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Man United can still shoot down Newcastle

Fans of both Manchester United and Newcastle United are probably wondering just what’s going on at the moment with the Reds, last season’s Champions, languishing in mid-table and the Magpies, last season’s relegation fodder, two places above them and not too far off a precious top four spot.

It can’t last, can it? Well, United have the chance to overtake Newcastle and restore natural order at Old Trafford this Saturday lunchtime. Coral rate the home team 2/5 chances with Newcastle 13/2 (7/2 the draw) and both sides will be desperate to get back on track after midweek setbacks.

The media just don’t know what to make of United. Only ten days ago they were purring with pleasure after top Bundesliga outfiit, Bayer Leverkusen, were dismantled 5-0 on their own patch. But that came in the middle of two 2-2 away draws against Cardiff and Spurs and when United were turned over by Everton last Wednesday, it meant they had picked up only two points out of the last nine..

David Moyes had no complaints about the latest result, but it’s fair to say that United, while certainly not currently the force they have been in previous seasons, are not as bad as some are making out.

Mind you, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing for the management to worry about; there certainly is. Four defeats from the first 14 games is more than just a blip and most United fans have already written off the title (now 20/1 with Coral) and are more concerned with qualifying for the Champions League (evens).

Newcastle’s fabulous run of four straight victories was ended pretty emphatically by Swansea and this trip to a ground they have failed to win at for donkeys years will be a real test of their character.

They will take heart that Everton laid a similar bogey to rest, but I’m not sure that Alan Pardew’s side have the same all-round quality as the Toffees at the moment.

United are without the suspended Wayne Rooney, a big loss, and will be hoping that Robin van Persie (7/2 to score first or last, 10/11 at any time) will be fit to fill the void. Newcastle will be relying principally on Loic Remy (11/4) to get them a goal and the on-loan French striker has certainly done them proud this season.

This is a fixture that has traditionally produced plenty of goals over the years – Javier Hernandez scored a 90th minute winner in a 4-3 home victory last Boxing Day – and there might be a few in it again. Coral go 11/1 a 3-1 home win and that has a bit of a ring to it.