Newcastle United vs. Manchester United: Three Key Battles

Austin Kevin

Manchester United face Newcastle United at St. James' Park tonight, in what could be a pivotal game for the Reds. This weekend's game starts a crucial four-week period, where United will kick off their Champions League campaign, along with a Premier League fixture against Chelsea crammed in-between.

If that wasn't enough pressure for Ole's men, this is also their first game after the embarrassing 6-1 defeat against Jose Mourinho's Tottenham Hotspur. So let's look at the three key battles to look forward to for the weekend's game.

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Allan Saint-Maximin vs. Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Probably Newcastle's most threatening player, Allan Saint-Maximin can prove to be a difficult customer for Wan-Bissaka. Saint-Maximin is a skillful and tricky winger who can beat his man at any given time and has the necessary quality in the final third.

With a goal and an assist in his last outing against Burnley, Saint-Maximin will be high on confidence and won't shy away from the challenge of taking on Wan-Bissaka.

One positive for United fans to look forward to about this battle is the fact that Wan-Bissaka has generally done a great job at keeping quality wingers quiet, though there isn't a lot of evidence for that this season.

Calum Wilson vs. United's centre-backs

United's biggest problem this year has been its weak centre-back partnership. The fact that we still do not know who their best partnership can be is a testament to that fact. 

Irrespective of who it is in the centre back positions for United, they will have their hands full with the two-striker system that Newcastle usually line-up with and specifically, Calum Wilson.

Wilson joined Newcastle just this summer has seemed to have hit the ground running with 4 goals in 4 games. Wilson will prove to be a handful for United's centre backs and will be pivotal to any success that Newcastle can have in the game.

With a brace in his previous outing and United dismal defending, Wilson will be looking forward to the weekend.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjær vs. Steve Bruce

Solskjaer has come under immense criticism with their poor start to the season. While many were expecting Solskjaer to lead his team to the top 4 this season, they are currently sitting a disappointing 14th in the Premier league table.

Rumors have already surfaced regarding Mauricio Pochettino being lined up to replace Solskjaer as soon as this season. With the tough schedule coming up, Solskjaer must get a good start to this run to give himself and his team the much-needed confidence. 

He must get the better of Steve Bruce this coming weekend. Bruce was not coming into this season with a lot of expectations and has had a better start to the season than Ole's men so far, and anything but a win will make things further difficult for the Norweigian.

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The importance of this game cannot be stressed enough. The lack of backing Ole in the summer shows a lack of trust in him and a poor start hasn't helped his case. 

Though anyone who has genuinely followed United over the past few years can attest to the fact that changing a manager will not solve the core problems at the club, Ed Woodward will not hesitate to pull the plug on what was supposed to be a "long term project with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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