Manchester United v Newcastle
Ever since the 1-6 hiding that United received at the hands of Manchester City, the Man United players have demonstrated a renewed resolve to defend properly. In the league they have followed up the loss with a run of three consecutive victories and three consecutive clean sheets in the next three fixtures, beating Everton away, Sunderland at home, and Swansea away by 1-0 victories. With high flying Newcastle to come today, the defending premier league champions might find the going tough. Newcastle has been very impressive this season and Man United will have to pay close attention to the likes of goal machine Demba Ba as well as the Magpies’ workhorse midfield of Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabaye. At the back Newcastle boast one of the most impressive defenses in the entire league, but the pundits still fancy Man United to come out victorious in this fixture.
Prediction: Manchester United 4-0 Newcastle United
Aston Villa v Manchester United
Aston Villa started the season in fine form under new manager Alex Mcleish. They were unbeaten in their first 7 Premier League matches, but have started to become unstuck of late. New signing Charles N’zogbia, a 9.5 million pound acquisition from Wigan, has yet to live up to the hype and has yet to find form. One player who is always on a hot streak however, is ace marksman Darren Bent and Man United will have to keep a close eye on him. Bent does not do much in terms of creating goalscoring opportunities for himself, nor does he often fashion chances for his teammates, but he is a born predator and rarely misses when given sight of goal. Man United will be thankful for the return of their fine defensive form and will count on the experience of captain Nemanja Vidic to see them through if they are to earn a tough away victory.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-3 Manchester United.
Basel v Manchester United
It has been many a year since Manchester United’s final fixture in the UEFA Champions League group stages carried so much importance. Such is the tightness of the standings that any of three teams might still top the group. Benfica is already assured of their spot in the second round after snatching an impressive 2-2 away at Old Trafford to go into the final fixtures on 9 points, the same as Man United, but ahead in the table due to head-to-head record. Basel finds themselves in third position on 8 points so all is left to play for. The Swiss champions have already proven that they are not to be taken lightly after already drawing 3-3 at Old Trafford. Alexander and Fabian Frei have proved to be a menace to the Man United defence, while the hold-up play and power of Streller is a challenge for any Man United defender. Man United are expected to get an away victory but as previous fixtures have shown, nothing can be taken for granted.
Prediction: Basel 0-2 Manchester United