Manchester United will be targeting their third straight victory at St. James’ Park on Wednesday as they look to maintain a place in the Premier League’s top four.
It was not a vintage performance, but Newcastle got the result they wanted against Aston Villa on Saturday, in response to their mauling at Manchester City the previous week. The result maintained their status as a side in mere mid-table security, but unlike last season there is something to play for – John Carver’s long-term future at Head Coach.
Papiss Cisse was again the man who made the difference against the struggling Villans, in what has been a very productive season in front of goal for the Senegalese striker despite his lack of starts. He should make the XI here, as will Jack Colback, who returns from suspension to add bite to the midfield.
For three quarters of their game with Sunderland it was a story of frustration for United, but an improved second half showing was eventually rewarded by a Wayne Rooney brace, which took the captain on to double figures for the season. Manager Louis van Gaal was left to praise the manner in which his side adapted to his latest formation change.
But the two goals came only after all £59.7m worth of Angel Di Maria was hauled off at half-time, making way for Adnan Januzaj. It remains to be seen whether he will start here, but the Argentine’s performances of late have come under increasing scrutiny. One man who would like to start is Juan Mata, who dominated the Magpies in this fixture last season.
Newcastle are likely to be without left-back Massadio Haidara due to a knee injury, and are still unable to call upon playmaker Remy Cabella.
Michael Carrick is not yet fit enough to return for Man Utd, who welcome back defenders Phil Jones and Luke Shaw from illness and injury respectively.
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