Manchester United will be looking to bounce back from their 3-1 defeat against West Ham United when they take on Newcastle United at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Newcastle will be hoping to earn their first three points of the season with Rafael Benitez’s men currently winless in the Premier League.
After a tough game versus Valencia in the Champions League during midweek, Jose Mourinho could now make changes as Manchester United return to domestic duties with midfielder Fred a possible candidate to be brought in.
And if so, the Brazilian could do battle in the middle of the park with another summer signing in Newcastle’s Ki Sung-yueng.
So how do the two midfield men compare ahead of their potential encounter?
Last summer, Nemanja Matic was brought in from Chelsea as Mourinho looked to bolster Manchester United in defensive midfield and add someone to the starting XI who could bring the best out of Paul Pogba.
However, the Portuguese coach was still unable to unlock the full potential of his French midfielder that season, and has since brought in Fred in another attempt to bring balance to the Red Devils in the middle of the park.
Fred, though, has yet to make the sort of impact his manager and supporters would have hoped for.
The Brazil international has added a bit more energy to the side when he has been on the pitch but, collectively, his addition does not look like it is enough for Manchester United to go toe-to-toe with the midfields of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea and come out on top.
There is still plenty of time for Fred’s influence to grow but, considering the sort of money the Red Devils paid Shakhtar Donetsk for his services, more would have been expected at this point from the 25-year-old.
TT Grade: C
Like Fred, Ki has yet to make a mark in his new surroundings. The 29-year-old has only made two Premier League appearances thus far, which came in defeats against Chelsea and Manchester City where Newcastle were absolutely dominated.
With that in mind, Ki has not really been given the platform to showcase his talents in a Newcastle shirt.
One of the South Korea international’s strongest attributes is his passing but, given how little of the ball Newcastle saw in their fixtures with Chelsea and Manchester City, he simply did not have the environment to thrive in.
With a manager of Benitez’s calibre at the helm, the expectation is for not only results to get better, but for Newcastle to start getting more of a grip of games.
And when they do, a player in Ki’s mould could prove to be a useful asset to have.
TT Grade: C-
Ultimately, it has been pretty slow starts to the campaign for both Fred and Ki with neither player looking like the first name on the team-sheet.
Going forward, though, Fred clearly has the higher ceiling given the level he is at now and the fact that he is still 25 years of age.
Therefore, the former Shakhtar Donetsk man wins this midfield battle.
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