Manchester United v Newcastle 12:45PM 22/08/2015
When Manchester United conceded an early own goal against Club Bruges in their Champions League qualifier on Tuesday night you could sense the dread among fans that this was going to be one of those nights.
But Memphis Depay showed what he can do with two vital goals and a trademark Fellaini header ensured that they take a healthy 3-1 lead into the away leg.
What are we to make of this early season United side?
Clearly the loss of so many good players is going to affect them. With Di Maria, Falcao and Robin Van Persie off to sunnier climes they are not the attacking force that they have promised to be for so long under manager Louis Van Gaal and with the desperate form of Wayne Rooney they are struggling to find consistency.
Nine games without a goal have thrust the spotlight on the England player who looked a shadow of his former self against Aston Villa – touching the ball just once in the opposing area. Rooney will be 30 in October and questions are already being asked of his longevity.
For me Clive, the only consistency where Rooney is concerned is his ability to flatter to deceive. There have been great career highs but you always feel that he could have achieved so much more. How could he play so badly against Villa?
With Rooney being but a passenger and goalkeeper De Gea watching matches from the stands because of his contract situation no wonder there is no spark on the pitch.
The reality for United is that they have picked up two scrawny wins in the same fashion as Liverpool and the visit of Newcastle on Saturday will give them more time to try and find a better permutation of their playing staff.
Newcastle are another side with big problems of their own to solve. They looked desperate against Swansea last week and Old Trafford will be one of the last places Steve Mclaren would want to go when you are scratching around for any kind of form.
Newcastle have conceded two or more goals in 7 of their last nine games and have only won once in their last 13.
Mclaren has the experience to steady the ship but confidence is low and there is still frantic transfer activity to take into account.
Two teams with player squad problems but with United having home advantage, Depay looking like the real deal and fringe players like Januzaj and Fellaini chipping in I think United will win this game.