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Sir Alex Ferguson opts for an ultra-attacking lineup as the Red Devils aim to keep pace with Manchester City and Chelsea at the top of the Premier League

Strikers Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck all start for Manchester United's visit to St James' Park to face Newcastle in this afternoon's Premier League encounter.

The Red Devils have made three changes from the team that won 2-1 against CFR Cluj in midweek, welcoming back Michael Carrick, Shinji Kagawa and Danny Welbeck into their first eleven.

Sir Alex Ferguson has named the same back four with David De Gea also keeping his spot in goal, while Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Welbeck all feature in the same side in an attacking United line-up.

Meanwhile, Davide Santon, Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa and Demba Ba all return for the hosts after sitting out Thursday night's 3-0 Europa League win against Bordeaux.

Youngster Shane Ferguson also comes in at right-back to replace Danny Simpson, to form a patched-up back four with the absences of Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor.

Newcastle starting XI:
Harper; Santon, Williamson, Perch, Ferguson; Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Tiote, Gutierrez; Ba, Cisse
Subs: Alnwick, Simpson, Bigirimana, Anita, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi

Manchester United starting XI: De Gea; Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra; Rooney, Carrick, Cleverley, Kagawa; Van Persie, Welbeck
Subs: Lindegaard, Hernandez, Wooton, Scholes, Anderson, Giggs, Valencia

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