The 1-0 FA Cup victory over Sheffield United courtesy of a disputed stoppage-time penalty from Wayne Rooney can’t disguise the fact that it was yet another dire performance from Manchester United.
The pedestrian nature of Manchester United’s attacks and their lack of shots on goal during many matches this season is concerning enough, but Louis Van Gaal’s inability to address the issues must have the Old Trafford hierarchy seriously contemplating his position. If the powers that be had any faith in Ryan Giggs, you get the impression that Van Gaal’s reign would already be consigned to the history books.
On the plus side, at least the Red Devils progressed to the 4th round of the FA Cup. There was no such consolation for Newcastle United, who exited the competition at the 3rd round stage for the fourth consecutive season after a 1-0 defeat at Watford.
Scoring goals has also been a problem for the Geordies this term, with just 19 from their 20 Premier League games to date (with six of those coming in one game against Norwich City). The defeat at Watford was their fourth successive game without finding the back of the net, with each of those matches being lost 1-0.
In fairness to Steve McClaren, he is contending with something of an injury crisis at present and the absences of Papiss Cisse and Emmanuel Riviere has left him with few attacking options. New recruits are apparently being sought, but they won’t be in place in time for this game.
There seems relatively little prospect of there being many goals in this game and the 3/4 (1.75) on offer with BetVictor for under 2.5 goals certainly has some appeal.
However, given that it’s nigh on impossible to back Manchester United with any degree of confidence at present, the preference, even with their own problems, is to back Newcastle on the Asian Handicap at +0.5, +1.
What that equates to is essentially having your stake split equally between two bets. If Newcastle win or draw the game you win the bet in full, if they lose by a one-goal margin then you would get half your stake back and lose the other half. Any defeat by a two-goal margin or more would be a full loss.