St James’ Park, Newcastle upon Tyne
April 05, 2014; 15:00 BST
Newcastle United host Manchester United at the St James’ Park as they look to complete the first double over Manchester United in the league since the 1930-31 season. But both these sides are heading into this match on the back of contrasting form and results.
Newcastle United are currently ninth in the table and have a chance to go above Southampton if they lose their early kick-off against Manchester City and the Magpies manage a win over Manchester United, like they did at Old Trafford earlier this season. But they have won only four of their last 15 matches in the league and are coming into this match on the back of two heavy defeats against Everton and Southampton. With Stoke City catching up on them, Alan Pardew must install some belief back into his men or they could drop out of the top half of the table by the end of this season.
Manchester United on the other hand have bounced back well from their disappointing loss in the Manchester derby with two wonderful results – against Aston Villa and Bayern Munich. They perhaps produced their most spirited performance during the midweek Champions League clash against the reigning European champions. They are also undefeated in their last four away matches in the league and they will come into this game with a lot of confidence and a chance to overtake Tottenham Hotspur, who don’t play till Monday.
Team news and tactics
Alan Pardew has a long injury list to contain with ahead of this fixture – something which has contributed to Newcastle’s recent poor run of form. Mathieu Debuchy, whose last appearance was in the 1-4 defeat against Hull City last month, and Loic Remy are still out injured. The duo is expected to return ahead of their match against Stoke City next week.
Moussa Sissoko and Tim Krul, who picked up an injury in the match against Everton, are still two weeks away from returning to first team action and are in line to feature in Newcastle’s match against Swansea City. Shola Ameobi (Who featured on the bench against Southampton), Ryan Taylor and Gabriel Obertan are yet to regain full match fitness and are unlikely to play any part against Manchester United. The good news for Newcastle United is the return of Davide Santon, whose last start was in the 0-4 loss against Tottenham back in February, after he made an appearance as a substitute against Southampton.
Alan Pardew has limited options at his disposal currently despite slump and will make only two changes to the starting line-up he used in the last game. Luuk de Jong will start behind Papiss Cisse, replacing the injured Moussa Sissoko. Davide Santon is expected to start in this game as the left back as Massadio Haidara drops back to the bench.
Newcastle have conceded seven goals in the last two matches and Alan Pardew will be concerned about his defence at the back. They have also struggled for goals since the absence of Loic Remy and have scored only one goal in their last four matches (three goals in their last eight home games). Leaky defence and toothless attack is something Pardew will have to sort out soon enough. Newcastle will expect more contribution from Ben Arfa in attack in the absence of Remy.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Elliot (GK); Yanga-Mbiwa, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon; Anita, Tiote; Arfa, Jong, Gouffran; Cisse
Like Alan Pardew, David Moyes also has to contain with some key absentees ahead of this game. The big news for United ahead of the game was the injury of Wayne Rooney and David Moyes has confirmed that he is out of contention for this game (also doubtful for their trip to Munich) with a “badly bruised toe”. Robin van Persie is still out injured and long way from returning to first team action, which means Moyes will have very limited options upfront.
But the good news for Manchester United fans is the return of Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling to the training. Moyes has also confirmed in his pre-match press conference that the injury of Alex Buttner is not as bad as it was feared after he came off against Bayern Munich with what seemed like a hamstring problem. Ryan Giggs is also doubtful after picking up a slight groin injury in that game, although he is expected to be fit in time for the second leg against Bayern Munich.
David Moyes could have one eye on their midweek Champions League fixture ahead of this game, which might reflect on his team selection – although he cannot afford any slip-ups in the league as well. Moyes is expected to make six changes to the side that he fielded in the first leg against Bayern Munich, as he looks to rest some key players – while some of the changes are forced due to injuries.
Rio Ferdinand will be replaced by Rafael in defence, which means Jones will move back to the center of the defence alongside Nemanja Vidic after starting as a right back in the last match. Darren Fletcher will replace Marouane Fellaini in the midfield as he forms the pivot with Michael Carrick ahead of the defence. Moyes will switch back to more conventional 4-2-3-1 formation in this match after opting for a counter-attacking 4-3-3 against Bayern.
Adnan Januzaj, Juan Mata and Ashley Young are expected to return to the line-up replacing Ryan Giggs, Antonio Valencia and Wayne Rooney in the side. Danny Welbeck will lead the line in the absence of Rooney and it will be interesting to see if this United sides have enough goals in them without the presence of Robin van Persie and Rooney.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): De Gea (GK); Rafael, Vidic, Jones, Evra; Carrick, Fletcher; Young, Mata, Januzaj; Welbeck
- Newcastle have lost nine of their last 14 Premier League matches (W4, D1).
- Alan Pardew’s men have won as many league games as they have lost this season (14) but conceded nine goals more than they have scored.
- They have the best away record in the Premier League, earning 30 points from a possible 48.
- Manchester United are on an four-match unbeaten away run (W3, D1) and have kept clean sheets in all of those games.
- Victory for Newcastle would see them complete the league double over Manchester United for the first time since the 1930-31 season.
Player to watch-out for
Juan Mata (Manchester United)
The Spaniard hasn’t really taken the Premier League by storm since his big money switch from Chelsea and he is still settling down in his new team – although it must also be mentioned that David Moyes has often used him on the wings which has reduced his influence somewhat. But in the absence of Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata will have to step up and deliver in this game as United will look for inspirational moments from him.
Newcastle United 0-1 Manchester United
Newcastle United’s poor at home, combined with Manchester United’s new found confidence and belief might contribute to just one possible result. Injuries have affected both the sides, but Manchester United still have enough quality on the pitch to sneak out a narrow win. Newcastle’s lack of goals in the absence of Remy, while Wayne Rooney’s absence for Manchester United means there are unlikely to be too many goals in this game.