Newcastle United v Manchester United - Match Preview, Stats & Team News

To be played on Saturday 5th April 2014 at 15:00. Venue: St. James' Park, Newcastle.

Odds: Newcastle United 3/1, Draw 13/5, Manchester United Evens

Last season: 0-3

Preview & injury news

It hasn't been the best run of form for Alan Pardew's Newcastle side having lost three out of their last four, with their solitary win in that sequence coming against a struggling Crystal Palace at home. The Magpies have conceded seven goals in their last two games against Everton and Southampton so Pardew will be looking for his side to tighten up at the back. 

For Manchester United, they seem to be in better spirits than they have been in recent weeks. Having bounced back from their derby defeat to Manchester City with a 4-1 win against Aston Villa last weekend, David Moyes's side managed to get a 1-1 draw against European champions Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final. With his side still in with a chance of progressing, he may make a few changes this weekend. The visitors' league form has been patchy of late having won two and lost two of their last four games. 

In terms of injuries, Newcastle are without their goalkeeper Tim Krul who is expected to return later this month from a knee injury, whilst there has been no word on Gabriel Obertan's recovery from a similar problem. Loic Remy could return to the side after a calf problem but there is a chance the home side's top scorer may miss out. Mathieu Debuchy is recovering from a groin problem but won't make this weekend's game whilst Shola Ameobi is out with an ankle problem and Ryan Taylor continues his recovery from a cruciate ligament injury. Mousa Sissoko will be out for up to three weeks after he sustained a thigh injury, he said on twitter.

For Manchester United they still have some injury worries, especially defensively. Alex Buttner limped off with a hamstring problem in the Champions League game in midweek but could be available for selection this weekend, depending on the severity of the injury. Chris Smalling has yet to recover from a hamstring problem but is nearing fitness, and Rafael missed the midweek draw against Bayern with a hamstring injury himself. It's uncertain over when Jonny Evans will return to the line-up following a calf problem whilst Robin Van Persie is still recovering from a knee problem that has seen him miss the past few games. Ryan Giggs and Antonio Valencia have been the latest to enter the Old Trafford treatment room with groin and knee injuries respectively.

Key stats

Here are the top scorers from the two teams in the Premier League this season:

Wayne Rooney Man Utd FW 15 27 2,268
Loïc Remy Newcastle FW 13 23 1,873
Robin van Persie Man Utd FW 11 18 1,466
Danny Welbeck Man Utd FW 9 21 1,271
Yohan Cabaye Newcastle MF 7 19 1,509
Yoan Gouffran Newcastle FW 6 29 2,118

Their average possession statistics:

NamePossession PercentagePlayed
Manchester United 54.84 32
Newcastle United 49.75 32

And the amount of clean sheets the two sides have kept:

NameClean SheetPlayed
Manchester United 11 32
Newcastle United 9 32

5 players to watch

Loic Remy - The home side are said to be sweating on the fitness of their top scorer, but they could do with him being available for this weekend's game against a weakened Man United back line. If Remy is fit enough to start he could cause some real problems with his pace and movement. The question is whether he can get in amongst the goals?

Nemanja Vidic - As there is seemingly a shortage of defenders in the reigning champions' squad at the moment, the visitors could do with a strong performance from Vidic - a lot like the one in midweek against Bayern Munich. Despite Newcastle's form, it promises to be a difficult test for the Serbian and the rest of the visiting defence.

Hatem Ben Arfa - Ben Arfa is one of the Newcastle players that can come up with something out of nothing by weaving away from players, creating a bit of space and either providing or scoring a goal. If he is given the time and space on the ball, he can hurt many sides.

Juan Mata - Mata should be one of the freshest members of the Man United squad since he's cup-tied in European competition. Having won a penalty last weekend, and scoring his first goal since joining the club, Manchester United fans will be hoping to see a lot more of the Juan Mata that made the club part with £37m for him.

Vurnon Anita - As always, the home side will look to get the upper hand in the middle of the park and Anita could be key if Newcastle are going to stamp their authority on the game. He will look to break up the play and ensure his side has good control of possession, and not allow the visitors to get settled. 

Earlier on in the season

Manchester United 0-1 Newcastle United, December 2013

It was a miserable day for David Moyes as Newcastle became the second visiting team to leave Old Trafford with all three points within a week, after Everton had won by the same scoreline just a few days earlier. The home side had a penalty appeal turned down when Patrice Evra headed against the woodwork, and the ball appeared to strike Vurnon Anita on the arm. Yohan Cabaye opened the scoring just after the hour mark to give the visitors the lead after he finished well for Moussa Sissoko. The home side tried to respond, and had a Robin Van Persie effort disallowed but they couldn't find that equaliser, meaning Newcastle had won their first game at Old Trafford in 41 years.

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