By Harry Savile
The Magpies will need to put the memories of their lacklustre 3-0 defeat to Swansea City behind them as they travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on Saturday.
They will face a Red Devil squad that is desperate for a good result after their 1-0 defeat to Everton. David Moyes is under the hot seat and needs a victory to get back into striking distance of top spot. They have not won in three Premier League matches overall.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew hopes the club could return to their winning ways after their poor display against Swansea on Wednesday. The club did receive some good news on Thursday. Hatem Ben Arfa is likely to return against Manchester United.
Since the 2010-11 season, Newcastle have only defeated Manchester United once in six Premier League matches. The only victory was a 3-0 win at St. James’ Park in January 2012.
But Newcastle’s opponents have several injuries to key players. And with the exception of August’s 4-0 defeat to Manchester City, Newcastle have played well against the stronger clubs in the Premier League. So far this season they have beaten Tottenham, Chelsea and drew with Liverpool.
Wayne Rooney Suspended, Robin Van Persie Injured
Wayne Rooney picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Everton and will be suspended for the match against Newcastle. Also, Robin Van Persie has been battling a groin injury for several weeks and David Moyes admitted on Thursday that there is no timetable for his return.
Alan Pardew said Thursday that Hatem Ben Arfa has recovered from an illness that forced him to miss Wednesday’s match and could return to action against Manchester United.
The news was not as positive for Papiss Cisse. The striker has experienced a setback in his recovery from a foot injury and is unlikely to be available for Saturday. Both players have been relegated to the bench in recent games.
David Moyes has fancied the 4-2-3-1 formation for the last several league matches. Before his injury, Van Persie would play in the centre-forward position in front of Wayne Rooney. In recent matches against Everton and Tottenham, Moyes has played Shinji Kagawa in the number 10 or playmaker role behind Rooney.
With Rooney unavailable, and Van Persie unlikely to be fit, Javier Hernández is the only true striker available to David Moyes on Saturday. The Mexican has been in poor form so far this season, scoring only one goal in seven matches.
Moyes has experimented with the 4-4-2 formation at times this season, including in United’s 5-0 defeat of Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League last week. However, the absence of Rooney makes it very unlikely that Moyes would revert back to that formation.
Alan Pardew has been going with the 4-4-2 formation for the last several matches. However, the defeat to Swansea city, combined with several poor individual performances could mean a change in strategy for Saturday. If available, he could expect to see Ben Arfa at some point as well.
Both clubs will go into Saturday’s match with something to prove. For Newcastle, Loïc Rémy, Fabricio Coloccini, and Davide Santon in particular, will be keen to rebound from their poor performances. The Magpies have played well against stronger teams this year and they should feel confident against the misfiring United squad.
Manchester United will be under immense pressure to win in front of their home fans. The Magpies will stun the Old Trafford crowd by scoring early. Manchester United’s experienced players will mount a comeback but Newcastle escapes with a draw.
Manchester United 1 – 1 Newcastle United
Man Utd have lost four Barclays Premier League games this season, only one fewer than the whole of 2012-13 (5).
Papiss Cisse scored on both trips to Old Trafford in all competitions last season (one league, one Capital One Cup).
Jonny Evans has scored in the last two Barclays Premier League meetings between Man Utd and Newcastle and also netted an own goal at Old Trafford in this fixture last season.
Newcastle have won none of their last 29 league visits to Old Trafford, losing 21.
Patrice Evra has scored in the last two meetings between Newcastle and Man Utd.
Newcastle United have won just one and lost 15 of their last 21 Premier League matches against Manchester United.
Robin van Persie has scored six goals in his last seven Premier League starts against the Magpies.
Manchester United have lost four Premier League games this season, only one fewer than the whole of 2012-13 (5).
Manchester United have only won five of their last 11 Premier League home games (L4 D2).
The Red Devils have not lost successive Premier League home games since May 2002.
Man Utd have scored only eight goals in seven Premier League home games this season, fewer than bottom side Sunderland (9).