Alexis Sanchez, Paul Pogba, Antonio Valencia, David De Gea

This week at United: Big games to begin 2019

Monday 31 December 2018 09:30

As we close the door on 2018 and enter a new calendar year, there's plenty to look forward to at Manchester United in the first week of 2019, including two tasty fixtures for the first team and a return to action for our women's side.

Here's our guide to what lies ahead for the Reds...

As the players recover from Sunday’s 4-1 win over Bournemouth, two club legends will be celebrating their birthdays on New Year’s Eve. Former manager Sir Alex Ferguson turns 77, while ex-Reds captain Steve Bruce is 58. It also marks 19 years to the day since the first team trained at The Cliff in Salford for the last time before the January 2000 move to Carrington, which was later renamed the Aon Training Complex.

As we enter 2019, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will step up his side’s preparations for Wednesday’s match against Newcastle United, while midfielder Andreas Pereira will celebrate his 23rd birthday. New Year’s Day also marks 49 years since George Best made his final appearance for United in a 3-0 defeat at QPR (1974) and 112 years since Billy Meredith and Sandy Turnbull made their debuts for the Reds (1907). Turnbull scored the winner in a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa at Bank Street in the old First Division in 1907.

Sir Alex celebrates his 77th birthday on New Year's Eve.

The Reds take to the field for the first time in the New Year when making the trip to Tyneside to face Newcastle United at St. James’ Park (kick-off 20:00 GMT). MUTV subscribers will be able to enjoy 90 minutes of build-up from 18:30 GMT, followed by live radio commentary and then exclusive match reaction. Meanwhile, Reds defender Tim Fosu-Mensah, who is currently on loan at Fulham, celebrates his 21st birthday.

A day of recuperation from the Newcastle match, ahead of the weekend’s home match against Reading. Elsewhere, former United defender Jonny Evans – who is now at Leicester City – turns 31.

If it's press conference day as usual, then OIe Gunnar Solskjaer will brief the media at the Aon Training Complex, at a time to  be confirmed, as he looks forward to facing Reading in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup. Meanwhile, two days on from our latest trip to St. James' Park, Friday marks seven years since a piece of Reds history was created there - albeit in a disappointing 3-0 defeat. In that game on 4 January 2012, Ryan Giggs broke Sir Bobby Charlton's record for the most starts in a United shirt by making his 757th.

The Reds take on Championship side Reading in our first home match of 2019, looking to book a place in the fourth round as we set our sights on eventually reaching the Emirates FA Cup final for the second successive season. MUTV subscribers can enjoy 90 minutes of build-up from Old Trafford from 11:00 GMT ahead of the 12:30 GMT kick-off. Elsewhere, the Reds completed the signing of Nemanja Vidic from Russian outfit Spartak Moscow on this day in 2006, while the late Bill Foulkes was born on this day in 1932.

United Women return to action after a three-week break for Christmas as Casey Stoney’s team welcome London Bees Ladies to Leigh Sports Village in the FA Women’s Championship (kick-off 14:00 GMT). The match falls on the day that defender Kirsty Smith celebrates her 25th birthday. Match tickets are on sale now by visiting They are priced at £5 (£2.50 for U16s/65+).

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