Wednesday 4 January 2012 8.00pm
When doing my research (yes honestly!) for this match preview I had to look twice because I didn’t believe what the statistics were telling me.
The visitors’ record on the road is 7 league wins and 2 draws, scoring 19 and conceding only 3.
Only Liverpool and Stoke have gained a point but both times the Mancs were lucky to escape thanks to goals late on. In the other seven away matches though, only West Brom have managed a goal.
At home Manchester United have only dropped points in the famous defeat by City and of course the bizarre and even more famous/infamous 3-2 reversal by Blackburn the other day. Plus of course our excellent draw at Old Trafford, with these statistics making that result look better and better.
The optimist in me says that you are only as good as your last match….which I suppose doesn’t really work for us either as that was Anfield, but maybe it is preferable to be looking at each team’s last result rather than having to take into account ManU’s cracking record this season.
Rooney is likely to be back after being dropped for disciplinary reasons while other such as Rio Ferdinand and Giggs should also be back in. Maybe complacency played a big part in their Blackburn defeat with players left out that would have been included against different opposition.
However, history tells us that Alex Ferguson always puts his best side out against Newcastle, regardless of how rubbish we have been in recent times.
Looking for positives, we gave them a good game and arguably deserved that draw at Old Trafford, last season at St.James’ Park it was also a battling draw, scoreless on that occasion.
In addition all of our key players are available apart from long-term injury victim Steven Taylor, with also Ba and Tiote hopefully looking to sign off in the league on a positive note before heading off to the African Nations.
The Manchester United stats tell us that if we go behind then it could be a long hard night so I’m guessing Alan Pardew will be looking to keep it tight, rather than an open game.
In light of that my suggested tips via BET365 are draw at half-time and Newcastle win at full-time at 10-1. Then following on from Liverpool where Cabaye should have been credited with the opening goal, I think he might be tasked with getting in the box more and he is a decent bet at 13-2 to score at any time in the match.
Then finally, in the hope that the visitors continue the defending we saw against Blackburn I am tipping Newcastle to score in both halves at 9-2, with Demba Ba in such form we will always have a goal threat.