Manchester United vs Newcastle United – Predicted starting XI

by Tom Newbold

This years Boxing Day fixtures see Manchester United host Newcastle United, as teams look to fully utilise their squads in the busy festive season. After an impressive 3-0 away win earlier in the season, the team from Manchester will be looking to do the double over the Magpies.

Team

David de Gea De Gea’s recent first-team inclusions suggest he will remain in that spot at home to Newcastle. Deservedly so too.

Phil Jones – With no update on Rafael’s injury, Phil Jones is likely to be picked again at right-back.

Nemanja Vidic – With a fully-fit complement of central defenders, this position is hardest to predict. After an unscathed return against Swansea, Vidic may well keep his place against Newcastle as Sir Alex Ferguson looks to give him a run of games.

Jonny Evans – After partnering Vidic against Swansea, Evans will most likely start again in this match.

Patrice Evra – The Frenchman will probably be rested soon but as Newcastle are likely to play with width, Evra’s experience may be key.

Ashley Young Of Manchester United’s two available wingers, Young is more on form than Antonio Valencia. If only one of the two start against Newcastle, Young is certainly the favourite.

Paul Scholes – Injuries have left Newcastle thin in terms of midfield options, making it likely that Ferguson will continue to use a two-man midfield rather than the diamond he used against the Magpies earlier in the season. The veteran Scholes is well overdue a first-team start.

Darren Fletcher – Fletcher is another not to have played recently and after partnering Scholes earlier in the season, may well do again in this fixture. His defensive combativeness may be effective in defending against Newcastle.

Danny Welbeck – Welbeck is undoubtedly more effective up front but he needs minutes and does offer penetration out left. The Englishman’s ability to cut inside may also cause Newcastle problems centrally.

Javier Hernandez – Hernandez is an option to come into the side after Wayne Rooney’s poor performance versus Swansea.

Robin van Persie – Van Persie was one of the few good performers against Swansea, and in the possible absence of Rooney, the Dutchman will almost certainly start.

Formation

The 4-4-2 is again likely to be used against Newcastle. The diamond formation was used earlier in the season at St. James’ Park, but a depleted Newcastle squad and home advantage means Ferguson is likely to choose a formation with more natural width. With such a big pool of players available, it is increasingly hard to predict the starting line-up, but there will certainly be rotation in this match.

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