rooney is still in search of his first shot on target for the Red Devils heading into Saturday's lunch-time kick-off against Newcastle United at Old Trafford.

Manchester United claimed a 3-1 first-leg Champions League victory over Bruges on Tuesday behind Memphis, who scored twice before half-time with two brilliant curling efforts that drew praise from his manager and Dutch compatriot.

"I want to kiss him tonight," Louis van Gaal said. "When you score two goals and the assist also, normally in the world you are the hero."

Rooney played 84 minutes before being substituted as he again failed to hit the target. He is now searching for his first competitive goal for United since April 4, making it a nine-game drought going back to last season.

''I've experienced this before and the goals will come, I know that,'' Rooney said. ''I've had one bad game this season and everyone's all over it. I know I've had that throughout my career but hopefully at the weekend I can get off the mark.''

United enjoyed advantages of 19-1 in overall shots and 9-1 to efforts on target Tuesday. They have three shots on target in two Premier League matches for the second-lowest total.

Though they finally conceded Tuesday, the back four of Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw have played every minute of all three contests. They have allowed 14 shots for the lowest total in the Premier League.

"That togetherness and that work ethic is showing on the pitch now because we are not letting that many chances in," Smalling told the club's official website.

The Red Devils have won their opening two fixtures for the first time since opening 2011-12 with five straight victories.

Van Gaal's side are on a seven-match unbeaten run in the league and will be without the suspended Marouane Fellaini.

Newcastle are unsure of the status of Moussa Sissoko, who was replaced at half-time of last Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Swansea City due to a muscle strain. The Frenchman has an outside chance of featuring.

The Magpies believe there is a chance that Florian Thauvin will be available for selection after the Marseille winger was signed to a five-year deal.

"Florian will get the fans excited by scoring goals and putting goals on a plate for other people," boss Steve McClaren told the club's official website. "He certainly has the potential and capabilities to do that, and we are excited about him coming in."

Defender Daryl Janmaat is suspended after being sent off in the first half in Wales. Midfielder Siem de Jong is expected back after missing the one game with a shin injury.

Former Manchester United midfielder Gabriel Obertan is in line for his first Premier League start at Old Trafford since a 1-1 draw Nov. 26, 2011.

Newcastle have now been outscored 18-1 in losing seven straight away Premier League matches.

The Magpies have two wins and five draws in their last 25 league meetings with the Red Devils. Newcastle have won once in their last 21 in the league at Old Trafford.

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