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Preview: Newcastle United vs. Manchester United

Sports Mole previews Manchester United's Premier League trip to Newcastle United as the Red Devils seek a third successive victory at St James' Park.

Two teams who produced responses to disappointing results at the weekend meet in the Premier League on Wednesday as Manchester United visit Newcastle United.

The Red Devils saw their seven-match unbeaten run ended by Swansea City last Saturday, but bounced back to comfortably beat Sunderland 2-0 at Old Trafford.

Captain Wayne Rooney scored both of the goals to ensure that he did not go a career-worst nine Premier League games without finding the net.

The result kept United in the top four and games against Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool later this month could go a long way to deciding their Champions League fate.

FA Cup glory is also on United's agenda, but with their blockbuster quarter-final against Arsenal not until Monday, Louis van Gaal is unlikely to rest players for the trip to Tyneside.

With Michael Carrick, Robin van Persie and Phil Jones all still sidelined, the Dutchman may not deter too far from the side which earned United a fourth win in six outings.

Luke Shaw, who was left out against the Black Cats due to tiredness, could return at left-back in the only change, with Marcos Rojo shifting inside to a more familiar central role.

Rooney has been pushed further forward in recent weeks after a long spell in midfield and is expected to play just in behind Radamel Falcao, whose Old Trafford career is believed to be reaching make-or-break time.

Reports this week claimed that the Colombian striker's agent will meet with United officials this week to discuss the likelihood of his loan move from Monaco being converted into a big-money permanent deal come the summer.

One man whose United future already appears uncertain is Juan Mata, who has not started for the club in over a month. The Spanish playmaker, Marouane Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj may all have to settle for places on the bench.

Newcastle's humiliation was worse than a narrow defeat in Wales as they were flattened 5-0 by Manchester City. John Carver demanded a response and got one as his side ground out a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa on Saturday.

Papiss Cisse's strike was the difference between the sides, and the Magpies might have found themselves in relegation trouble had it not been for his 11 goals this season, which have come at the best minutes-to-goal ratio in the league.

As it is, Newcastle are safely positioned in 11th in the table, although somewhat in limbo, with five points back to Alan Pardew's Crystal Palace in 12th and four points separating them and the top half of the table.

Who they can get on the field may dictate in which direction the remainder of their campaign goes, with Siem de Jong, Cheick Tiote, Remy Cabella, Paul Dummett and Steven Taylor still injured, and Jack Colback suspended.

Massadio Haidara is also a doubt after picking up an injury against Villa, with Ryan Taylor on standby to fill in at left-back. Ayoze Perez is poised for a recall after his rest and should replace Emmanuel Riviere in attack.

The Red Devils have won by an aggregate of 7-0 on their last two visits to St James' Park.

Newcastle:

Form in Premier League: WWDWLW

Possible starting lineup: Krul; Janmaat, Coloccini, Williamson, Taylor; Abeid, Sissoko; Ameobi, Perez, Obertan; Cisse

Man United:

Form in Premier League: WWDWLW
Form in all competitions: WDWWLW

Possible starting lineup: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Rojo, Shaw; Blind, Herrera; Young, Rooney, Di Maria; Falcao

Sports Mole says: 0-2

ID:208782:cQx:QQ:

Who will win Wednesday's Premier League clash between Newcastle and Man United at St James' Park?

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Robin van Persie of Manchester United reacts as he leaves the pitch during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on January 11, 2015
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City27205253163765
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd26148453322150
3Leicester CityLeicester26154745301549
4West Ham UnitedWest Ham2613674031945
5Chelsea26128641251644
6Liverpool26127747341343
7Everton2513483833543
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs25116841271439
9Aston Villa24123938261239
10Arsenal26114113427737
11Leeds UnitedLeeds26112134344-135
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2797112734-734
13Crystal Palace2696112943-1433
14Southampton2686123144-1330
15Burnley2677121834-1628
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton26511102633-726
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2675142744-1726
18Fulham26411112132-1123
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom2638152055-3517
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2632211543-2811

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