Here are the key battles that will go a long way to deciding the game.
Steven Taylor v Robin Van Persie
Steven Taylor is one of the best defensive players Newcastle have at their disposal and he has a key role to play in keeping Robin Van Persie out of the game. The Dutch striker has shown this season that he can score goals for Manchester United in a split second so Taylor will have to watch his movement both off of the Newcastle defensive line and when he tries to get in behind the home defence.
Hatem Ben Arfa v Rafael/Patrice Evra
Hatem Ben Arfa is an extremely talented and quick player who can play down either wing of the Newcastle team. He will be tasked with trying to pull Rafael and Patrice Evra out of position which will expose the Manchester United centre backs. If he is successful then not only will he have space to run in behind, he will also create a great opportunity for the strikers to drift into that space and further separate the away team’s defence.
Cheick Tiote v Paul Scholes
Tiote has to stop United’s most influential midfield players from getting on the ball. He has been in and out of the side in recent times and will need a big performance to prove that he is the main man for the rest of the season. Scholes has to find a way of evading him or being equally physical to make sure he can pull all of the strings in the middle and allow the United attack players to cause havoc among the Newcastle defence.
Papiss Cisse v Michael Carrick
Carrick needs to play the role of protecting the United back four much more efficiently and he is likely to be given the task of keeping an eye on Cisse in this game. Cisse sometimes drops off to get the ball which allows other Newcastle players the chance to make runs into the United penalty box. If Carrick can be there when the ball is fed to Cisse, to steal it away from him and stop him taking long shots, he will play a large part in the win if United secure three points.
Demba Ba v Rio Ferdinand
Ferdinand was heavily criticised after the defeat to Spurs as he was involved in all three goals. However, it was collective failings from the United defence which led to those goals and he is still the best man the away team have to take care of Demba Ba. Ba has been in prolific form for Newcastle and he has scored goals against United before. If Ferdinand can stop him getting the ball in key areas and stay the right side of the striker then Ferdinand has enough experience and skill to win this battle.