Newcastle v Man United preview
Ben Arfa and Ba expected to start; Ferguson wants response to Spurs
Last Updated: 07/10/12 7:25am
One of the classic rivalries from the Premier League era is renewed on Sunday afternoon when Newcastle United and Manchester United meet at St James' Park.
- Demba Ba has scored in both of his Premier League appearances for Newcastle against Man United
- Only Southampton (6) have fallen behind in more games than Man Utd (5) in the Premier League this season
- Newcastle have scored 88% of their goals in the second half, the highest proportion of any team in the top division
Since their days of slugging it out for the title in the mid-1990s, the pair have always considered themselves foes and their encounters are regularly engrossing.
But it is not just an entertainment factor which Alan Pardew and Sir Alex Ferguson, respectively, will be searching on Tyneside this weekend.
Expectations are high at Newcastle after only missing out on the UEFA Champions League on the final day of last season but they have made an inconsistent start to this campaign.
They were fortunate to draw at Reading last weekend courtesy of Demba Ba's handled goal and have won just two league games from six so far to leave them sitting 10th in the table.
Pardew, with his new eight-year contract, will therefore be determined for a repeat of last season's memorable 3-0 win over Manchester United at St James' Park.
Newcastle will also be confident, as they are unbeaten in their last three league matches against Ferguson's side, having not gone four without a defeat against the Red Devils since 1989.
Just one defeat in their last 13 games at St James' Park is also a reason for Newcastle, who comfortably won at Bordeaux in the Europa League on Thursday, to be full of self-belief but they did lose at Manchester United in the Capital One Cup at the end of September.
Manchester United, meanwhile, will still be stinging from their historic home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, although they did bounce back against Cluj in midweek in the Champions League.
The loss was Ferguson's side's second of the season in the Premier league and they will know they cannot afford anymore early slip-ups after already conceding a four-point gap to leaders Chelsea.
Wayne Rooney will hope to be recalled to United's first XI, as he has scored 10 Premier League goals against Newcastle, which is his joint-best haul against any opponent in the competition.
Paul Scholes has likewise scored more goals against Newcastle than versus any other Premier League opponent (9), while Robin van Persie has netted five goals in his last five top-flight starts against the Magpies.
Newcastle named a strong starting line-up against Bordeaux despite the prospect of the looming game with Manchester United.
But the likes of Ba, Hatem Ben Arfa and Davide Santon remained unused substitutes to suggest they were being rested for the game against Manchester United.
Third-choice goalkeeper Rob Elliot sustained an injury against Bordeaux and had to be substituted for Steve Harper, while Tim Krul is still out with an elbow problem.
Defenders Fabricio Coloccini (hamstring) and Steven Taylor (calf) and utility man Ryan Taylor remain unavailable.
Nemanja Vidic, Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Chris Smalling have all been out with injuries, although the latter has returned to training.
Jonny Evans is 'okay', according to Ferguson after the centre-back only suffered a dead leg in the win over Cluj.
Midfielders Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick did not travel for the victory, because the pair were suffering with illness, but they are back in contention.
Paul Scholes also did not make the trip but he was only rested to give a clue he will be involved against Newcastle.
Previous game's starting line-ups
- 31 Alnwick
- 2 Coloccini
- 6 Williamson
- 19 Haidara
- 36 Dummett
- 14 Colback
- 20 Cabella
- 11 Gouffran
- 17 Ayoze Perez
- 7 Sissoko
- 29 Riviere
Team taken from Newcastle United vs Tottenham Hotspur (Capital One Cup) on Wednesday 17th December 2014
- 1 De Gea
- 4 Jones
- 16 Carrick
- 6 Evans
- 25 Valencia A
- 24 Fletcher
- 10 Rooney
- 18 Young
- 8 Mata
- 20 van Persie
- 9 Falcao
Team taken from Manchester United vs Aston Villa (Barclays Premier League) on Saturday 20th December 2014
Barclays Premier League
|4||West Ham United||17||31|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||17||17|
|15||Queens Park Rangers||17||17|