Against the bigger picture of Newcastle and Man United fans uniting angrily protesting the Premier League's introduction of Pay Per View football that I wrote about in my last blog here with many instead donating to their local FoodBank in accordance with a #CharityNotPPV campaign & Marcus Rashford MBE campaigning for hungry children , The Magpies take on The Red Devils at St. James' Park at 8pm on Saturday night.
Steve Bruce described Man United as "wounded" from their 6-1 drubbing at Old Trafford at the hands of former manager Jose Mourinho before the international break against the Spurs team that Newcastle came away with a point from at The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Things didn't improve in the international break for Ole Gunnar Solskjær when his Captain Harry Maguire was sent off for England after an awful game against Denmark that saw him head for an early bath after a horrendous challenge that could have been a red card itself that was quickly followed by a second yellow card-worthy foul and the inevitable sending off.
Newcastle have their tails up and form on their side after cruising past Burnley 3-1 thanks to the magic of Allan Saint-Maximin, who scored the opener and burst past a bewildered defence to help seal a win that continued a good start to the season for The Magpies who were 6th in The Premier League overnight and are now 9th top.
The talismanic, Man of the Match display from Saint-Maximin, who is officially the most direct attacker in The Premier League:
is typical of the player he has become under Steve Bruce's tutelage since joining Newcastle last summer and he was rewarded with a bumper new six-year contract this week which underlined his importance to The Magpies cause:
Newcastle have more than one match-winner on their books as Ryan Fraser proved for Scotland mid-week scoring the only goal of the game against The Czech Republic just as he did vs Blackburn on his Newcastle debut in The Carabao Cup:
Fraser's Man of the Match display for his country followed hot on the heels of a blazing substitute appearance for Newcastle in the latter stage of that Burnley game, when he managed to win a penalty converted by partner-in-crime Callum Wilson, proving the equation that Wilson plus Fraser equals goals with Wilson equalling Sir Les Ferdinand's record of scoring four goals in his first four Premier League games for the club:
After a frustrating period on the sidelines since lockdown in March, Fraser is raring to go for both The Toon and The Tartan Army and has given Head Coach Steve Bruce the kind of selection dilemma every manager craves and Fraser reiterated a desire to start:
"It's been difficult because I spent seven or eight months not playing football.
"I come in and scored on my debut for Newcastle (vs Blackburn in League Cup).
"I have not been involved as much as I wanted to.
And I need to get into the team, who are doing well with seven points, to get into the plans (for Scotland) next month and I need to do well.
"I want to play next month, score and want us to win (vs Serbia)."
Despite the welcome return of Ciaran Clark, Paul Dummett & Matty Longstaff - matchwinner last season when the two Uniteds met, to full training - the trio won't be ready for the match tomorrow to bolster the backline although returning club Captain Jamal Lascelles could partner Argentinian rock Fede Fernandez after Fabian Schar recovers from his international trip when he was sent off for Switzerland against Germany.
Meanwhile, Man Utd's big summer signing Donny Van Der Beek scored his first ever international goal for Holland midweek against The Azurri of Italy no less so he will be primed for a start against The Magpies having impressed for The Red Devils mainly from the bench so far since arriving from Ajax for £35M.
Yet its at the back and in defence where Man United have real problems with Maguire suffering a Phil Jones-esque crisis of confidence and decline in the rarefied atmosphere of intense scrutiny and pressure in the Old Trafford bubble which has accelerated since his summer scandal in Mykonos, Greece that is heavily affecting his on-pitch form:
A convenient 'knock' Solskjaer mentioned Maguire picking up on England duty is expected to take him out of the firing line on the advice of Rio Ferdinand and others in the game & unless the Man United manager is playing mind games, new defensive signings Facundo Pellistri and Alex Telles are also out joining quarantining Edison Cavani & suspended Anthony Martial on the sidelines.
Solksjaer is reportedly on the managerial ropes with stories he is a game away from the sack with Mauricio Pochettino waiting in the wings to take over amid rumours senior players and big names are dismayed at his training methods.
Sean Longstaff is missing for Newcastle through illness so it'll be JonJo Shelvey and Isaac Hayden bossing the Magpies midfield as per with Joelinton continuing to flourish in his well-suited left-side role alongside the in-form duo of Saint-Maximin and Fraser just behind Wilson.
The experienced Steve Bruce is cautiously expecting a tough game against the club with which he made his great name in the game with Premier League titles and Cups galore against a squad valued at £800M compared to his own squad's £200M:
Man United have always got players who can hurt you but something is definitely rotten in Denmark and its a game Newcastle often really turn up for with some famous wins over the years - 5-0 under Kevin Keegan, 4-3 under Bobby Robson and 3-0 under Alan Pardew in 2011/2 - and if Newcastle pick up where they left off, could be looking at 10 points from 15 games at 10pm Saturday night.
Fortune Favours The Brave and with Saint-Maximin, Wilson and Fraser in red-hot form, Bruce's team could be too hot to handle for The Red Devils as long as referee Craig Pawson and VAR Lee Mason don't swing things to the Red corner..
Prediction - Newcastle 4 Man United 2