Saturday’s result will have little impact on where the Magpies finish this season. Newcastle have struggled since the beginning of the calender year and they are unlikely to finish higher than eighth.
Newcastle have lost three out of the four matches that John Carver has been in charge of the club. They have been outscored eight to one in that period.
Manchester United’s troubles this season have been very well documented, however they might just be coming to Tyneside with some renewed confidence.
The Red Devils beat Aston Villa 4-1 last weekend at Old Trafford. And David Moyes’ side had a positive display against Bayern Munich mid-week in the Champions League.
Newcastle achieved a famous 1-0 win at Old Trafford on December 7th in the only other meeting between these two clubs this season. But goalscorer and Man of the Match Yohan Cayabe is no longer with the club.
Injuries and Suspensions
Manager Alan Pardew will once again be watching this match from the stands. He still has three matches remaining on his touchline ban.
Newcastle have been absolutely decimated by injuries since January. And the injury crisis continued this week. Midfielder Moussa Sissoko suffered a hamstring injury against Southampton and will miss at least Saturday’s match.
The good news is that Loïc Rémy could return on Saturday after missing several weeks with a calf injury. And right-back Davide Santon returned last week against Southampton.
Goalkeeper Tim Krul is expected to miss his second consecutive match with a knee injury. Mathieu Debuchy is still out with a groin injury as well. But Sammy Ameobi (Ankle) and Gabriel Obertan (Knee) could return on Saturday.
As for Manchester United, Robin van Persie is expected to miss several weeks with a sprained knee. Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling returned to training this week after injury layoffs and could be available on Saturday.
David Moyes has been wildly inconsistent with his choice of formations and squad selections all season. But with Robin van Persie unavailable, Wayne Rooney is expected to play centre-forward in either a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation.
It appears that Rooney should be the player to watch on Saturday. The English international has scored six goals in his last six Premier League matches. He has also scored 10 League goals in his career against Newcastle, which is second only to Aston Villa with 12.
Rooney leads United in goals with 15. Robin van Persie is second with 11 League goals but will be unavailable. Danny Welbeck has an impressive total of nine goals as well.
It is also worth mentioning that Manchester United will play Wednesday against Bayern Munich which may prompt Moyes to rest some of his players. January signing Juan Mata is cup-tied and will probably start against Newcastle. Portuguese winger Nani has yet to play since recovering from a hamstring injury.
John Carver is still expected to stick with the 4-4-2 formation against Manchester United. The Magpies lack a creative influence down the centre of the park. But it is very unlikely that Hatem Ben Arfa will play as a withdrawn striker again.
Loïc Rémy’s return would be a huge boost to Newcastle’s chances. He is facing a race against time to be ready for Saturday.
Rob Elliot will once again replace Tim Krul in goal. Hatem Ben Arfa will likely replace Sissoko. The club was flat last weekend against Southampton and need an offensive spark.
Luuk de Jong is yet to score for Newcastle this season. A goal will go a long way in convincing Pardew and Mike Ashley that he should stay next season. At left-back, Paul Dummett and Haïdara Massadio appear to be auditioning for a place on the squad for next season as well.
Manchester United are on pace for their worst points total in over two decades. But surprisingly, the visitors still have the best away record in the Premier League this season. The Red Devils have earned 30 out of the possible 48 points on the road this season.
Newcastle United went 18 League matches without beating Manchester United. However, the last four matches have gone very differently. Each club has won twice. Newcastle have not scored in 10 of their last 14 League matches overall.
The Magpies will come out with a better effort this time around in front of their own fans. But Manchester United will not go down without a fight. The two clubs play to a draw.
Newcastle United 1 – 1 Manchester United