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Saturday 06 October 2012

Matchweek 7: Newcastle United v Manchester United preview

Newcastle manager says forward strength and defensive injuries could make tie entertaining

Alan Pardew is wary of Robin van Persie's attacking threat for United

Newcastle United v Manchester United (4pm) #NEWMUN

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew is preparing himself for an exciting match as Manchester United come to Tyneside looking to avenge last season’s defeat there.

When the two sides last faced each other at the Sports Direct Arena on January 4 Sir Alex Ferguson's side were second-best, going down to 3-0 defeat.

Both sides have defensive injury problems, and that, coupled with the riches the two managers have at their disposal in attack, suggests it could be an entertaining encounter.

"Van Persie's confidence levels set him apart at the moment"
Alan Pardew

Newcastle's Demba Ba has six goals this season, while United's Robin van Persie has seven, and Pardew sees similarities between the two.

"Van Persie's confidence levels set him apart at the moment,” Pardew said. “He is one of those players who actually believes he's the best, and that's dangerous.

"Usually even when things are not going well and they are missing chances, they still think they are going to score. Demba is a little bit like that - he has that kind of attitude. There will be great strikers on view on Sunday, for sure.

"There will be so much ability on the pitch, you can't help but think there are going to be some great moments in the game - hopefully more for us than them."

Ferguson is "quite happy" with Van Persie despite claims from the player he must do more.

Van Persie took his goal tally since joining the club to seven in as many games with a double in the midweek Champions League win at Cluj but then said he needed to contribute more assists.

"He is a good passer of the ball and has good vision in his passing, too,” Ferguson said. "The goal he made last week for [Shinji] Kagawa against Tottenham is evidence of his passing ability. I am quite happy with what he is doing now.

"The refreshing thing for me is, he has actually not had any pre-season games, which is quite remarkable, having seven goals from seven games. I am quite pleased about that and his fitness will improve even more."

"We are aware of their strengths and Ben Arfa is an excellent player"
Sir Alex Ferguson

Ferguson acknowledged the threat from Newcastle's strikers, Ba and Papiss Cisse.

"Both have good scoring records," Ferguson said. "They rested Ba on Thursday [their 3-0 Europa League win over Bordeaux] and played [Shola] Ameobi.

"I don't know what the combination will be. There is talk about including Ameobi in the team for Sunday. But, either or - Ba and Ameobi are strong, aggressive players and Cisse has scored some fantastic goals for them.

"We are aware of their strengths and [Hatem] Ben Arfa from midfield is an excellent player."

Pardew will again be without first-choice goalkeeper Tim Krul - indeed, he will have 19-year-old Jak Alnwick on the bench with Rob Elliot having picked up a groin injury against Bordeaux on Thursday evening - and central defenders Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor.

But Ferguson too will have key absentees at the back with Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones still out.

Pardew said: "Both me and Alex will be sweating defensively. Our two centre-halves tomorrow have played almost every game – [James] Perch and [Mike] Williamson - and their two centre-halves could well be [Michael] Carrick and [Rio] Ferdinand, so it's not ideal.”

United have Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick available again after illness while Jonny Evans has recovered from a dead leg. Paul Scholes was rested in midweek and could return.

For all team news, the managers' press conferences and head-to-heads click on the link below. Also try predicting the score in the Barclays Fanzone.

PREVIEW - Newcastle United v Manchester United (4pm) #NEWMUN >>>


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Key Points

  • Newcastle take on Manchester United in the final fixture of Matchweek 7
  • Follow all the previews and pre-match press conferences here
  • Matchday Live offers live commentaries and photos of the matches as they happen followed by reports