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The Return of a Football Genius

Sir Alex Ferguson is expected to rest many key players and give some of Manchester United’s youngsters a chance to impress against Newcastle. Alexander Buttner and Nick Powell, scorers against Wigan in the recent Premier League meeting, are likely to start.

Nemanja Vidic (knee) missed United’s clash with Liverpool and faces 8 weeks out. Chris Smalling (metatarsal) and Phil Jones (knee) remain sidelined, so Jonny Evans and Rio Ferdinand should continue in central defence unless one of the young centre backs in the ranks like Scott Wooton or Michael Keane are given a chance.

It’s been 40yrs since Newcastle won at Old Trafford, Betfair make them 7’s (6/1) to beat United tomorrow in the Capital One Cup betting but considering Alan Pardew is quoted as saying ‘we’ve got to look to win it [the competition]’ and ‘we’ll be sending a strong team there [to Old Trafford]’ you have to think 7’s is generous given that United will be hugely understrength.

Rafael was withdrawn late on against Liverpool with a knock, so Antonio Valencia could be drafted in at right-back. David de Gea hopes to reclaim his starting spot between the posts ahead of Anders Lindegaard.

Darren Fletcher (football genius) will be handed his first start in 10 months as he continues his recovery from a chronic bowel condition. The Scottish midfielder came off the bench against Galatasaray in the Champions League.

Alan Pardew is expected to field a side similar to the one which drew 0-0 in Portugal against Maritimo. Cheikh Tiote came on as a late sub for Vurnon Anita at the weekend and could start as he continues his recovery from a calf injury.

Tim Krul (elbow) remains unavailable, so Rob Elliot may start in goal, with Steve Harper rested for Newcastle’s next league game. The match might come too soon for Fabricio Coloccini and Danny Simpson, both recovering from hamstring injuries.

It promises to be a huge test for United’s fringe players and some of the up-and-coming, young, talented hopefuls who need to use tomorrow the game as a springboard to first team football.

Did you know?

  • Manchester United have won the League Cup four times in their history (behind only Aston Villa and Liverpool), last winning the tournament in the 2009-10 season.
  • United have attempted more crosses per game (29) than any other side in the Premier League.
  • After going 18 games unbeaten against Newcastle, Sir Alex Ferguson’s men lost 3-0 against the Magpies last season.
  • Robin van Persie currently leads the Premier League goalscoring charts but just one other Man Utd player has struck more than once this season: Rafael (pictured right).
  • Newcastle have never won the League Cup and reached the final just once in 1976, when they lost to Manchester City.
  • Alan Pardew’s side have not won at Old Trafford since 1972. Newcastle are 7’s (6/1) with Betfair to beat Manchester United in normal time and break that streak.
  • The last time that these two sides met in the League Cup was in 1994, a game that the Magpies won 2-0.
  • Away from home, Newcastle have averaged just three shots on target per game this season. Against Maritimo in the Europa League, they hit the woodwork three times.

*Preview taken (mostly) from

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