The Devil to pay? Newcastle United v Manchester United match preview
Posted on October 7th, 2012 | 25 Comments |
Venue: The Wonga Loan Shark Arena?
Date: Sunday, 7th Oct.
Kick off: 4:00pm
Referee: Howard Webb (Manchester United).
UK TV: Sky Sports 1.
Once again, Manchester United will, very helpfully, be bringing their own referee along for this game. Of course, I am referring to Howard Webb, who they also kindly brought along for the corresponding fixture at SJP back in January 2012, and who was also in charge of our most recent Premier League home loss, against Manchester City last May.
This will also be the second live televised game between the sides in two weeks, the last one of course being our League Cup exit against the Red Devils on the 26th of last month. Both teams were also in midweek European action, with the Mancs narrowly winning 2-1 against Cluj on Tuesday while Newcastle beat Bordeaux a little more emphatically on Thursday.
So, after a successful Europa League outing in which we managed 29 minutes of 4-3-3, will Pardew revert to the same old cautious 4-4-2 or risk giving his players another chance for a “breath of fresh air” by going for a positive attacking line up against the Red Devils? Interestingly, the last time we played the Reds at SJP was just after they’d suffered a 2-3 defeat at home (to Blackburn). So maybe the omens are looking good for us tomorrow?
Manchester United have fallen behind in six of their nine games this season, including last weekend when Tottenham raced into an early lead and hung on for a 3-2 win. That result saw the Reds slip to third place, four points behind early leaders Chelsea after six games, and with a defence lacking captain, Nemanja Vidic, it is hopefully in for more of the same pressure on Sunday?
Having previously discussed the Manchester outfit’s pro’s and cons in our League Cup match preview, perhaps we should consider matters more recent when looking for clues as to how the Reds will treat the match at SJP?
As everyone knows last season’s outings against the Reds proved pretty successful for the Toon. A gritty, backs to the wall defensive performance saw us eke out a point at Old Trafford in November 2011. Yet only a few weeks later the return game at SJP proved to be one of the highlights of the season. Ironically the 3-0 victory against the Mancs was achieved without Cisse or HBA but playing in a 4-4-2 system with Ba supported admirably by a lively (did I really say that) and spirited Shola Ameobi. Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabaye had the better of Giggs and Carrick in the middle while Demba Ba had a field day (or night) against the inexperienced Jones who capped a woeful performance with an own goal to compound the Mancunian misery. That night Manchester’s team was short of defensive cover with Valencia pressed into action at RB while Phil Jones replaced Vidic as Ferdinand’s central defensive partner. The central midfield were out performed and the forward threat wasn’t helped by an ineffective display from Berbatov leading the line.
Fast forward to a new season and there are question marks over several areas of the side again. David De Gea and Anders Lindegaard continue to share goalkeeping duties and the defence is still short of Vidic. So Ferdinand will have another relatively inexperienced youngster in Jonny Evans to help nullify the “Demba’s” threat, providing the young Irishman has recovered from the dead leg he received in Romania on Tuesday night?
The key to success or failure on Sunday will almost certainly lie in midfield again, and the Mancs have managed to improve in this department with the addition of Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund. However, its the defensive midfield pairing which is causing concern for Reds fans and last week’s duo of Carrick and Scholes may not be Sir Alex Ferguson’s first choice this time around?
Rooney should figure, in the same deep lying No 10 role he played against Cluj, and with Nani on the right, the Mancs provide an extremely potent and attacking midfield trio to support the newly acquired Van Persie up front. This is RVP’s first game at SJP for the Reds, having played five times for Arsenal but only scoring twice in the classic 4-4 draw.
A Premier league record of 36 games played but with only 4 wins and 12 draws shows that the Mancs hold the upper hand in games played since we first set foot into the Premier League back in 1993. In fact twice in 2002-03 and 2007-08 we shipped in aggregates of 11 goals in the two league games. Our (Howay / Why Aye) 5-0 win at home in 1996 was the only time we’ve managed to truly humble them.
Looking on the bright side, three of our four wins have come since the beginning of the new millennium so maybe this is our lucky century ? :-)
04 Jan 2012: Newcastle United v Manchester United W 3-0 (Premier League)
26 Nov 2011: Manchester United v Newcastle United D 1-1 (Premier League)
19 Apr 2011: Newcastle United v Manchester United D 0-0 (Premier League)
16 Aug 2010: Manchester United v Newcastle United L 3-0 (Premier League)
04 Mar 2009: Newcastle United v Manchester United L 1-2 (Premier League)
17 Aug 2008: Manchester United v Newcastle United D 1-1 (Premier League)
23 Feb 2008: Newcastle United v Manchester United L 1-5 (Premier League)
12 Jan 2008: Manchester United v Newcastle United L 6-0 (Premier League)
01 Jan 2007: Newcastle United v Manchester United D 2-2 (Premier League)
01 Oct 2006: Manchester United v Newcastle United L 2-0 (Premier League)
12 Mar 2006: Manchester United v Newcastle United L 2-0 (Premier League)
28 Aug 2005: Newcastle United v Manchester United L 0-2 (Premier League)
24 Apr 2005: Manchester United v Newcastle United L 2-1 (Premier League)
14 Nov 2004: Newcastle United v Manchester United L 1-3 (Premier League)
11 Jan 2004: Manchester United v Newcastle United D 0-0 (Premier League)
23 Aug 2003: Newcastle United v Manchester United L 1-2 (Premier League)
12 Apr 2003: Newcastle United v Manchester United L 2-6 (Premier League)
23 Nov 2002: Manchester United v Newcastle United L 5-3 (Premier League)
02 Jan 2002: Manchester United v Newcastle United L 3-1 (Premier League)
15 Sep 2001: Newcastle United v Manchester United W 4-3 (Premier League)
30 Dec 2000: Newcastle United v Manchester United D 1-1 (Premier League)
20 Aug 2000: Manchester United v Newcastle United L 2-0 (Premier League)
12 Feb 2000: Newcastle United v Manchester United W 3-0 (Premier League)
Team news / Squads.
