Manchester United will try to keep pace with Manchester City on Jan 4th when they travel to St James’ Park to take on seventh-place Newcastle United. Manchester blew a huge opportunity to take over first place all on their own on Dec. 31st when they were defeated by Blackburn 3-2 at home. However, City also blew their shot at moving into first by losing 1-0 in injury time in Sunderland on New Year’s Day.
There’s a new controversy brewing in Manchester as striker Wayne Rooney was left out of the quad for the loss against Blackburn and fined a week’s wages for going out on the town on Boxing Day with Jonny Evans and Darron Gibson. However, by not dressing Rooney, manager Alex Ferguson shot himself in the foot when he had no experienced striker to bring on the pitch when his club needed a late goal to tie the game.
By leaving Rooney out, Ferguson punished the team’s fans, its owners and Rooney’s teammates. Fining Rooney is one thing, but sitting out the team’s best player serves no useful purpose. How will the fans, players and owners feel if United lose the league by one to three points? It was a bad move by the man who’s supposed to be the world’s greatest manager and he could pay for it dearly.
So look for Rooney to be back in the lineup in Newcastle and the players will likely be in a surly mood, meaning this could be a pretty tough night for the home team. Dmitar Berbatov has been on fire for United with five goals in his last two games. Newcastle’s top scorer is Demba Ba with 14 league goals, one more than United’s Wayne Rooney. However, if Ba is kept off the score sheet Newcastle’s in big trouble since nobody else has scored more than three league goals.
United is the top away team in the English Premier League with seven wins and two draws. Newcastle is eight best at home with four wins, three draws and two losses. Newcastle stated the season in fine form, but has struggled lately. They lost their last outing 3-1 in Liverpool on Dec. 30, but did earn a 1-1 draw against Man United at Old Trafford back in November.
It’ll be interesting to see who starts in goal for Manchester as David de Gea was brutal against Blackburn. Anders Lindegaard could well get the start. Manchester will be without Nemanja Vidic, Darren Fletcher, and Michael Owen for sure, while it’s anybody’s guess if Rio Ferdinand, Chris Smalling, Tom Cleverly and/or Ashley Young will dress as they’ve all been out injured.
Newcastle’s recent injuries included Gabriel Obertan, Nile Ranger, Peter Lovenkrands, Danny Guthrie, Steven Taylor and Sylvain Marveaux.
Newcastle vs Man United Predictions
In their last five meeting against each other, Manchester has won twice while the other three ended in draws. In their last five matches overall, Manchester has four wins and a loss while Newcastle has a win, a draw, and three losses.
United will be hungry for all three points and should come away with them by taking Newcastle out by at least two goals.
The current odds of a Newcastle win are listed at 4/1 by sportsbook William Hill with a Man United victory at 8/11 and a draw at 5/2. Click the banner above for a good free bet bonus of this match.