Predicted Newcastle side to play Manchester United

A detail of the tattoo on the head of Newcastle player Kenedy during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Burnley at St. James Park on January 31, 2018 in Newcastle upon...

The Newcastle United starting XI is likely to remain very much the same to the team that drew with Palace, with Slimani's debut dependent on a thigh strain.

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez shouts encouragement during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Newcastle United at Selhurst Park on February 4, 2018 in London, England.

Newcastle United are set host Manchester United at St James' Park on Sunday afternoon, as two sides at opposite ends of the table meet. 

Manchester United currently sit second behind league flyers Manchester City, while Rafa Benitez's men find themselves two places above the drop zone in 16th, one point ahead of 18th-placed Stoke City. 

A defeat for Newcastle could very well see them start the week back among the relegation spots, and the St James' Park faithful will be praying that Islam Slimani is fit and available to make his debut and get his Magpies career off to a flyer. 

Fellow January arrival Martin Dubravka is also in the frame for a start and could replace Karl Darlow, whose performances have been relatively sub-par in recent weeks. 

Martin Dubravka of Newcastle United arrives for the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Newcastle United at Selhurst Park on February 4, 2018 in London, England.

The 29-year-old shot-stopper expressed his delight at joining Newcastle in an interview with the club's official website earlier this week and cannot wait to get started, describing the move as a big step in his career.

With the back four pretty much settled, there will unlikely be any change to the quartet of Dummet, Lascelles, Clark and Yedlin. 

Yedlin has been terrific for Newcastle in recent weeks and, along with Kenedy, has proved to be a catalyst when it comes Newcastle's attack. 

In midfield, many individuals have been calling for Jonjo Shelvey to be dropped following his Crystal Palace antics. The England man's ill discipline nearly cost his team points and he was lucky to get away with a tug on James McArthur's shirt in the box; a clear penalty if referee Andre Marriner had spotted it. 

Despite that, Shelvey remains one of Newcastle's strongest options in midfield and, in such an important game, it is unlikely he will be benched. 

Jonjo Shelvey of Newcastle United protects the ball from Danny Drinkwater of Chelsea during The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Chelsea and Newcastle on January 28, 2018 in...

Diame, who bagged the Toon's only goal against Palace, is set to line up alongside Shelvey in the middle of the field with Matt Ritchie and Kenedy taking up their positions on the flanks. 

Up front, Dwight Gayle could make way for Slimani if the Algerian overcomes his thigh strain. Newcastle fans will be itching to see what the former Sporting Lisbon player can do for them, and will be praying that he is the man to fire them to safety with Joselu, Ayoze Perez and Gayle all failing to fulfil their scoring duties for the team this season. 

Alongside Slimani, Perez will likely act as a partner up top to complete Benitez's favoured 4-4-2. 

The predicted line-up is as follows:


Newcastle United XI

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch