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Match Preview: Newcastle United vs Manchester United

by Tom Parker

It’s the battle of the two disunited United’s this weekend as we take a trip up to St James’ Park to face Newcastle.

Both sides have relatively little to play for going in to this fixture with Newcastle marooned in mid-table, safe from relegation but in no danger of troubling the teams above them, while United remain seventh in the table, hardly desperate to qualify for the Europa League given the havoc it can play with the fixture list.

As such, a game which many consider to be a classic Premier League fixture appears to be something of a dead rubber and the United squad can perhaps be forgiven for have one eye on their Champions League quarter final second leg at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday.

United’s form has been inconsistent of late, a draw against Bayern Munich preceded a 4-1 thrashing of Aston Villa, but the Reds have also recorded losses against Manchester City and Liverpool in the last month.

Critically, Moyes’ side have done well on their travels having beaten Crystal Palace, West Brom and West Ham away from home recently. Despite our tragic home form, United have the best away record in the league.

Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling are both back in training and Nani could start after seemingly never ending spell on the sidelines. Juan Mata is certain to come into the side.

Meanwhile, Patrice Evra could also return to the starting XI with the team selection likely to be heavily influenced by European commitments.

The Geordies have lost their last two games conceding seven goals and scoring none in the process. Since the turn of the year, they have lost eight of their 13 league games.

Yohan Cabaye’s January departure hit Newcastle hard and Pardew’s ban for a ridiculous headbutt on Hull’s David Meyler hasn’t helped them – he is still banned from the touchline for United’s visit.

Loic Remy is in contention after an ankle problem but Tim Krul remains sidelined and there are expected to be a number of changes to the side which were dismantled 4-0 at Southampton last weekend.

Newcastle were victorious when the two sides met last time out with the Geordies condemning United to back-to-back home defeats for the first time since 2001 thanks to a second half Cabaye strike but last season, United did the double over the Magpies, winning 3-0 and 4-3 respectively.

Newcastle have failed to score in five of their last seven games at St James Park while United have kept clean sheets in each of their last four away trips, scoring eight goals in the process.

Pardew’s side are woefully out of form and seem devout of motivation and confidence, so while United have by no means been at their vintage best of late, tomorrow should be a straight forward victory.

Prediction: Newcastle United 0-2 Manchester United

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