Wednesday night gives us the opportunity to build on the hard fought three points won against Villa at the weekend as this enigmatic Man United side pay us a visit. Despite the gap between these two teams being wider than it once was, this fixture will always contain that little bit of needle which provokes a good atmosphere and to be fair to the opposition their supporters always come in good numbers and have a cracking songbook which they put to good use. There’s far too much history here for us not to be desperate to get one over on this lot. The performance against Villa wasn’t vintage by any means but there were positive improvements on recent weeks, Williamson and Coloccini looked solid despite coming up against the pace and power of Agbonlahor and Benteke; and in the second half we continued to push forward in search of a second goal which was refreshing to see and John Carver deserves some credit for this approach.
In terms of options it remains to be seen whether Haidara was taken off as a precaution or whether his injury was as serious as it looked, if it’s the latter then we may have to struggle on with Ryan Taylor as a makeshift left back for the rest of the season, a big ask for somebody who has hardly played any football for the past 2 and a half years. Ayoze was given a breather at the weekend although he did play the final twenty minutes or so, a necessary rest given this is his first season in top flight football and he’s been running his bollocks off in isolation for the past few months. I’d expect him to be put back in the starting eleven on Wednesday though especially considering how easy their defence can be gotten at, although to be fair to his replacement on Saturday Riviere put in a decent performance and one thing I have noticed is that he doesn’t hide for a player so clearly lacking in confidence.
Our visitors have had a topsy-turvy season despite sitting in the Champions League places, they’ve struggled to put many good performances together and have looked disjointed under the loathsome Louis Van Gaal. They edged past the Mackems at the weekend with two goals from Rooney who was reverted back to the striker position he’s been playing his entire career, he’s likely to be kept there alongside the misfiring Radamel Falcao given the ankle problem to Van Persie who always bloody manages to score against us. As alluded to before their defence is really vulnerable and it’s vital that when chances do come our way we are clinical, something that has been missing when getting ourselves into good counter attacking situations in recent home matches.
Likely Line Ups
NUFC – (4-4-1-1) Krul; Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Haidara/Raylor; Obertan, Abeid, Sissoko, Ameobi; Ayoze, Cisse
MUFC – (3-5-2) De Gea; Smalling, Evans, Rojo; Valencia, Blind, Ander, Di Maria, Young; Rooney, Falcao
Previous Meetings – NUFC 0 MUFC 4 April 2014 – A miserable performance as a Man United side struggling for form swept us away comfortably with a scratch side. A supposed dressing room bustup after the game spelt the beginning of the end of Hatem Ben Arfa’s Tyneside career.
NUFC 3 MUFC 0 January 2012 – A solid performance where the 3-0 scoreline was fully justified, a cracking finish by Demba Ba was followed by a stunning Cabaye free kick at the Gallowgate end before an own goal settled things.
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