Newcastle United are the visitors at Old Trafford this boxing day as Manchester United look to get back to winning ways after a draw against Welsh outfit Swansea City on the weekend. With United’s lead at the top being cut to just four points after Manchester City’s last gasp controversial winner against Reading on Sunday, the Reds will be looking to maintain their lead at the top going into 2013.
After getting off to a brilliant start to the season which resulted in manager Alan Pardew being rewarded with an audacious eight-year contract, Newcastle have somewhat struggled to keep up with most teams in the Premier League claiming just ten points in their last ten games to leave them struggling in 14th place in the Premier League table, leaving them 23 points behind Manchester United.
They did get back to winning ways on Saturday beating a resurgent QPR side 1-0 in a closely contested game at St James’s Park but will be without a number of first team players for their visit to Old Trafford where they have won just nine games out of 76. Influential midfielder Cheik Tiote is suspended whilst Hatem Ben Arfa, Steven Taylor, Yohan Cabaye and Ryan Taylor are all out with long term injuries.
After a shocking performance at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday, Sir Alex Ferguson will be hoping that his Manchester United team will conjure a much improved showing at Old Trafford this Boxing Day in a game which is set to be one of the stand out fixtures of the Christmas period.
With no new injury worries and Nemanja Vidic playing the full 90 minutes against Swansea, Sir Alex Ferguson’s biggest dilemma will be to decide which players deserve a place in the starting XI after what could be labelled as one of our ‘dullest’ performances this season.
Javier Hernandez, Darren Fletcher, Danny Welbeck, Chris Smalling and Paul Scholes are all in contention to start for the reds as Ferguson looks to shake up the midfield a bit. United are strong favourites for the game and Coral are offering 1/4 for a Manchester United win with Patrice Evra 25/1 to duplicate his feat on Sunday and to score the first goal.
Predicted score: Manchester United 1-0 Newcastle United
What do you think the score will be?