Newcastle v Manchester United Preview

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The top match in the English Premier League on Sunday is the clash between Newcastle and Manchester United with the pressure on the Red Devils to close the gap on early league leaders Chelsea. The Blues continued their impressive start with a 4-1 win over Norwich on Saturday so nothing less than three points will do for Sir Alex Ferguson?s side in this traditionally competitive fixture. The best football betting odds show United as 10-11 favourites to win tomorrow with Newcastle at 3-1 and 11-4 the draw.

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew rested some of his star players for the Europa Cup tie with Bordeaux on Thursday night and a 3-0 victory for the Magpies underlined the strength in depth in his squad this season. He is almost certain to recall defender Davide Santon, midfielders Jonas Gutierrez and Hatem Ben Arfa and striker Demba Ba for the United match. Goalkeeper Steve Harper will probably start, having taking over from Rob Elliot against Bordeaux when he suffered a groin injury. First choice keeper Tim Krul is still out with an elbow injury along with defenders Fabricio Coloccini (hamstring) and Steven Taylor (calf).

Manchester United will be looking to restore veteran Ryan Giggs and England?s Michael Carrick to the side having missed the midweek Champions League victory in Cluj. Paul Scholes could also return having been rested from the side that secured a nervy 2-1 away victory courtesy of two goals by former Arsenal captain Robin van Persie. Defender Jonny Evans could return but Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Chris Smalling, Nemanja Vidic and Phil Jones are still out through injury.

In this fixture last season, United were stunned by a 3-0 defeat at St James? Park but they responded by winning eleven of their next twelve matches. They travel to Tyneside with the 3-2 home defeat by Tottenham fresh in their minds and they have not impressed everyone in their early season performances. They were certainly fortunate to escape with a victory at Southampton and were gifted a point by Liverpool by a late defensive error. United just got the better of a spirited Newcastle side by two goals to one in their recent Capital One Cup clash but neither teams was at full strength. Ferguson knows how important it is to bounce back with a win on Sunday and Newcastle is not the easiest place to go for three points. They finished in a highly creditable fifth place last season in the Premiership, narrowly missing out on a Champions League spot.

Ferguson will have been delighted with the way Rooney and Van Persie teamed up to provide both goals in midweek and he also has Javier Hernandez as an attacking option. He is unlikely to start with all three on Sunday with the midfield likely to be key to the result of this match. One player that Ferguson will be wary of is Newcastle striker Demba Ba who has scored every time he’s lined up against Manchester United.

The Magpies remain unbeaten at home this season and have not lost in their last three meetings against United. They will also want to put pressure on United?s defence after Spurs unlocked it three times at Old Trafford last week. Demba Ba came on as a substitute to score twice for Newcastle at Everton and has gone on to scored three goals in two subsequent starts. There may be some value in the 7-1 or better in the Premier League soccer odds. Newcastle may not be quite in the same form as they were last season but they can still force a draw in what is always a fiercely contested fixture.