After eight anyone?

Robin Van Persie has the chance to make it eight goals in eight games in all competitions when Manchester United take on Newcastle at St. James’ Park today, and a goal from the Dutchman could spare United’s blushes.

For the Red Devils have started poorly so far this season in the Premier League, and defeat today would signal their worse start domestically since 1990. They’ve conceded first in all but one Premiership game so far, and you get the feeling there is only so much Mr Van Persie and co. can do up front.

To say the defence needs sorting out is a massive understatement. They’re leaking goals for fun so far this term, but Sir Alex Ferguson’s men have been plagued by injury in that department. The fact the first choice centre back pairing of Ferdinand and Vidic have only started seven games together in eighteen months tells its own story, and with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones other noticeable absentees, it’s been a dilemma for Ferguson.

However, injuries are one thing; poor defending is another thing. Standing behind the goal that Tottenham scored two first half goals into last week, it was like Moses parting the Red Sea all over again. Especially for Gareth Bale’s goal, Ferdinand was left as a mere bystander as the Welshman skipped by him with consummate ease.

There is no question that United’s forwards are some of the best in Europe, and an eighth consecutive goal from Van Persie may well give them victory today, but they simply cannot afford to give another goal lead away here, because Newcastle will punish you.

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