Newcastle United vs Manchester United preview: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seeks fourth win
Watch Newcastle vs Man Utd live from 7.30pm on Wednesday on Sky Sports Premier League
Last Updated: 02/01/19 6:31pm
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will look to emulate Sir Matt Busby by winning his opening four games as Manchester United manager when his team travels to face Newcastle on Wednesday night.
Solskjaer has impressively seen off Cardiff, Huddersfield and Bournemouth and will become only the second manager in United's history to win his first four league matches, after Busby in 1946, with a victory at St James' Park.
Newcastle arguably pose the greatest challenge of Solskjaer's tenure to date, with the visitors without a win on Tyneside since March 2015.
Furthermore, Rafael Benitez has won each of his last four home games in charge of English clubs against Manchester United in all competitions, twice with Liverpool, once with Chelsea and also with the Magpies last season.
Newcastle defender Federico Fernandez is a doubt for the clash with rejuvenated Manchester United.
The Argentinian limped out Saturday's 1-1 draw at Watford at half-time with a hip injury and will be assessed, while potential replacement Ciaran Clark continues to battle an ankle problem which has kept him out of the last three games.
Midfielder Jonjo Shelvey returned from a thigh injury as a substitute at Vicarage Road and will hope for a first start since November 2 in the absence of Ki Sung-yueng, who is on international duty with South Korea.
Florian Lejeune has been pencilled in for his return from a knee ligament injury in Saturday's FA Cup third-round clash with Blackburn.
Marcus Rashford is a doubt for the trip to St. James' Park after picking up a groin injury in the win against Bournemouth.
Solskjaer will be without Eric Bailly after he was shown a straight red card for a lunge on Bournemouth's Ryan Fraser.
Alexis Sanchez is expected to feature after shaking off a hamstring injury, but Scott McTominay, Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling are out.
- Newcastle beat Manchester United 1-0 at St. James' Park in the Premier League last season; they haven't won back-to-back home league games against the Red Devils since 1987.
- Manchester United have only lost one of their last eight league games against Newcastle United (W5 D2), although that was their last visit to St. James' Park in February 2018 (0-1).
- Paul Pogba is looking to become only the second Man Utd player to score two or more goals in three consecutive Premier League appearances after Cristiano Ronaldo in December 2006.
- Manchester United have only lost their first Premier League match in a calendar year in two of the last 22 years (W14 D6 L2), but one of those defeats came at St. James' Park against Newcastle (0-3 in 2012).
- Manchester United have won 67 of their 99 Premier League games in January - 15 more than any other team has won in the month.
- Newcastle have lost seven of their 10 home Premier League games this season (W2 D1) - only in 2012-13 (9) and 2013-14 (8) have they lost more at St James' Park in a single campaign in the competition.
We are watching Manchester United again. I don't think they were that fussed before. To turn it on like they do now, Paul Pogba's scoring goals in the six-yard box - I've not seen him in there since the start of the season. Is the manager saying don't do that? Jose Mourinho's one of the best managers in the world, surely you don't tell a player not to play.
They have got freedom, Nemanja Matic has passed the ball forward more times in the last three games than I've seen him do even when he was at Chelsea. Everyone's willing to make runs without the ball and it's refreshing.
Newcastle will put 10 behind the ball, it's as simple as that, and try to play for a 0-0 and a set play. If they open the game up, I dread to think what the score will be. Bournemouth played high against United, but Cardiff sat back and they still played great football - they have got runners and when you do that, it's a threat and they've got major pace.
MERSE SAYS: 1-3 (11/1 with Sky Bet)
Watch Newcastle vs Man Utd live from 7.30pm on January 2 on Sky Sports Premier League