Manchester United will travel to St. James' Park to take on Newcastle this weekend. The two sides met only a week ago at Old Trafford for a Carling Cup match, as Man U came out on top and eliminated Newcastle from the competition.
Prior to that, the two sides met back in January, when Newcastle dealt a huge blow to Manchester United's quest for the Premier League title with a shocking 3-0 win.
Currently holding 12 points in the Premier League, Manchester United will need a win to keep pace with Chelsea, who sits at the top of the table with 16 points.
Newcastle's nine points has them tied with two other teams for the eighth spot, but a win could see them leapfrog a few of those teams in front of them.
This time around, a win for both clubs is crucial. I expect both of them to attempt to set the tone for the game early for their respective styles.
Where: Sports Direct Arena (St James' Park), Newcastle, England
When: Sunday, October 7, 11:00 AM ET
Stream: Sky Sports Football
Newcastle: It's Time to Step up
At least, that's what Alan Pardew was referring to when he said that his team needed to show its "true colors" in their upcoming matches against Bordeaux, in the Europa league, and Manchester United on Sunday.
Surely, after their impressive campaign last year, it has been a disappointing start to this season for Newcastle. Their 2-3-1 (W-D-L) record is below expectations, but their sup-par performance defensively might be most concerning.
A goal differential of zero (eight goals for and eight against) may be manageable for a small amount of time, but in a dogfight for the European spots available to teams from England, it is unacceptable.
In Newcastle's defense, pardon the pun, the back has been hit with the injury bug.
Goalkeeper Tim Krul and rock-solid defender Fabricio Coloccini both picked up injuries with their respective teams during September's international training.
With the team short on options, things seem to be turning around with the possible returns of Danny Simpson and Steven Taylor.
Simpson was injured in a game against Aston Villa, and Steven Taylor, who forms a great partnership with Coloccini, is dealing with a calf injury. Taylor's been ruled out of Newcastle's Europa League match with Bordeaux, but there's a chance both could be ready on Sunday.
Still, whether Newcastle can pull one over on Manchester United relies on scoring.
Simply put, they must score.
The chances of this game ending a scoreless draw are incredibly low and, as such, Newcastle must be prepared to fight with Manchester's scoring.
Manchester United: Short-Term Memory
A new season and a new team.
That's what Sir Alex Ferguson should remind his team as they prepare for their Premier League clash with Newcastle.
That constant reminder will, hopefully, take some sting away from the constant reminder they will receive from news and media outlets of an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Newcastle last January. If that wasn't enough, they will also be reminded of dropping last Saturday's game to Tottenham 3-2.
A Champions League win over Romanian champion CFR Cluj is a good start.
But, just like they had to quickly forget the Tottenham loss, they should quickly forget that win—the time now is to focus completely on the next game.
However, as Andy Gray rightfully analyzes, one pass doesn't make a partnership.
So, it remains to be seen whether a partnership with Wayne Rooney will truly flourish.
If it does, that puts the Manchester United attack right up there in discussion of the most dangerous in the world.
Infused with the confidence of a strong performance in the Champions League and fueled with desire to avenge their previous defeat, Manchester United controls the the game.
A hard-working effort from Newcastle just isn't enough to stop the potent Manchester United attack.
Manchester United 2 Newcastle 0
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