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



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

De Gea
Rafael, Smalling, Jones, Evra
Valencia, Carrick, Park, Nani
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.

  • 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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