Manchester United put in yet another cowardly performance on Sunday in the Manchester derby, losing 0-3 to Manchester City at Old Trafford.
The defeat means United have lost as many games as they have won in the Premier League so far, heaping further pressure on manager Erik ten Hag.
The team now have another huge game coming up as they face Newcastle United in a Carabao Cup Round of 16 tie which is a repeat of last season’s final.
Newcastle to rotate
And the news from the opposition states that the Magpies are contemplating rotating the squad with important games in the league and Champions League coming up.
Their hopes of progressing from their Champions League group suffered a blip as they lost at home to Borussia Dortmund while they drew with Wolverhampton Wanderers at the weekend.
The game against United, who are the defending champions of the competition, is a chance to take revenge for their defeat at Wembley last season while also giving them the chance to make the quarterfinals.
However, Eddie Howe has injury problems to deal with as injuries to key forwards could see Newcastle employ a different name upfront.
Alexander Isak is struggling with a groin injury while Callum Wilson’s minutes need to be calculated due to his poor injury record. Howe indicated that he is prepared to play winger Anthony Gordon up front on his own.
“That was one of the reasons for signing Anthony, who can play as a centre-forward, which he did for England at the Euros and did a great job.
“There are others – Harvey Barnes can play up there, although we don’t have him at the moment. Joelinton was also signed as a centre-forward, although we’ve moved his position,” Howe said during the pre-match press conference.
Newcastle are expected to rotate heavily with games against Arsenal and Dortmund coming up in the next 10 days. Whether their squad is up for the challenge will be interesting to see.
“It’s a busy period for us. A lot of games. We look forward to Manchester United next. We’re going to have to utilise our squad, we have another game against Arsenal a couple of days later and then we go to Dortmund.
Eddie Howe to pick new forward?
“To not use our squad would be foolish but that doesn’t mean that we don’t trust and back our squad to be able to go to Old Trafford and try to win the game.
“You can have a game where you lose one or two players and suddenly the outlook on the squad and dynamic of the squad changes but you just have to roll with the punches. You have to absorb the hits and have to find a way, which is what we’ll try to do.
“It’s not ideal for us, especially with the season we have. It’s a totally different feel to last season where we could maybe absorb those hits a bit easier with the week-to-week games.”
Howe also revealed that he expects Ten Hag to rotate a fair bit as well while he praised the Dutchman and United.
Newcastle will be desperate for yet another deep run in the competition but the defending champions need to get their act together.