Manchester United are determined to win the Premiership championship this season after a indifferent campaign in the last campaign. They started off on a high at the start of the season but drifted away from the top of the table.
The good news for United is that they should have no problem raising the trophy over this weekend should they achieve FA Cup success against Everton in match week 30; this will be the third time the Old Trafford team has won the award this season.
A series of bad results, including the recent home defeat against West Ham, has seen the top four placed teams in the Premiership table begin to look like their usual, with top item West Ham bottom of the table.
Manager Ferguson has responded to these results byhauling out his “fitness crampers ” and bringing new gunners Van Der Sar and O’Shea, while emergency signing Mongia striker Fletcher has been used to shore up a defence.
Newcomer Darren Bent, who arrived from Tottenham Hotspur in the January transfer window, has impressed in the dominant midfield role. Despite his obvious lack of pace, Bent has settled in well and work has been good up front with a total of four goals scored.
Apart from the outstanding trio, there are question marks against both West Ham and Wolves, besides a severe lack of experience in strikers. Hammers will surely miss the absent Tuncay Sanli, a hamstring injury has also kept Yossi Benayoun out of the Wing.
While O’Shea’s shoulder injury sustained in the Wigan game will keep him out of the game against United, Anthony Stearns could be the key to the game in defense. He has made a creditable performance in both the Eastlands games this season, giving free team mates too much time to exploit.
The last meeting between the sides, United won 2-1 on forty-five year anniversary of the match at Munich, in match week 27.
United had a poor match last season, winning just once and losing four games but the one against Third- Division time at Old Trafford was a match they certainly could have won.
With neither team having a widely-spent captain, last season it was mostly up to youngsters, with both sides’ first team absentees having been seasoned players. It was up to the likes of Brown and Evra, with a combined total of eleven caps, to weather the storm. It was a welcome respite for United, last Easter, when they lost 4-0 to Rickie Lambert’s return to action at Cardiff.
Newcastle sealed a dramatic late winners against Man City during match week 27. In the absence of Barton and Tiote, both United’s forwards went head-to-head, with Nolan serving as the stinger. The minimal impact of Carroll was sufficient to see Newcastle past the elite of Man City. TheCarrollmore the red side of the Magpies’ is not as strong as he was last season, while in contrast Barton has matured into his role as United’s first choice ‘winger.
Head to head, United have enjoyed an unbeaten run against United at Old Trafford, having won all five matches since the start of the 2009-10 season. Newcastle, currently in their second year in the top flight, have lost four games at home in this campaign and three of those were away, including the last two in succession.
Currently in a respectable 11th position in the points table, Newcastle have lost three of eight games hosted while winning two, with the remaining game drawn. United have kept three of six trips to the St James’ Park. The Magpies have won just the one league game played here while losing three and drawing two.
On current form, United should edge this one.
Manchester United had the following men in their starting eleven against West Ham in match week 30: Van der Sar, Da Silva, Smalling, Valencia, Ferdinand, Van der Sar, Evra, Scholes, Berbatov and Rooney. Valencia, replacing the injured Fabio, played an out-of-form game against Chelsea, a game United lost 2-1. Nani, replacing Scholes, had a mixed bag of a match, with a couple of good runs, while being quiet as usual.
The following men were in Newcastle’s starting eleven against West Ham in match week 30: Harper, Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Enrique, Jose Enrique, Nolan, Guza, Carroll and Ameobi. Carroll and Ameobi had the unenviable task of stopping United forward’s from getting forward, with their efforts not alwaysEffective, with United getting the lead on 4 Minutes. Among those hauled off were Barton with a leg injury and Tiote with a hip injury. The match was relatively easy for Newcastle, even without Tiote.