Monday 11 January 2016

Match preview: Newcastle v United

United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger will miss Tuesday's trip to Tyneside with the knee injury sustained in Saturday's cup tie against Sheffield United.

The German picked up the problem in the closing stages and- whilst the injury is not as bad as first feared- he is definitely ruled out of the trip to Steve McClaren's Magpies.

Former England boss McClaren - whom served as Sir Alex's assistant between 1999-2001- was a surprise appointment on Tyneside last summer- and, so far, his fortunes have followed those of his Newcastle predecessors. 

Life in the Premier League seems an annual struggle for Newcastle these days- they finished 16th in 2012/13, survived on the final day of last season under John Carver and sit in the bottom three again this time around ahead of the visit of United.

They have enjoyed shock wins over Liverpool and Spurs this term but since then have suffered four successive 1-0 defeats and reside in 18th position, two points behind third from bottom Swansea.

These two sides served up a goalless draw in their Old Trafford meeting in August-with the Reds dominant- and United manager Louis van Gaal has called for his side to "continue" recent form in the return.

The Dutchman said:

"We have won two times in a row and maybe it shall give us a boost but now we are playing away and that is always more difficult.
"Newcastle is playing very well, I saw them against Arsenal and they played very well but they have not won and that's the most important thing because we have to continue and beat them tomorrow.
"I watch and analyze every opponent because it helps me and my players because then we know how we need to play, but I am focused on how we can improve and our attacking and defensive phases.
"Bastian is injured, that we know, and we have seen that because he could not move in the match against Sheffield United but we are not sure how heavy it shall be."

Schweinsteiger aside, there are also doubts over Ashley Young, Michael Carrick and Morgan Schneiderlin whom all missed the win over the Blades.
Phil Jones again misses out with an ankle problem and Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Antonio Valencia all remain sidelined with long term injuries.
Jesse Lingard will push for involvement  on Tuesday  having returned from his hamstring injury as a sub at the weekend. 

Adnan Januzaj looks unlikely to feature at St James' Park as he still needs match fitness- the Belgian will not play for the Under 21s at Reading tonight as originally planned.

Form guide: Newcastle W D L L L L United L L L D W W
Match odds: Newcastle 4/1 Draw 11/5 United 6/4
Referee: Mike Dean 

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