‘I do think’: Mark Lawrenson reveals his prediction for Newcastle v Man United
Mark Lawrenson looks ahead to Newcastle United's home clash against Man United in the Premier League on Monday night
Mark Lawrenson is backing Manchester United to make it four wins in a row in the Premier League with a 2-0 victory away to Newcastle United on Monday night.
The Red Devils are two games behind most of their closest rivals in the Premier League table after having had their last two fixtures against Brentford and Brighton postponed due to Covid-19.
Manchester United currently sit in sixth place in the Premier League table and five points behind fourth-placed Arsenal – but Ralf Rangnick’s side can move above the Gunners if they win their two games in hand.
Newcastle United, meanwhile, are firmly locked in a relegation battle, with Eddie Howe’s men 19th in the table and having lost their last three games on the spin in the top flight.
Former Liverpool FC defender Lawrenson is backing the Red Devils to heap yet more pressure on Howe by claiming a 2-0 away win at St James’ Park on Monday night.
Writing in his column for BBC Sport, Lawrenson said: “Eddie Howe has improved Newcastle, but not enough to get them many more points than they already had. Yes, he brought them their first win of the season but they are still losing a lot of games. They have left themselves a mammoth task to stay up.
“Lose this too and they will have earned 10 points from their first 19 games. If they are going to reach the usual 40-point mark that guarantees safety, they will need 30 points from their last 19 games which, if you look at the table now, is more-or-less top-six form.
“They might not need 40 points of course, but it won’t be far off it – and even reaching 35 points, which has been what teams have needed for survival in two of the past three seasons, will take a phenomenal effort from here.
“If they carry on picking up points at the same rate as they have been under Howe, they will end up on 24 points and will be relegated.
“I know they have got the January transfer window to improve the team but getting that right will be a challenge in itself, and they have put themselves under huge pressure to recruit properly. They can’t hang about either because they have got huge games against Watford and Leeds in the middle of that month.
“I do think this game will end in another defeat for the Magpies too. Yes, they were competitive at Anfield, and they also had a big decision go against them against Manchester City, but the facts are they were just not good enough defensively to get anything out of either game.
“I’m expecting a similar story here. Manchester United have had a couple of weeks off since their last game because of a Covid-19 outbreak, but their training ground reopened this week and Ralph Rangnick will have been working them hard. They will be going to St James’ Park to win.”
Speaking in the lead-up to Monday’s clash, interim boss Rangnick revealed that Paul Pogba is currently the only absentee in the Manchester United squad, with the France international still recovering from a knock picked up while on duty with his national side.
“Today we had 25 outfield players [in training],” Rangnick said on Thursday. “Paul Pogba is the only one missing, everyone else was on board. The development in the last week was extremely positive.”
It means that the Red Devils could be set to welcome back Raphael Varane and Edinson Cavani back into the fold ahead of Monday’s trip to St James’ Park.