Manchester United take on Alan Pardew’s ninth place Newcastle United away on Tyneside at 4pm on Sunday.
United will hope to avoid a repeat of last years 3-0 capitulation, in which Tiote and Cabaye dominated a midfield of Giggs and Carrick. Given the spectacularly unsuccessful outing of two ageing stars in Giggs and Scholes in last weekends 3-2 defeat against Spurs, it’s highly unlikely they’ll be played together again. In truth the game will be won by whoever successfully controls midfield, an area in which Newcastle have a definite advantage.
United defeated a weakened Newcastle side 2-1 in the League cup just 10 days ago with goals from Anderson and Cleverley for United and Cisse for Newcastle. Cisse, on from the bench in that game, caused Evans all kinds of problems with his size and physical play – and Pardew will likely instruct him to do the same again today. After Spurs’ success running at Ferdinand, look for Ben Afra to cut inside and attempt to isolate him repeatedly, however you would hope Sir Alex has learned his lesson and will play a holding midfielder to prevent this happening.
Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Welbeck, Carrick, Cleverley, Kagawa, Rooney, van Persie