Pressure is mounting on the shoulders of David Moyes. After 14 games in the Premier League, the Red Devils find themselves in an awkward position – 9th in the league table, 12 points behind league leaders Arsenal. Surely, their title ambitions are all but over and Moyes must focus on securing the top four spot. And even, that is not guaranteed.
In terms of statistics, Manchester United are clear favourites to win this game. Newcastle United have only won one of their last 23 matches against Manchester United in all competitions and the Magpies have won none of their last 29 league visits to Old Trafford, losing 21 games in the process. Let me remind you, until Wednesday, Everton hadn’t won away to Manchester United since 1992. And we all know what happened few days back.
Old Trafford is no longer a fortress it seems. United have already lost four Premier League games this season, only one fewer than whole of last season. Call it crisis, emergency tracheotomy – Moyes cannot simply afford to drop further points from here on. The Red Devils are 1/2 with Ladbrokes to earn full three points.
They are up against Newcastle, who suffered their own set-back against Swansea, after four successive wins, when they lost 3-0 in the midweek. That shows Alan Pardew’s side have yet to overcome their old problems of inconsistency. Still, if any time a manager feels confident of going to Old Trafford, it is now.
Moyes will be without Wayne Rooney for this game. The England international is suspended after being booked for the fifth time this season in Wednesday’s defeat by Everton. But good news for them is Robin van Persie could return after groin and toe injury, and Phil Jones is available again after a ban. The Dutchman has scored six goals in his last seven Premier League starts against the Magpies and is at 4/6 with Ladbrokes to score anytime in the match.
For Newcastle United, Hatem Ben Arfa and Papiss Cisse missed the last match but could return from illness and injury respectively.
Manchester United Likely line-up:
In absence of Rooney, Shinji Kagawa could be deployed in his favourite no 10 role, while Jones could start beside Cleverley in the middle.
Prediction: 2-1; Moyes will be expecting a reaction from his side and with Van Persie returning, they should win the game.
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