Manchester United vs. Newcastle United Preview

Barclays Premier League 26/11/2011 (k.o 3pm)

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Published: 12/12/2011

Premier League champions Manchester United play host to Alan Pardew’s Newcastle on November 26 at Old Trafford, with both club’s old rivalry set to be restored amidst the Magpies excellent start to the 2011/2012 campaign.

The fortunes of the two teams in question have contrasted significantly in recent years since their famous title struggle in 1995/1996, when then Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan infamously declared live on air that he would ‘just love it’ if his side got the better of Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils.

After squandering a seemingly unassailable twelve point lead heading into the final weeks of the season, Newcastle United gifted the Premier League crown away to their counterparts and subsequently embarked on a decade of underachievement and swelling mediocrity.

The Geordies were then plunged into crisis when relegated in 2008/2009; just twelve months after Manchester United had held the Champions League trophy aloft for the second time in ten years.

But now, after a swift and successful revival, Newcastle United find themselves in amongst the Premier League big boys and will sit just a handful of points behind Manchester United in the top four heading into this important fixture.

And although the Toon Army received a rude awakening away at table topping Manchester City which put an abrupt end to their unbeaten run, the club’s ever faithful supporters will be confident of leaving Old Trafford with at least a point as they flood into the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ in their droves.

Manchester United have failed to set the world alight so far this season aside from their 8-2 destruction of Arsenal and have often had to grind out results against teams which they have been expected to beat comfortably.

Alex Ferguson is rarely used to playing catch-up however his side already find themselves five points behind their city enemies leading into the busy winter period.

Newcastle will definitely fancy their chances against Ferguson’s men especially if the match develops into a battle in midfield.

Although the Magpies lack the firepower of other club’s around them in the table, Demba Ba has so far proved to be an absolute revelation and Newcastle will look to get him involved in the action as much as they possibly can.

This contest is likely to be one of the most intense to date in the 2011/2012 campaign and could prove pivotal for both clubs moving forward.

Should Newcastle succumb to a second consecutive defeat after being outplayed by Manchester City, their team ethic and morale could soon ebb away, especially if it becomes evident that they have been punching above their weight.

If, however, they are able to put that disappointment behind them, they may well be capable of stalling Manchester United’s title bid and their chase on Roberto Mancini’s league leaders.

It could go either way in terms of being a classic goal fest or a scrappy war of attrition, but after the ninety minutes fans and backers alike will have a far clearer idea as to what ambitions both clubs can harbour for the rest of the season.


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