Mark Lawrenson has predicted Newcastle United and Manchester United’s clash on Sunday to end as a 1-1 draw.
The BBC pundit believes Steve Bruce would have made it clear to his squad that their display in the 5-0 loss to Leicester City was unacceptable and due to this Lawrenson expects to see a positive reaction from the Magpies against Man United as a result.
Lawrenson then claimed that he believes some Newcastle United fans who stayed away from the club’s last league game at St James Park against Brighton will return to St James Park to watch their side play Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
“Newcastle waved the white flag at Leicester on Sunday,” wrote Lawrenson in his predictions for BBC Sport.
“They completely capitulated in the second half and I am sure Magpies manager Steve Bruce will have made it clear to his players this week just how unacceptable that was.
“I would expect to see a reaction from them, and I also think some of the Newcastle fans who stayed away from their draw with Brighton will be back for this game.
“Manchester United huffed and puffed their way through their draw with Arsenal on Monday and never really looked like they were good enough to take full control of the game.
“I understand why United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is saying it is going to take time for his side to turn things around but, as well as having a long-term plan, they need to get back to winning ways soon.”
Lawrenson pointed out that Man United huffed and puffed to no avail against Arsenal and seems unconvinced with their current team as a result. So you do feel the pundit is backing the Magpies to get a point not just because he expects them to improve, but because he really doesn’t rate the Red Devils based on their last display. However, you do feel Lawrenson is underestimating just how bad the Magpies were against Leicester City. Bruce’s side were ripped apart by the Foxes and were so woeful against them, that they ended the game with only 31% possession (Source: WhoScored). While it’s true that the Magpies played a lot of the game with 10-men due to Isaac Hayden’s red card, the performance wouldn’t have been overly shocking if 11-men had remained on the pitch. After all the Magpies were dominated by Norwich City earlier in the season, it just so happens the scoreline wasn’t as telling. The Magpies saw only 37% of the ball against the Canaries and were carved open so often that Norwich had 18 efforts at goal (Source: WhoScored), and there was no red card to use an excuse in that game.