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Prediction: Newcastle vs Manchester United

6th October 2012

Newcastle United will be happy to take on Manchester United after the Red Devils lost their last league game to Tottenham Hotspur, with the 3-0 win in the same fixture last season giving the Magpies another reason for optimism. The Old Trafford outfit have no choice but to try and return to winning ways at St James Park, but that is easier said than done.

Newcastle United have not yet been able to find the form that served them so well last term, but they are moving in the right direction. The strength in depth has allowed Alan Pardew to rotate his squad from the opening exchanges, which should produce great results during the season finale. The Magpies go into this game on the back of an impressive Europa League win over Bordeaux, and they have every right to feel confident before the visit of Manchester United. Papiss Demba Cisse has finally broken his scoring duck, having bagged the third goal in a 3-0 win over Bordeaux, while the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa, Demba Ba, Davide Santon and Jonas Gutierrez were able to get some well deserved rest. All these players are expected to start against United, but Tim Krul remains sidelined with an elbow injury, meaning veteran Steven Harper will continue in goal.

Manchester United recovered well from the opening defeat to Everton to record six victories on the bounce, but the curious thing is the Red Devils haven’t really impressed in any of the games. Sir Alex Ferguson’s men finally paid the price for the string of under-par showings as they were beaten at home by Tottenham Hotspur, for the first time in 23 years. United did manage to return to winning ways in midweek, mostly thanks to Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, who combined well to help the team overturn a one-goal deficit in the Champions League clash over Cluj. Everybody at the club is now hoping the two world-class players can establish a fruitful attacking partnership that would help compensate for the leaky defence. With Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones all out injured, Sir Alex Ferguson will be delighted to welcome back Jonny Evans, but Antonio Valencia is out with an ankle problem.

Conclusion

In Rooney, Van Persie and Kagawa, Manchester United have a world-class attacking trio that can score against any side in England, and the Red Devils will have to continue scoring goals for fun if they are to keep their results respectable. With Papiss Cisse finally finding his scoring boots and Demba Ba enjoying another remarkable start to the season, it looks as though United will fail to keep a clean sheet in fifth consecutive game.

Verdict: Over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: Ladbrokes

Sat 6 October, 2012
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