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Premier League

  • 4 January 2012
  • • 20:00
  • • St. James' Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • Referee: H. Webb
  • • Attendance: 52299
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Newcastle United - Manchester United Preview: Hosts have not won in 18 league games against champions

The home side look to stop slump of just one win in their last six games against a team they haven't beaten since 2001, while Red Devils need to bounce back from shock loss


PROBABLE LINEUPS

NEWCASTLE UNITED

Krul
Simpson, Coloccini, Williamson, Santon
R Taylor, Cabaye, Tiote, Jonas
Best, Ba
MANCHESTER UNITED

De Gea
Rafael, Smalling, Jones, Evra
Valencia, Carrick, Park, Nani
Rooney
Welbeck
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew’s ever depleting squad was hit with another blow on Friday night when right winger Gabriel Obertan was forced off with a reoccurrence of a toe injury during the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool.

This opens the door for a variety of different possibilities and formations as regular left-back Ryan Taylor could now take Obertan’s place on the right wing, with Davide Santon coming in to fill the gap in defence. Another option is the return of exciting youngster Shane Ferguson to that right-wing role. Pardew could throw us another curveball, something he isn’t afraid to do after such decisions to play Shola Ameobi on the right, and could reinstate Peter Lovenkrands and put him on the right.

It was a very unhappy birthday for Sir Alex Ferguson on Saturday as he saw his side collapse to a 3-2 defeat to bottom club Blackburn. Strange tactical decisions, such as putting Rafael in centre midfield, and another goalkeeping error from David de Gea did not help matters, but Sir Alex must have thought his selection were good enough to beat Steve Kean’s men.

Wayne Rooney is expected to return after he, Jonny Evans and Darron Gibson were reportedly fined and subsequently dropped from the squad for Saturday’s game after poor training performances following a Boxing Day night out.

Chris Smalling, to quote Sir Alex, “should” be ready for kick-off after overcoming tonsillitis. De Gea should keep his place between the posts despite being at fault for Blackburn’s third goal last time out.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • Newcastle have only lost once when Chieck Tiote and Yohan Cabaye have started a game, and that was last Friday’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool.
  • Demba Ba (pictured right) scored 21 goals in just 26 Premier League starts in 2011.
  • Newcastle have won just two of their last 13 home games against Manchester United.
  • Newcastle are yet to win in front of their home fans since the stadium was renamed to the Sports Direct Arena, losing two of three games.
  • Manchester United haven’t lost their opening game of a calendar year since 1996.
  • Manchester United are the only team to score in every game so far this season.
  • Wayne Rooney has scored six goals in his last six appearances away to Newcastle.
  • The visitors are unbeaten in their last 18 Premier League games against Newcastle, winning 13 of them.
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Tim KrulGoalkeeper
2Fabricio ColocciniDefender
3Davide SantonDefender
25Danny SimpsonDefender
6Mike WilliamsonDefender
16Ryan TaylorDefender
6Yohan CabayeMidfielder
18Jonas GutierrezMidfielder
24Cheikh TioteMidfielder
9Demba BaStriker
23Shola AmeobiStriker
22Stephen HarperGoalkeeper
14James PerchMidfielder
10Hatem Ben ArfaMidfielder
29Haris VuckicMidfielder
20Leon BestStriker
25Gabriel ObertanStriker
28Sammy AmeobiStriker
13Anders LindegaardGoalkeeper
3Patrice EvraDefender
4Phil JonesDefender
5Rio FerdinandDefender
13Ji-Sung ParkMidfielder
16Michael CarrickMidfielder
17NaniMidfielder
25Antonio ValenciaMidfielder
9Dimitar BerbatovStriker
10Wayne RooneyStriker
1David de GeaGoalkeeper
2RafaelDefender
8AndersonMidfielder
6Paul PogbaMidfielder
53Jesse LingardMidfielder
14Javier HernándezStriker
19Danny WelbeckStriker
Players to Watch
Demba Ba
Demba Ba
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0

The striker will leave a huge hole in Pardew’s team when he leaves for the Africa Cup of Nations next week, having scored more than 60 per cent of his side’s goals this season. The 26-year-old will be looking to go out with a bang before being away for up to four weeks and not many would bet against him taking advantage of recent hesitations in the champions' defence.

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
1 1 0 0

After being dropped by his manager, Rooney will be looking for blood against a side he traditional does very well against. That, coupled with the re-emergence of Dimitar Berbatov, means Rooney will be desperate to impress.

Prediction

Last time these two met, Newcastle managed a fortuitous 1-1 at Old Trafford, with the hosts managing 29 shots to their opponents’ eight. The home side have suffered a slump of late winning just one, and losing four, of their last six games and I cannot see them turning that record around on Wednesday.

The champions suffered arguably the shock of the season on Saturday, losing to bottom club Blackburn at home, but, as is always with Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, they right a wrong immediately and will be looking to get back into gear ahead of their FA Cup tie against rivals Manchester City.

Editor's Prediction

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