The general media and majority of pundits in England (albeit some with an axe to grind) keep telling us there is a crisis at the biggest club in the land.
There isn’t, but the chances are there will be if Manchester United fail to beat winless Newcastle in the Premier League this weekend.
Rafa Benitez eyes Newcastle United’s first win this season
The truth of the matter is it’s very rare for United to go more than a few games without a win so it’s not uncommon for one media outlet or another to use the word ‘crisis’ or print a photo of the famous club crest with a split down the middle when it happens.
Indeed, I’ve lost count of the times it was done to United during a poor spell of any given campaign in which Sir Alex Ferguson would invariably guide them to yet another piece of silverware and laugh at the over-the-top reaction.
Despite clear strains between a few players and the current incumbent Jose Mourinho which will need to be addressed, United will hope this spell is all too similar.
Good results can change the mood inside a club very quickly. And despite the run of poor form, watch any United game closely and there still seems to be a desire and intensity to play for the manager.
For all his faults, Mourinho can rightly feel let down by some of his players so far. They owe him and themselves some improved showings, starting this weekend.
Now, let me tell you something that most Premier League 2018 news stories with their anti-Mourinho agenda have not told you so far.
Mourinho is one of the few members of staff at the club who has a proven track record of delivering excellence in his position.
He is one of few who seems to want to win so much that his mood and wellbeing depend on it.
Replacing a manager after a few bad results and internal squabbles is the last thing United need as they struggle to find consistent success after the Ferguson empire.
The club’s hierarchy is desperate for him to succeed and have, largely, backed him in the transfer market during his two-and-a-bit years at the club.
Not all the fans like what is deemed to be dysfunctional football at times, but the majority of supporters know there is no one better who is available.
Finally, Mourinho, deep down, knows that he polarises opinion quite like no other and, should he and United part company, he may struggle to get another big job after acrimonious spells at all his immediate previous employers.
As Mourinho’s old rival, Rafa Benitez, prepares to bring his Newcastle team to Old Trafford, there are striking parallels.
Here is another boss with a proven track record who is not just appreciated but also loved by the Geordie fans.
Results have also not gone their way with the Toon Army without a win, in the relegation zone, playing below par football and Benitez’s contract up next summer.
However, in contrast to Mourinho, he has not been backed by club owner Mike Ashley who is a regular target of fans’ ire, even if he has pledged this week to spend in the January transfer market.
Some have even said they would happily let Benitez walk away if it meant Ashley was forced out of the club.
Whether his transfer pledge can encourage the visitors to a famous result this weekend is unclear, but one thing for sure. There’s a clear, considerate warning for both sides: be careful what you wish for!
Last season saw United turn on the style at Old Trafford.
After going behind to a Dwight Gayle goal in November, they ran out 4-1 winners, courtesy of goals from Anthony Martial, Chris Smalling, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku.
It was a very different scenario in the rematch at St James Park in February when a Matt Ritchie goal gave the Toon a memorable win which sparked their confidence to launch a successful survival bid and an eventual 10th-place finish.
||Manchester United vs Newcastle United
||Over 2.75 Goals @ 2.21
|October 7, 00:30 (GMT+8)
Newcastle’s last league victory came on May 14, the final day of last season, so it’s understandable why few us fans will tip them to cause a shock.
Even accounting for their poor form, the Premier League 2018 betting odds point to a home victory with 1X2 on United offering odds of @ 1.47, the draw @ 4.10 and Newcastle @ 6.80.
Likewise, Asian Handicap betting will give you odds on United -1.50 @ 2.49 and Newcastle + 1.00 @ 2.14.
A repeat of last season’s 4-1 scoreline will pay out @ 24.00.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:
| = €20 (Highly confident)
|| = €10 (CONFIDENT)
|| = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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