The Devil to pay? Newcastle United v Manchester United match preview

Posted on October 7th, 2012 | 25 Comments |

Newcastle United v Manchester United.
Them again.
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?

Our Opponents.

Manchester United's Howard Webb.
No penalties for us then!
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.

Newcastle United

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.

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.

Newcastle United v Manchester United possible 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.


NUFCBlog Author: AndyMac AndyMac has written 13 articles on this blog.

Related Posts:

25 Responses

  1. Very funny AndyMac. I really liked the Howard Webb picture. I predict united will get a result. What result, and which united?

  2. salford utd come to us, as they did last season, in a bit of a slump.
    we have a good chance of beating these today, but pardew has to be positive, and not hell bent on worrying about what they are going to do.
    shola has to start up top along with one, of the demba’s, i would even go with ben arfa just behind them, in a 4-4-3.

  3. Looking forward to todays game. I was supposed to be working to 6pm but I have blagged work so I can finish at 3 and get home just before the game starts.

    I hope we go 4-3-3 and start like we did on Thursday.

  4. very gud read as usual mate, really do need to set up in a more attacking way today if we are to get anything from this match, with their weakend defence beggin to be got at. personnaly would like to see young shane thrown on his crosses of late have been pretty bloody usefull.

  5. When you look at it their defenders are really not that good. And our attackers are really quite good. We should be able to take it to them.

  6. How many assists has jonas got since being with us,and im sure he has scored about five goals,he can play at right back let ferguson play left wing,simpson will clear shots off the line,cisse will get a double,so will ba.Easy match.

  7. TROJAN RECORDS 73 says:
    October 7, 2012 at 10:52 am

    “i would even go with ben arfa just behind them, in a 4-4-3.”

    So would I Trojan, but somehow, I don’t think that Howard Webb would let us field 12 players against Manchester United.

  8. united fan… you began by making fun of howard webb but failed to acknowledge the fact that you escaped with a draw last season at OT from a penalty that never was. that said, i must admit that our defence is a complete joke. the same applies to fergie’s selections in midfield. i hope he doesn’t start both giggs and scholes otherwise i don’t think we can count the number of balls we’ll pick from our net!

  9. Sorry for going a bit off topic but could somebody please tell me this wonga arena thing isn’t true?

    Top preview as always andymac. I’m staying realistic and hoping for a draw this time

  10. Shola & one of the Dembas & Ferguson if we are to play 4-4-2. Cannot see Pardew starting with your preferred formation. Whatever the result be could to see us competing against a manure side with it’s own frailties. in a way they are in the same position as us. Problems at the back & shifting formation to accommodate a striker in an unpreferred position…unfortunately Rooney seems comfortable in midfield.

  11. my typing is getting worse, 4-3-3 ffs, cannot wait for commentators saying, welcome to the stadium.

  12. worky, it might not be a bad idea, my dodgy typing formation, because lets face it, with howard webb, they have twelve men anyway.

  13. @11

    As long as we don’t transfer our debt over to Wonga too – @ 4214 % APR we’d be really buggered! ;-)


    The stadium, named the Sports Direct Arena after Mr Ashley’s sportswear retailer, will be renamed Wonga.

    It is not the first time the lender has been involved in football. Wonga is shirt sponsor for Championship side Blackpool, in a deal which currently runs until the end of the 2012/2013 season.

    Earlier this year the company’s deal with the Football League, in which it advertised on club websites, ended just before fans were to vote on a call for the adverts to be removed from the sites amid concerns about the level of interest charged on its loans.

    News of the impending Newcastle sponsorship comes as Wonga filed detailed accounts for the year ended December 2011 at Companies House”

    Fatman’s two fingers up to the fans once again ? Remember TJ saying this is the lull before the storm ? Well there will be a shlt storm if Fatman tries this on !

  15. I’m taking this to the match today just to gauge opinion. Lets hope they’re not all as indifferent as Sammy J ?

  16. Sammy J: isn’t there a parliament that makes laws to prevent usary loans? or are they all on Murdoch’s payroll now.

  17. Stade de Wonga. It doesn’t even sound good in French!

    That Torygraph story is crap though, sounds fishy as it is. I just keep asking if they’ve just put something out there which is so hideous to contemplate, it even makes SDA sound not so bad.

  18. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not indifferent, we shouldn’t be handing over our name to anyone. SJP should be reinstated but that will never happen under this regime and nor is it likely to be subsequently. To be associated with a company that completely takes advantage of those struggling with money takes the p*ss, and cheapens the club. The news saddens me and I was just attempting to draw attention to the ridiculous nature of the whole deal – oddly it seems the perfect partner for Ashley and co!

  19. I’ve read what I posted @15 AndyMac and can see that there was a level of flippancy which could be misconstrued as indifference but I was taking the new with a pinch of salt as the story appears unsubstantiated.

  20. AndyMac says:
    October 7, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    “Fatman’s two fingers up to the fans once again ? Remember TJ saying this is the lull before the storm ? Well there will be a shlt storm if Fatman tries this on !”

    No there won’t be. Everyone will piss and moan for a few weeks, then Ashley will do some kind of offer on season tickets and the fans will gobble them up just to get their fix of football.

    Every time something happens you see / hear the fans whine but they achieve nothing. I’m still perplexed how Liverpool fans were able to oust their owners, but Newcastle fans can’t.

    Ashley just laughs at everyone because he knows the fans will never stay away, he knows it will only be a few weeks of chanting and then everything goes back to normal and the stadium is full.

    It won’t be called Wonga Stadium or whatever anyway. It will be SDA until he fcks off. Either way he could call it ‘Big Mike’s Massive Pen*is Stadium’ and people would still go.

  21. Whichever side the Mancs put out, theres no way they can field a worse back four than ours.(the one we all expect)
    Even with people like Evans (mistake prone)
    And his partner, a (worn out Ferdinand)
    Whereas i dont really rate the young Brasilian RB and Evra appears to have lost a step.
    A midfield trio consisting of thirty plus’s,in all, the combination points to us fielding a side with a bit of pace (hopefully)
    So here goes my choice (controversial no doubt, but i dont allways agree on where players are best utilised)



    Tiote is the best stopper we have,
    With Cabaye and Anita providing the forwards and stiffening the midfield.
    Fergie can also provide service from the wing and let HBA roam, drawing players from their comfort zone.
    Probably stick Obertan in for a cameo role, he has the pace and will, like against the Girondins, want to shine against his former side.
    But if we win, it will be on the backs of our super strikers.