Steve Bruce went with Dwight Gayle to replace the injured Callum Wilson in our defeat at Chelsea last Monday. It was the striker’s first start of the season and he got a good run out before being replaced by Joelinton in the 64th minute.
Bruce had hinted during his press conference last week that Gayle would get an opportunity to ‘step up’ during Wilson’s absence. However, Dwight’s performance against Chelsea, perhaps understandably, was ineffective.
The 31-year-old had just one shot and only 16 touches before Joelinton was brought on in his place. As he was in an uncustomary wider role out to the right, he didn’t provide adequate protection for Emil Krafth.
It was a challenging evening for Gayle, who was asked to fill a role that doesn’t really suit him. Bruce was asked during his press conference for Manchester United whether Gayle did enough to warrant another opportunity at Old Trafford. This was his response:
“It was always going to be difficult for Dwight. We’re aware that it was his first start of the season.
“Dwight, at the start of the season, had a knee operation. That’s been, unfortunately, too many of our players.
“So we knew it was going to be a difficult ask for Dwight. But he stuck at it. He got 65 minutes under his belt and we always know he can score a goal.
“He’s got some minutes under his belt which only can help.”
From these comments, Bruce seems to indicate that Gayle is in contention for a second start at Manchester United. Maybe, Bruce will tweak the system to get the best out of Gayle, who does have goals in him.
Newcastle will need to get back on the scoresheet after being blanked by the Blues. Prior to Monday’s defeat, Newcastle had scored 7 goals in our four previous matches.
Manchester United are not as impenetrable as Chelsea, who have yet to be breached under Thomas Tuchel, excluding an own goal at Sheffield.
One area that Newcastle could struggle with on Sunday is keeping the Red Devils quiet in attack. They can score in bunches as we witnessed at St. James’ Park in October.
Last night, they dismantled a good Real Sociedad team 4-0 in the Europa League, which is concerning considering Newcastle are prone to defensive lapses this season.
So Newcastle will have to be much more disciplined at the back while being clinical with their chances to get anything at Old Trafford.