All in all, this has been a good week for David Moyes and Manchester United. Last Saturday’s victory against Aston Villa - comfortable in the end, though they did go 1-0 down - preceded Tuesday night’s spirited 1-1 draw against Bayern Munich. Moyes’ men were impressive against the European champions at Old Trafford, producing a disciplined performance brimming with character in which they repelled attacks, closed down space and battled determinedly.
Champions League football may now be beyond the grasp of Saturday’s visitors - unless they knock Bayern out and go on to win the competition – but a win at St James’ Park would at least move them closer to Everton and Tottenham Hotspur, who currently occupy the Europa League places.
Newcastle’s season has petered out somewhat in 2014, but they should still be able to claim a top-half finish. Alan Pardew’s side have lost three of their last four in the league - scoring only once during that period. That run of form has coincided with Loic Remy’s calf injury, and Saturday’s fixture may come to soon for the Magpies’ leading scorer. Tim Krul, Mathieu Debuchy and Moussa Sissoko may miss out too. Pardew himself is still banned from the touchline so John Carver will continue to deputise in his absence.
Alexander Buttner may feature for the visitors, despite limping off in Tuesday’s draw against Bayern, though Ryan Giggs is a doubt after suffering an injury in the same game. Robin van Persie may miss out too.
The Tyneside leg of this fixture has produced some classic games in the past, with 53 goals in 14 games since the turn of the century -s only one of which was goalless.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS:
Manchester United 0 Newcastle United 1 (Cabaye), Premier League, December 2013
Manchester United 4 (Evans, Evra, Van Persie, Hernandez) Newcastle United 3 (Perch, Evans og, Cisse), Premier League, December 2013
Newcastle United 0 Manchester United 3 (Evans, Evra, Cleverley), Premier League, October 2012
Manchester United have the best away record in the Premier League (P16, W9, D3, L4)
Wayne Rooney has scored 10 Premier League goals against Newcastle - he has only netted more against one team (Aston Villa)
Manchester United have won more than half (80) of the 158 games between the teams
Since the beginning of 2000, matches between Newcastle and Manchester United have produced 53 goals - an average of 3.78 per game
Newcastle have lost five of their last seven at home in the league
Newcastle United to win: 3.75
Manchester United to win: 1.95
Newcastle United 5-0 Manchester United, October 1996
Five months after surrendering a 12-point lead to their opponents in the Premier League title race, this was a sweet revenge of sorts for Newcastle. Darren Peacock gave them the lead with a contentious header before David Ginola doubled the advantage with a 20-yard howitzer. Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer made the game safe after the break and Philippe Albert sealed the win in sublime fashion - impudently chipping Peter Schmeichel from outside the area. Despite this comprehensive defeat, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side still won the league, finishing seven points clear of Newcastle.
TV: Highlights on BBC1 at 10.25pm.