THE resumption of Premier League after the international break has a handful of fixtures with the potential to become full-blown bloody battles, and none more so than the St James Park clash featuring Newcastle United and Manchester United.
This is a coming together of the fifth-placed Magpies and the Red Devils in third place. As fate would have it, a win for the home team would lift Newcastle above Man United, who are just three points ahead of the squad being transformed by Eddie Howe.
Both have an enormous opportunity of finishing in the top four, something that is rewarded with lucrative Champions League football next season and should prove a big enough incentive to get both sides to roll up their sleeves and show just what they are made of.
On any other day, Man United would have started with a massive edge over the club from Tyneside.
But the wind has been knocked out of their sails and they appear to be just as good as any other now.
Much of that is down to the humbling they received in a Liverpool thrashing that saw them concede seven without reply.
Man United bounced back to reach the last eight of the Europa League and the semi-finals of the FA Cup, but in a game like tomorrow’s, not much of that will count.
The Geordies themselves have lost some of their early-season momentum.
They lost their first cup final since 1969, when Man United won the Carabao League Cup in February, and in the league, they won their last two matches, but none of the four before that.
Still, the late winner at Nottingham Forest could well spur this side on against an outfit that will be hoping Marcus Rashford is fit enough to see them through and maintain their grip on third place.
The striker, who missed international duty through injury, has been Man United’s leading light up front, and if Rashford does play and gets going tomorrow, the Magpies might yet find out how dangerous he could be in full flight.
Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope also withdrew from the England setup through injury, as did Chelsea’s Mason Mount.
The Blues will be keen on Mount returning to action as they try to navigate their way past Aston Villa.
Chelsea, who take on Liverpool in midweek, appear to have found some form and the likes of Mount could help them going forward, assuming he is fit.
But it is Wesley Fofana, who joined from Leicester in a £75mil (RM409mil) deal in the off-season, who really stands out as the key player in the rejuvenated side.
The lad has been hampered by injury since his move to Stamford Bridge, and his inclusion would be a big boost for the Blues.
League leaders Arsenal are at home against Leeds United and should continue their march to the title without much fuss.
Mikel Arteta has got his team humming, and it looks like no one can stop them.