The Magpies head into the game looking for their first Old Trafford win since December 2014 and only a second win at the home of Red Devils during the Premier League era. Indeed, Newcastle have emerged pointless from away days against the 13-time Premier League champions in all but one of their last seven visits, conceding 21 goals in the process.
But the Magpies are showing signs of genuine progress in recent weeks and they could leapfrog their hosts with a win and could even end the weekend in the Champions League places if results elsewhere go their way.
Eddie Howe’s men have lost just one of their opening nine Premier League fixtures so far this season and have shown they can challenge the best sides in the league after putting in eye-catching displays against Manchester City and Liverpool.
Merson admitted he believes Manchester United will have to ‘be at their best’ if they want continue their own push for Europe - but insisted Newcastle are more than capable of emerging with all three points.
He told SportKeeda: ‘I like the way Newcastle are playing at the moment – they absolutely dismantled Fulham last week. You’ve got to give them credit – they’ve got the players and have pace on the counter.
“Erik ten Hag will have to play Cristiano Ronaldo now, won’t he? Ronaldo, in my opinion, is the best finisher in the world. You don’t score 700 goals by not being able to finish. You give him chances, and he scores goals. He makes the hardest things in the world look very easy.
“I think Casemiro needs some time. There’s a lot yet to come from him. This game is very different to the Everton fixture, and United will need to be at their best.
“I’m not too sure about this game, and that’s a big compliment for Newcastle. I’m going to go for a shock this weekend. Newcastle have the players in their team to hurt Manchester United. They’ve got the game to beat United, but they’ll need to pick the right pass. If they stick to Eddie Howe’s plan and execute it like they have been over the last couple of weeks, I think they’ll win 2-1.”