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Friday, 26 December 2014

Manchester United vs Newcastle: team news and match preview

Team News

Defender Chris Smalling is making a good recovery from his groin injury and could play in Manchester United's Boxing Day match against Newcastle.

Midfielders Ander Herrera (muscle injury), Marouane Fellaini (illness) and Daley Blind (knee) are out.

Left-back Luke Shaw (ankle) is also unavailable and Marcos Rojo is a major doubt because of the thigh injury that has sidelined him for the last two matches.

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew will be without midfield enforcer Cheick Tiote through suspension for the Boxing Day trip to Manchester United.

The Ivory Coast international picked up his fifth booking of the season during Sunday's 1-0 defeat by Sunderland and will sit out along with goalkeeper Tim Krul, who is a week ahead of schedule in his recovery from an ankle injury, but like number two Rob Elliot (thigh), still has some way to go.

Striker Papiss Cisse continues to battle the after-effects of knee surgery and a virus, while midfielders Mehdi Abeid (toe) and Siem de Jong (thigh) are back in training but unavailable for the game at Old Trafford, and Rolando Aarons (hamstring), Gabriel Obertan (thigh) and Ryan Taylor (knee) remain on the sidelines.

Match Notes

Yohan Cabaye's goal at Old Trafford last December secured Newcastle's first victory at Manchester United since 1972 and, for a time, raised hopes of European qualification for Alan Pardew's team. At the same time, the home team's defeat confirmed fears that David Moyes was not up to the job as manager and the subsequent spiral into disarray led to the club's worst season in a quarter of a century. Twelve months on, both Uniteds remain on the brink of something, but nobody quite knows what it is for either of them.

Manchester United's provisional squad: De Gea, Lindegaard, Amos, Vermijl, Blackett, Rojo, Thorpe, Smalling, Evans, Jones, McNair, Rafael, Pereira, Fletcher, Valencia, Lingard, Anderson, Carrick, Young, Di Maria, Mata, Januzaj, Falcao, Rooney, Van Persie, W Keane.

Newcastle's provisional squad: Alnwick, Woodman, Janmaat, Dummett, S. Taylor, Williamson, Coloccini, Streete, Haidara, Anita, Sissoko, Cabella, Colback, Gouffran, Ameobi, Riviere, Cisse, Perez, Armstrong.

Betting: Home 2-5, Away 7-1, Draw 10-3.

Stat of the game: Manchester United have won 17 of the last 18 Boxing Day fixtures.

Mark Ogden's prediction: 3-1