Man Utd will be confident of continuing their strong recent record against Newcastle when the sides meet in the Premier League at St James’ Park on Wednesday (19:45 GMT, live on BT Sport).
Newcastle come into the match on the back of four defeats and just two victories in their nine matches in all competitions since the turn of the year. They are 11th in the Premier League table, with 35 points from nine wins, eight draws and 10 defeats.
John Carver’s side bounced back from their 5-0 mauling away to Manchester City with a tightly contested 1-0 victory at home to Aston Villa on Saturday. Efforts on goal were evenly distributed in a match in which neither side was particularly impressive, but it was Newcastle who came away with the three points courtesy of Papiss Demba Cisse’s first-half strike.
The result saw the Magpies maintain their position right in the middle of the table, 13 points adrift of the top five and the same margin clear of the bottom three. Defeat could have potentially reduced the latter gap to seven points but the win means that it would now take a big collapse in the final months of the season for them to be dragged into the relegation fight.
Indeed, there is now little left to them to play for. Carver is still trying to convince the Newcastle hierarchy that he should be appointed as the club’s new permanent head coach for next season, while there are a few players who will be hoping to impress potential suitors, but it is otherwise likely to be an uneventful end to the season on Tyneside.
Carver will definitely be without the injured Chiekh Tiote (knee), Paul Dummett (knee), Robert Elliot (thigh), Rolando Aarons (hamstring), Siem de Jong (lung) and Steven Taylor (achilles) for this match, while Jack Colback is suspended. Massadio Haidara (knee) is doubtful.
Man Utd travel to St James’ Park on the back of six victories, two draws and two defeats in their last 10 matches in all competitions. They sit fourth in the Premier League table, with 50 points from 14 wins, eight draws and six defeats.
Louis Van Gaal’s side were a little laboured at times during their 2-0 victory over Sunderland at Old Trafford on Saturday but it was hard to begrudge them three points from a match in which they comfortably out-possessed and out-shot their visitors. Two second-half goals from Wayne Rooney (pictured), the first from the penalty spot, eventually guided them to victory.
It was not the first time this season that United have not been entirely convincing, but they have nevertheless continued to accumulate sufficient points to keep themselves firmly in the race for a top-four finish. If they do qualify for the Champions League come the end of the season then it will be a job well done; if not, serious questions will be asked of Van Gaal.
The Dutchman has thus far gained just one point more than Man Utd did in last season’s equivalent fixtures and while the team’s average goal difference per match has increased by almost 35%, some supporters are becoming frustrated with what they see as a tentative and unattractive style of football. Given the money spent, more could be expected.
Van Gaal will have to make do without the injured Robin Van Persie (ankle) for this match, while Phil Jones (illness), Luke Shaw (hamstring) and Victor Valdes (knock) are unlikely participants.
Newcastle v Man Utd Betting Tips
Manchester United were 3-1 victors when these sides met at Old Trafford earlier this season, with Rooney scoring twice. The Reds have won five of the last six encounters in all competitions, including a 4-0 win at St James’ Park last season. The last six meetings at Newcastle’s home have yielded four wins for Man Utd, one for Newcastle and one draw.
Just under two-thirds of Newcastle’s points and a slightly lesser share of their goals this season have come on home soil. They have only twice failed to score at St James’ Park and there is certainly reason to believe that they are capable of giving United a decent game. Their historical record against their visitors does, however, not make for good reading.
United have been very good at home in recent times but their away form has been much less consistent. They have won just one of their last six league matches on the road and only three out of 13 all season, having conceded at least once in 10 of those. In a close-fought battle for a top-four finish they will be keen to avoid dropping more points on Wednesday.
We would expect this to be a relatively high-scoring match, with United the most likely victors.
- Bet on Man Utd to win @ best odds of 21/20 with Betfred or William Hill.
- United rarely keep a clean sheet away from home but have also found the back of net themselves in eight of their last 10 matches on the road. Both Newcastle and their opponents have scored in four of their last six home matches. Back both teams to score @ best odds of 11/12 with Unibet.