Newcastle United return to action away at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, with the Magpies looking to secure a third successive Premier League win, having most recently powered past Brentford with an emphatic 5-1 victory at St James’ Park.
That convincing triumph had come just a week on from another clinical display on the road against newly-promoted Fulham, with Miguel Almiron netting twice as Eddie Howe’s side claimed a 4-1 win against their ten-man opponents.
With nine goals scored across their last two top-flight games, the Tynesiders will likely head into this weekend’s meeting with Manchester United full of confidence, particularly with Erik ten Hag’s side having only recently shipped six away at champions, Manchester City.
Any optimism among the visitors’ ranks may well be tempered somewhat, however, as a result of the presence of a certain Cristiano Ronaldo, with the Portugal international having become something of a nightmare figure for the northeast side over the years.
The veteran marksman currently boasts a stunning record of eight goals and four assists in just 13 meetings with the club across his two spells with the Red Devils, having memorably scored his first Premier League hat-trick against the Magpies in a 6-0 thrashing at the Theatre of Dreams back in 2008.
Newcastle were also the unfortunate opponents for the former Real Madrid man’s United homecoming last season, as the 191-cap superstar almost inevitably stole the headlines to help secure a 4-1 win over Steve Bruce’s side, bagging a brace in front of a raucous home crowd.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner had showcased his poacher’s instinct to tap home just before the break in that encounter, before showing an impressive turn of speed in the second half to lash his effort through the legs of ‘keeper, Freddie Woodman.
While the 37-year-old has suffered something of a drop off in form since then with just two goals in all competitions so far this term – after netting 24 times across all fronts last season – Howe and co may well be concerned that the 6 foot 2 icon is beginning to find his rhythm again, particularly after his recent outing against Everton.
The £515k-per-week menace came off the bench in place of the stricken Anthony Martial to eventually prove the match-winner at Goodison Park, firing home superbly from the angle on his so-called weaker foot for what was his 700th club career goal.
That ridiculous tally showcases just why Ronaldo is something of a “freak of nature” – as per Darren Huckerby – with it set to be no real surprise if he is to add to that haul on Sunday, particularly against an opponent whom he appears to relish coming up against.