As the race for the top four hots up in the Premier League, Manchester United face a trip to St James Park to face Newcastle United. Manchester United and Newcastle United both go into this game on the back of victories at the weekend, Manchester United beating Newcastle’s neighbours Sunderland 2-0 at Old Trafford thanks to two Wayne Rooney goals, while Newcastle beat Aston Villa 1-0 at St James Park with Papiss Cisse getting the winner for Newcastle to give them their first win in three games after a 5-0 defeat to Manchester City and two draws in their three previous three games in February. Manchester United will be looking to get their first away win the league since their trip to QPR on 17th January.
Manchester United are locked in a battle with Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Southampton the final two positions in the top four of the Premier League, with just seven points separating the 3rd place team and the 7th place in the League tabled, I think you would have to say that Chelsea and Manchester City are going to finish in the top two positions. Therefore the remaining two places are there for taking for the five teams fighting for these positions. This is a crucial run of games for Manchester United, facing Newcastle tomorrow night, then the quarter-final against Arsenal at Old Trafford on Monday night. They then face games against Tottenham(h), Liverpool(a), Aston Villa(h) and Manchester City(h). After this run of games Manchester United fans should have a clearer indication of whether they will be watching Champions League football at Old Trafford again next season.
Manchester United have a good recent record at St James Park, winning their last season 4-0 and 3-0 the season before and have only lost their once since September 2001. Manchester United will be looking to keep up this good record at St James Park. Manchester United won the encounter at Old Trafford 3-1 earlier this season in a game that was one of Manchester United’s best performances this season and were 2-0 before half-time thanks to two Wayne Rooney goals and Robin Van Persie made it three after 53 minutes and it looked like Manchester united could have won this game 5 or 6-0 but took their foot off the gas and allowed Newcastle to score a consolation from the penalty spot.
In Manchester United’s win over Sunderland on Saturday we saw Louis Van Gaal taking Angel Di Maria off at half-time after a poor first half for the Argentinian. Di Maria has struggled to adapt to the Premier League, is this because he is just not suited to Premier League? or does he just a year to adjust to the English game and life in England? We as football fans demand instant impacts from new signing especially big signings such as Di Maria. We have to realise that they are only human beings like us. He and his family have moved to a new country, they need to learn a new language and add to this fact that he and his family had to come face to face with burglars after only just moving into their new family home and have been living out of a hotel since. His replacement on Saturday afternoon Adnan Januzaj put in an impressive performance in the 2nd half against Sunderland and combined well with Antonio Valencia down the right flank and had a hand in the 2nd goal, with his shot forcing a save from the Sunderland keeper that Rooney scored from on the rebound. Given that impressive performance from Januzaj, could this be the perfect opportunity to take Di Maria out of the spotlight?
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