Manchester United take on Newcastle United today in a crunch festive fixture. Louis van Gaal’s men will be looking to get all three points from the game after a not-so convincing result against Aston Villa last week.
Newcastle coming into the game on the back of a disappointing derby defeat against Sunderland and Alan Pardew will be hoping for a much better show from his players.
United failed to break down a solid and compact Villa who went down to ten men after Gabby Agbonlahor was sent off and Van Gaal will be keen to work on improving his side’s showing in front of goal. Angel di Maria could very well return to the starting XI and Van Gaal should be looking to add more creativity in the ranks.
Newcastle’s defeat last weekend saw them lose a fourth successive Tyne-Wear derby and United will be looking to capitalise on the low confidence levels among Pardew’s men.
United boast an incredible home record this season and are well on their way to making Old Trafford the impenetrable fortress it once was under Sir Alex Ferguson. They haven’t lost a single game at Old Trafford since their opening day defeat against Swansea.
Manchester United team news
United were buoyed by the return of Di Maria last weekend after he came off the bench for a cameo appearance against Villa. Luke Shaw, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo, Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini still remain sidelined but Van Gaal will be pleased to see Daley Blind return to training after a six week lay-off.
David De Gea, Man United’s best player this season so far, will retain his place in goal. It is likely that Van Gaal will continue to use a back three in this game which would mean Michael Carrick will start at centre back again, with Phil Jones and Jonny Evans accompanying him. Chris Smalling could make a return from injury but it is unlikely Van Gaal will give him a start on the left side of a back three. Evans has been less than impressive in his performances but it is likely he will retain his place since he is adept with both feet.
Wayne Rooney will retain his place in midfield and it will be interesting to see who partners him. Darren Fletcher was invisible after getting a rare start and this could prompt Van Gaal to start Di Maria alongside the captain. Juan Mata will most slot into the attacking midfield role behind Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao.
Newcastle United team news
First choice goalkeepers Tim Krul and Rob Elliot remain sidelined. Club captain Fabricio Coloccini will be partnered by Ryan Taylor at centre-back. Janmaat and Dummett will slot into the full back roles again. Pardew will have to find a replacement for destructive Cheick Tiote after he picked up his fifth booking of the season. Jack Colback will retain his place in the side. Moussa Sissoko will be the first name on the team sheet due to his impressive performances and incredible work-rate. His work ethic will be important to Newcastle as Man United will look to keep more of the possession.
Man United have been extremely strong at home this season and their riches in attack might prove to be too hot to handle for the Magpies.
Manchester United 3-0 Newcastle United