Manchester United saw their lead at the top of the Premier League table cut to four points at the weekend as Manchester City snatched a late winner at home to Reading and United could only manage to pick up a point at Swansea.
Prior to the weekend draw with Swansea United had won their five previous league games and come into this one unbeaten in six and having won all but one of their eight league home games to date.
Newcastle’s win at home to QPR was only their second victory in 12 games in all competitions. The Magpies have not, however, managed an away victory in the Premier League yet this season and will be arriving at The Theatre of Dreams with low expectations.
De Gea; Smalling, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs; Hernandez, Van Persie.
The visitors continue to be without Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye, Dan Gosling, Ryan Taylor and Steven Taylor due to injury, while Chieck Tiote is also unavailable as he serves a one-game suspension due to an accumulation of yellow cards this season.
Newcastle’s record at Old Trafford, and against Manchester Untied in general, does not make for pleasant reading if you’re a fan of the Magpies. The Geordies have won just one of their last 20 Premier League meetings, although have only lost one of the last four.
They also haven’t won at Old Trafford on any of their last 30 visits, in a run that stretches back more than 30 years to February 1972.
Both Wayne Rooney and strike partner Van Persie each also have particularly impressive individual records against Newcastle. Rooney has scored 10 league goals against them, his joint-highest tally against any opponent, while The Dutchman has netted five and assisted three in his last seven against the black and whites.
Neither recent form nor head-to-head form offers any rationale for not backing the home team, despite short odds of 1/4. Newcastle are a 9/1 chance to put an end to those numerous statistics weighted against them and pick up all three points, a share of the spoils is priced at odds of 5/1.
Van Persie heads the goalscorer markets and is priced at odds of 7/4 get the first of the game, and 4/11 to score anytime. Rooney isn’t far behind and can be backed at 5/2 and 8/13 in respective markets. Given the slightly larger odds the Englishman looks to be the better bet of the two.