What has become the traditional Boxing Day travel for fans of NUFC will see us visit Old Trafford this time for our ninth Boxing Day away league game in the last ten seasons.
It’s not the best fixture in truth as our record at Old Trafford is shocking and the strength of Manchester United is something that pretty much everyone knows about, but all we can do is try our best and hope.
We’ve been on the end of some real hammerings from Alex Ferguson’s side over the years and we’ve failed to beat them away from home in more than my lifetime. It is quite simply a “write off” as far as I’m concerned and if we can sneak a point then I’d be over the moon. With the relative form of both sides though I can, unfortunately, only see one outcome though.
Alex Ferguson is reportedly ready to make some changes after failing to beat Swansea on Saturday. Robin van Persie should be fine to play after his near-death experience at the Liberty Stadium. Sir Alex is reportedly asking for footballs to be banned from football matches as a safety precaution.
Joking aside, Rafael will undergo a fitness test after missing the match against Swansea with a hamstring injury while Anderson and Nani are doubtful with the same complaint. Shinji Kagawa is back in training following a knee injury.
No new regarding injuries. Steven Taylor, Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye, Ryan Taylor, Haris Vuckic and Dan Gosling are all missing through various injuries whilst Cheik Tiote will miss this one as he serves a one match suspension for picking up his fifth booking of the season against QPR on Saturday.
Well where do I start? It’s been over 40 years since we won a game at Old Trafford (2-0 back in February 1972) and we’ve only won nine games at the home of Manchester United in the entire 118 year history of meetings between the two sides. Manchester United have won 47 times on home turf with 20 draws making up the 76 games contested between the two clubs in Manchester.
Overall there have been 156 matches between the two sides in all competitions over the years. Manchester United have won 79 of them, Newcastle United have won 40 of them, and the other 37 have ended in a draw.
Stats and facts:
Manchester United have the best record of Premier League matches on Boxing Day. They’ve played 18 in the Premier League, won 15 and lost just one.
Manchester United have taken more Premier League points off us than any other team. The Red Devils have picked up 75 points from the Magpies in the Premier League era.
Manchester United have scored in 57 consecutive Premier League home games. The last time they failed to score at home was during a 1-0 loss against Aston Villa in December 2009.
Newcastle are most prolific away from home in the fifteen minutes after half-time. Six of the 12 away league goals scored this season have been in this period.
I can usually dig up some positive statistics for the last section but this time around it was a real struggle which kind of puts into perspective how tough this game will be. The sad thing is I could have kept going with various nuggets about Manchester United, such as Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie’s scoring records against us…
As I said right at the top of the article, the best we can do is go to Old Trafford and give it our best shot. We’ve had teams that have been playing better than this current one be sent home from Manchester United with their tails whipped so I guess we just have to hope for the best and see what happens.
Howay the lads!
Date: Wednesday, 26th December, 2012
Venue: Old Trafford
Team News: Newcastle United: (4-3-3) Krul; Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini (c), Santon; Anita, Perch, Bigirimana; Cisse, Ba, Marveaux
Subs: Elliot, Tavernier, Ferguson, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Campbell, Shola Ameobi
Manchester United: De Gea; Smalling, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra (c); Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs; Van Persie, Hernandez.
Subs: Lindegaard, Wootton, Tunnicliffe, Vidic, Cleverley, Fletcher, Buttner