I’ve been remarkably quiet following the horror show at Southampton last weekend.
That’s probably because what I’d have said about it would have cause great offence, especially if you dislike reading swear words!
It was horrible, toothless and we were played of the park by a Southampton side who took advantage of the fact that we just didn’t turn up. I’m struggling to motivate myself with us having nothing on the line but I don’t expect the same from the players who are paid a lot of money to remain professional and give their all. They failed in that regard last weekend. They failed miserably.
To set the record straight they are going to need to pull something special out of the bag against a Manchester United side who have attracted their own critics this season. That Manchester United side drew with the European Champions in midweek shortly after seeing off Aston Villa 4-1 last weekend. They seem to be gathering momentum and whilst it might be too late for them to rescue their own season it’s still not a good sign for Newcastle.
Five of the players who played in the 1-0 victory at Old Trafford earlier on in the season will not feature for the return fixture. Yohan Cabaye is now no longer with us after his January move to PSG, Mathieu Debuchy, Loic Remy and Moussa Sissoko are all out while Tim Krul remains sidelined. The whereabouts of Gabriel Obertan are unknown and Sammy Ameobi is also unavailable although Davide Santon could start after completing 45 minutes at St Mary’s last weekend.
Robin van Persie misses out due to a sprained knee while Rafael and Alexander Buttner are both unlikely to feature due to hamstring complaints.
The result earlier in the season means that Newcastle have a chance to do a league double over Manchester United for the first time since 1931. However it is worth pointing out that we’ve won just five games (out of 40) against the Red Devils since the inception of the Premier League.
At St James’ Park we do hold a slight historical advantage in terms of results. The 76 matches played have seen Newcastle win on 31 occasions compared to 28 wins for Manchester United.
However a formidable record at Old Trafford gives Manchester United the upper hand overall. Including the Charity Shield in 1996, FA Cup final in 1999 and FA Cup semi-final in 2005, a total of 156 games have been played between the two clubs. Manchester United have won 71 of those, Newcastle just 41 with 37 draws making up the numbers.
Stats and facts…
Loic Remy has missed the last five games. In that sequence we’ve scored one goal and picked up one win, both if which happened against Crystal Palace.
Wayne Rooney has scored ten goals against Newcastle. Only against Aston Villa has Rooney scored more.
Manchester United have the best away record in the Premier League having picked up 30 points from 48 on offer.
Newcastle have won only four of their last 14 Premier League matches.
As much as I’ve been critical of our levels of motivation recently, I’m not too bothered about that for games like this. For whatever reason we always tend to be able to get ourselves ‘up’ for games like these and if we haven’t got a point to prove after last weekend then we may aswell all get our buckets and spades out now.
However I think the amount of players we have missing will cause us a problem, particularly in attack where we’ve looked impotent without Loic Remy. Sometimes stats lie but our record without him has been poor and that can’t be ignored. Unfortunately I think it will once again cost us in this one.
Howay the lads!
Date: Saturday, 5th April, 2014
Venue: St James’ Park