The eyes of the entire world will be on Manchester United and Newcastle United on Saturday afternoon when Cristiano Ronaldo returns to Old Trafford.
The 36-year-old rejoined the Red Devils at the end of the transfer window and is expected to feature against the Magpies, who themselves will be aiming to pick up their first points of the season.
Man Utd have struggled over the past two games, first drawing with Southampton and then sneaking a late, uninspiring win against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will demand more fluidity and cohesion from his players at the weekend, and they will fancy their chances against an already-in-crisis Newcastle.
Here is 90min’s preview of the big game.
When Is Kick Off? Saturday 11 September
What Time Is Kick Off? 15:00 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Old Trafford
What TV channel is it on? Final Score (BBC – UK), Soccer Saturday (Sky Sports – UK), fuboTV (US)
Highlights? Sky Sports YouTube Channel (UK – 5.15pm) Match of the Day (BBC – UK)
Referee? Anthony Taylor
The news we’re all waiting to learn is: will Ronaldo start against Newcastle? It’s possible that the Portuguese superstar will have to make his debut from the bench on Saturday, having only recently begun training with his teammates – but he’ll be desperate to play the full 90.
Fellow new signing Jadon Sancho has returned to full training after he pulled out of England international duty with a minor knock.
Scott McTominay and Alex Telles have also rejoined the group after injuries of their own, but Marcus Rashford is still missing following shoulder surgery.
The worrying news for Newcastle supporters – other than their poor start to the new season – is the possible absence of star striker Callum Wilson. He has picked up a thigh injury and faces a race against time to return for the trip to Old Trafford.
Karl Darlow and Martin Dubravka are still out injured, so Freddie Woodman will deputise once again in goal. Isaac Hayden is lacking match fitness after suffering a knee injury but he could feature.
Man Utd: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Shaw; Matic, Pogba, Fernandes; Greenwood, Ronaldo, Sancho
Newcastle: Woodman; Fernandez, Lascelles, Schar; Murphy, Willock, Longstaff, Almiron, Ritchie; Saint-Maximin, Wilson
Man Utd have enjoyed facing Newcastle in recent battles, scoring 11 goals in the past three meetings. However, the Red Devils haven’t had it all their own way. The Magpies secured back-to-back 1-0 wins at St James’ Park in 2018 and 2019, even if that run was spoilt by a 4-1 defeat in the last meeting in the North East.
Solskjaer’s side have come out on top in six of the last 10 matches though, and will be overwhelming favourites heading into this clash, given Newcastle’s wretched form and inactivity in the transfer market.
It’s hard to predict anything other than a Man Utd victory on Saturday, and a comfortable one at that. Ronaldo will want to restart his Red Devils career with a goal, and he couldn’t have chosen a more suitable opponent.
90min fancies Man Utd’s recent rich vein of goalscoring form against the Magpies to continue, and for Ronaldo to get in on the act from the off.
Prediction: Man Utd 3-0 Newcastle