Manchester United v Newcastle United: Preview 7th December 2013


The way things are going for David Moyes, he’s not likely to have a jolly Christmas.

Not only did he lose to his former club mid-week, Everton have outscored United at home by five goals! With van Persie struggling with injury, goals have been in short supply in the Premier League for the Champions, which is why we’ve found a special offer for Bet Butler customers.

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The Old Trafford fear factor has gone, that’s the verdict of former Manchester United and Northern Ireland winger Keith Gillespie.

The 38-year-old is looking forward to this weekend’s clash between two of his former clubs, when Newcastle United visit the Theatre of Dreams. Newcastle, 16/1 to finish in the top six this season, can be backed at 20/1 to win 1-0 at Old Trafford, with Shola Ameobi available at 11/1 to open the scoring.

Gillespie came through the ranks with the Red Devils and is still a regular at the majority of their home games. But the lifelong Red believes teams are now confident of a getting a result when, previously, it was a case of damage limitation for the majority of visiting clubs.

United will look to bounce back from Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Everton, which left David Moyes’ team ninth in the Premier League table and 12 points behind leaders Arsenal, 9/4 to win the title outright.

That task won’t be helped with Wayne Rooney serving a one-match suspension and fellow striker Robin van Persie still struggling to recover from a groin complaint.

Gillespie admits: “I think things have changed now and teams think they can win at United.

“But, having said that, I think if Alan Pardew was offered a point now he would take it. For me, United really lack strength in midfield. The only creativity seems to come from Rooney.”

Newcastle forward Papiss Cisse faces a fitness test on the heel injury which ruled him out of the defeat by Swansea.

Hatem Ben Arfa also missed that game with illness but should be fit.


Until Wednesday, Everton hadn’t won away to Manchester United since 1992 – so even without the David Moyes against his old club scenario, it was a pretty big deal.

Let’s face it – every United home defeat is, and we COULD be dealing with something even bigger this time.

Newcastle haven’t beaten United at Old Trafford since 1972, when goals from John Tudor and Stewart Barrowclough gave the Magpies their one and only success since 1950. That’s one win in 48 games spanning 63 years.

David Moyes will not be helped by having Wayne Rooney suspended for this game after he picked up his fifth booking of the season against Everton. He will be hoping that Robin van Persie will be fit, but that situation is worrying too.

Over those years they’ve generally had a good go in vain, with last season’s Premier League visit a prime example. Three times Newcastle led, only to be beaten 4-3. They’ll just have to take the lead once this time to make the home regulars restless.

They’ve seen their side drop 10 points at home already this season – one more than went begging in the whole of last term – and whilst nobody could credibly suggest that United are experiencing a clichéd ‘crisis’, they can ill-afford to drop many more if they’re to challenge for a top four place, let alone the title.

The last time they had as few points after 14 games was in 2001-02 when they went on to finish third.

Currently as close to the bottom three as they are to Arsenal at the top, Moyes might even take third if offered it now, having admitted that his side “will have to play some great football and win an awful lot of games in the run-in”.

After four successive wins, Newcastle suffered their own setback at Swansea on Wednesday, but that won’t stop Alan Pardew from thinking – like many other managers – that this is the season to go to Old Trafford undaunted.

Teams have a prayer there now, with Manchester United fans perhaps offering a few up to the ‘man upstairs’. That’s Sir Alex Ferguson, for the avoidance of doubt.



  • Newcastle have only won one of their last 23 matches against Manchester United in all competitions – a 3-0 Premier League home victory in January 2012.
  • In total, they have only won four of their 38 Premier League matches against the Red Devils – all at St James’ Park.
  • Manchester United have won 78 Premier League points against Newcastle – more than any other club has against the Geordies.
  • In last season’s encounter on Boxing Day at Old Trafford, the home side came from behind three times to win 4-3 thanks to a last-minute goal from Javier Hernandez.

Manchester United

  • The Red Devils have now failed to score in two Premier League home games in the same season for the first time since 2006-07.
  • They have only won five of their last 11 league games at Old Trafford.
  • United have conceded more goals than any other club in the top half of the table – bar Newcastle.
  • If Robin van Persie does not recover from injury this will be the first time United have played a league game without either him or Wayne Rooney in their side since the Dutchman arrived.
  • United have scored only eight goals in seven Premier League home games this season, fewer than bottom of the league Sunderland.
  • They have not lost successive Premier League home games since May 2002.

Newcastle United

  • Newcastle have alternated between wins and defeats in their last eight away games in the league.
  • Their defeat at Swansea brought to an end their run of four straight wins and it was only their second defeat in their last eight matches.
  • They have conceded 14 goals away from home in the league this season – a total only surpassed by three other teams.

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