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St. James' Park
One of the classic rivalries from the Premier League era is renewed on Sunday afternoon when Newcastle and Manchester United meet at St James' Park. Since their days of slugging it out for the title in the mid-1990s, the pair have always considered themselves foes and their encounters are regularly engrossing.
Manchester United are third in the table after a tricky start to the season in which they have developed a habit of falling behind and then having to hit back. They were left with too much to do as they went down 3-2 at home to Tottenham last time out and now face a difficult journey to St James' Park, where they lost 3-0 last term. Newcastle United have yet to replicate in 2012/13 the sort of performance they produced that night but Alan Pardew will be hoping the big occasion brings the best out of his players as they aim to push on from mid-table. They were fortunate to draw at Reading last weekend courtesy of Demba Ba's handled goal and have won just two league games from six.
• The club's record in the second half of matches so far this season is the third-best in the Premier League.
• The club's record in the second half of matches so far this season is the best in the Premier League.
Danny Simpson and Yohan Cabaye are back for Alan Pardew this weekend. The pair were passed fit and included in the Europa League squad for the game against Bordeaux after recent hamstring and mouth problems respectively. Pardew rested Demba Ba, Hatem Ben Arfa, Jonas Gutierrez and Davide Santon from his lineup on Thursday and they all seem set to earn a recall with Shane Ferguson, Shola Ameboi, Gabriel Obertan and Anita set to drop to the bench. Steven Taylor remains a doubt after limping out of last weekend’s match at Reading, while Fabricio Coloccini and Tim Krul are expected to remain sidelined.
S Harper • D Simpson, M Williamson, J Perch, D Santon • H Ben Arfa, Y Cabaye, C Tiotè, J Gutierrez • P Cisse, D Ba
Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that Johnny Evans is fit to face Newcastle following a dead leg. The Northern Ireland centre-back was withdrawn during Tuesday's Champions League win as a precaution after picking up the injury against Tottenham. Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are all available after missing the trip to Romania. The United boss started Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie together for the first time on Tuesday; a 4-3-1-2 formation saw Rooney line up behind the Dutchman and Javier Hernandez, though Ferguson is expected to revert to a 4-4-2 on Sunday. Shinji Kagawa offers an alternative on the left, after being dropped in midweek, with Antonio Valencia's ankle problem should see Nani start on the opposite flank.
A Lindegaard • Rafael da Silva, R Ferdinand, J Evans, P Evra • L Nani, M Carrick, P Scholes, S Kagawa • W Rooney • R van Persie