Manchester United host Newcastle United in the third round of the Capital One Cup, as the Premier League sides enter the competition for the first time. Arguably the biggest clash of the competition so far, the two United’s have a reputation for serving up some sensational encounters during their long, storied rivalry.
Last season was no different as the Magpies pulled off a stunning 3-0 win at the Sports Direct Arena and the Red Devils are set to be ready to dish out some revenge in their first clash of the season. United are favourites in the latest Capital One Cup betting for this match, but they also have a severe injury crisis and a big game on the weekend to plan for.
Manchester United preview
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side are heading into this match in fine form as they’ve won five games in a row now. After suffering a shock loss to Everton in their opening fixture of the season, they have been ruthless to their opposition since, be it crushing Wigan at home or grinding out a slender win at Anfield last weekend. However although the Mancunians will be the bookies favorites for the game, their expected resting of star players such as Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie, will mean the game could go either way.
The news of Nemanja Vidic undergoing knee surgery and being out for 8 weeks is a big blow to the home side. Their defence is already severely depleted with other central defenders such as Phil Jones and Chris Smalling still on the sidelines. However Wayne Rooney could make a shock return to the starting XI following the nasty gash he got on his leg several weeks ago. Darren Fletcher is also in line to make his first start in 10 months as he battles his way back to fitness from a chronic bowel illness.
Newcastle United preview
The Toon enjoyed a similar start to their season, losing their opener to European champions Chelsea. However Alan Pardew’s men were able to steady the ship with a series of impressive draws against Aston Villa and high-flying Everton as well as beating Norwich in their last outing. Sandwiched in amongst all those domestic fixtures was a 1-0 win against Greek side, Atromitos as they will visit Old Trafford confident in their abilities to grab another surprising result in the Theatre of Dreams.
It is possible that Pardew will rest some of his bigger names from the squad such as Hatem Ben Arfa and Demba Ba as the Carling Cup ranks lowest on their season’s priorities. However Fabricio Coloccini (hamstring) and Cheick Tiote (calf) are set to make their first team returns after spells out. Unfortunately this games looks to have arrived to soon for the likes of Tim Krul (elbow) and Danny Simpson (hamstring) as otherwise, Newcastle have a fully fit squad to choose from.
Prediction: Manchester United 1-2 Newcastle United (aet) – Although the hosts are on a 5 game winning streak, their victories have been overshadowed by complacency. The Red Devils will likely capitalise from a strong start but the visitors should eventually seal a win in extra-time as the home challenge fades in the face of a hungrier opponent.
TV schedule: For viewers in the United States, today’s Manchester United against Newcastle United match will be shown live on beIN SPORT (via DirecTV or DISH Network) at 2:40pm ET.