Newcastle United fans must be begging for the new season to come to a swift and painless end as quickly as possible.
Two defeats and a draw from the opening three matches were topped off by a miserable transfer window, which saw the return of Joe Willock on a permanent deal, and the signing of Goal! regen Santiago Munez – sorry – Munoz.
Steve Bruce is already under pressure, with the home faithful demanding his sacking during the first half of their first second game of the season – a 2-2 draw with Southampton. He needs to pick up points fast, but a trip to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United and Cristiano Ronaldo is far from ideal.
How will he set up? Here’s 90min’s predicted lineup for Newcastle at Old Trafford.
Freddie Woodman (GK) – Injuries to Martin Dubravka and Karl Darlow have thrown Woodman into the deep end, but he’s doing a credible job between the sticks.
Federico Fernandez (CB) – On the right of the back three, Fernandez will be hoping to help his backline see out a positive result this time round. No last-gasp heartbreak, please.
Jamal Lascelles (CB) – The leader of the backline, but he’ll need to step up. Lascelles gave away the penalty to throw away two points against Saints, so he’s got plenty of making up to do.
Fabian Schar (CB) – Completing the defence is Schar, who did not feature in Switzerland’s impressive 0-0 draw with European champions Italy during the international break.
Jacob Murphy (RWB) – Worked his way into Bruce’s plans with his high energy and tendency to cross. Could struggle against Man Utd’s wide men, though.
Joe Willock (CM) – He dug Newcastle out of a hole on countless occasions towards the end of last season, and Willock will want to get among the goals as quickly as possible this year, too.
Sean Longstaff (CM) – Could start in Isaac Hayden’s absence yet again, against a team that once took a serious interest in the previously-valued £50m midfielder.
Miguel Almiron (CM) – A hard worker and someone who can relieve pressure on an overstretched and overworked defence. Doesn’t get the chance to demonstrate his attacking flair all too often, though.
Matt Ritchie (LWB) – A committed and passionate character in this side, who gives his all every week. Not a natural wing-back, but does the job as best he can.
Callum Wilson (ST) – It’s a race against time for Wilson to return from injury, and Bruce will be desperate for him to make a recovery and start against the Red Devils. His clinical finishing is sorely missed when he’s not there.
Allan Saint-Maximin (ST) – The magic man. All hopes rest on Saint-Maximin to create something against this Man Utd side, and he’ll need to delve deep into his box of tricks.