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Back Newcastle with handicap as Man Utd without Rooney and RVP

Were it not for their 3-0 midweek defeat at Swansea, Newcastle’s odds of 1/2 to beat Manchester United with a two-goal headstart at Old Trafford would be nigh on impossible to oppose.

After all, this is a Man Utd team without an injured Robin van Persie and a suspended Wayne Rooney and a Man Utd team that haven’t managed more than one goal in five of their seven Premier League home games this season, which is on par with Stoke.

West Ham are largely considered one of the weakest teams in the Premier League in terms of scoring goals, but even the Hammers have scored more than once at home on three occasions.

Furthermore, this is a Man Utd team that have only beaten Crystal Palace by a margin of more than one goal in the top-flight at Old Trafford this season and the visitors had Kagisho Dikgacoi sent off in the first half of that encounter.

Meanwhile, Newcastle’s away form has been far from dreadful in the season so far, with three victories.

The Swansea result has given a small reason to be fearful though of backing Newcastle with the handicap, as it was the first game that Newcastle had failed to score in the Premier League since August.

But taking everything into consideration, the price on Newcastle with a two-goal handicap certainly looks far more appealing than the 2/5 on offer for Manchester United to win.

The other match betting prices have Newcastle at 13/2 to leave Old Trafford with three points and the draw at 7/2.

With Rooney and Van Persie absent, Javier Hernandez will be a popular pick to be on target in the 90 minutes, as he is virtually guaranteed a starting berth.

Hernandez is 6/5 to score inside the 90 minutes and Newcastle have only kept one clean sheet on the road this season, which was at goal-shy Tottenham.

Patrice Evra had scored four goals by Boxing Day last season and is becoming a growing threat from set pieces, despite being one of Man Utd’s shorter players.

The French left-back should have scored a free header against Everton in the last game at Old Trafford and can make amends here, against opposition who he netted against in both league meetings last season.

Man Utd need others to step up on the goal front without their two leading strikers and Evra makes plenty of appeal at 8/1 to score in the 90 minutes. Alternatively, Evra is 25/1 to open the scoring.

Given Man Utd’s struggles for home goals, evading the 4/9 that the Red Devils score two or more against Newcastle has to be a wise strategy, with 23/10 a better option that David Moyes sees his team score exactly once.

Meanwhile, it is 4/7 that goals are seen in both halves at Old Trafford and this is something that has happened in each of the last four meetings between these two.