Pardew is going to bring back four heavy hitters as Demba Ba, Santon, Gutierrez and HBA were all rested for Thursday night’s 3-0 victory. Danny Simpson returned for that game and also seems likely to start against his former club.
Harps will continue to deputise for Tim Krul and with Rob Elliot injured against the French side, 19-year-old Jak Alnwick may well find himself on the bench. for Sunday. Unfortunately neither Saylor nor Colo look likely to make it so Pardew has another tactical dilemma in who to partner with whom at the back. Perch was pretty abject when moved inside against Reading but having started in central defence he looked OK on Thursday night.
It will also be interesting to see how Fergie’s performance on Thursday has affected Pardew’s thinking about the left side of midfield?
When asked about the preparation in advance of the game Pardew had this to say:
“They’re (Manchester United) a team you can’t help but admire, they’ll have control of the game for periods but we need to be concentrated” (so not diluted then?).
He went on to say:
“But you can hurt them this year – they’re not as good defensively as they can be so there are opportunities for us.”
The Bordeaux performance as much as the result itself has heartened Pardew and his players.
“It’s definitely given everyone in the dressing room and training ground a boost, at times, it’s hard to put your finger on why we don’t click, then suddenly we click. The work we’ve put in, and everything we’ve done, is starting to bear fruit. You take that into the next game.”
Well far be it from me to say but the Bordeaux game was about playing to our strengths with a team set up to take the game to the opposition. Unfortunately having suggested previously that Pardew might consider a more open and attacking formation for Sunday’s match, this is an odds on certainty for his beloved 4-4-2.
Newcastle United: Steve Harper (G), Jak Alnwick (G), Danny Simpson (D), James Tavernier (D), Mike Williamson (D), Davide Santon (D), James Perch (D, M), Cheick Tiote (M), Yohan Cabaye (M), Jonas Gutierrez (M), Vurnon Anita (M, D), Shane Ferguson (M, D), Gael Bigirimana (M), Danny Gosling (M), Sylvain Marveaux (M), Gabriel Obertan (M), Mehdi Abeid (M), Romain Amalfitano (M), Hatem Ben Arfa (M, F), Haris Vuckic (M, F), Sammy Ameobi (M, F), Demba Ba (F), Papiss Cisse (F), Shola Ameobi (F), Adam Campbell (F).
Doubtful: Fabricio Coloccini (hamstring).
Knacked: Steven Taylor (calf), Ryan Taylor (Ant.Cruciate Ligament), Tim Krul (arm / elbow), Rob Elliot (groin).
Manchester United will have the experienced midfield trio Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick available on Sunday. Giggs and Carrick missed the Champions League trip to Cluj on Tuesday through illness while Scholes was rested. As suggested earlier Jonny Evans should start but Valencia, Young, Vidic and Phil Jones are not yet ready to return but Smalling might appear on the bench ?
Manchester United: David De Gea (G), Anders Lindegaard (G), Rafael (D, M), Alexander Büttner (D), Patrice Evra (D), Rio Ferdinand (D), Jonny Evans (D), Scott Wootton (D), Will Keane (F), Nick Powell (M), Tom Cleverley (M), Anderson (M), Darren Fletcher (M), Nani (M), Michael Carrick (M), Paul Scholes (M), Ryan Giggs (M), Ryan Tunnicliffe (M), Jesse Lingard (M), Shinji Kagawa (M), Javier Hernández (F), Wayne Rooney (F), Danny Welbeck (F), Robin Van Persie (F).
Doubtful: Antonio Valencia (leg).
Knacked: Chris Smalling (foot), Ashley Young (bruised cartilage), Nemanja Vidic (knee), Phil Jones (knee).
Predicted line ups.
With Nani, Rooney and Van Persie in full flight our defence is in for a busy time on Sunday. However while the Mancs can dominate teams that sit deep and surrender possession, they have always struggled against sides that press aggressively through the central central midfield area. If Tiote and Cabaye, who combine the very best in combative and creative roles, can once again turn in MOTM performances then we’re in with a shout.
As I always seem to say at the end of these articles, if we are at them from the word “Go” then we should be able to unsettle them enough to get some early goals.
Having said that I’d settle for 1-0 now.