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Manchester United vs. Newcastle United (Kick-off 15.00 GMT, December 26th)

The Christmas period has typically been a time when Manchester United kicked on with their march to the title and after their draw against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday, they will look to get the ball rolling once again when Newcastle United visit the theater of dreams on Boxing Day. United were decent value for their money in the second half of the match against the high flying Welsh side but after conceding their lead in the first half to a strike from their Spanish maestro Michu, United couldn’t manage to overcome the stubborn defense of the Swans and were held to their first draw of the season, with their lead at the top cut to 4 points with neighbors and arch rivals Manchester City.

United will be again without Rafael for the match against the Magpies, who struggled to beat struggling Queens Park Rangers at home on Saturday but Sir Alex Ferguson will be pleased with the performance of captain Nemanja Vidic, who grew in stature as the match grew older against Swansea in Wales and will be happy to hand him a start once again for the visit of Alan Pardew and his boys.

With Anderson set to miss out on the match against the Geordies once again, wingers Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young are slated to start again out wide with Michael Carrick partnering young gun Tom Cleverley at the centre of the park with veterans Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs ready to come on if necessary. Add to that the fact that Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa is back to full contact training and could make his return at any time, the United midfield doesn’t look as bad as many people tend to believe. Moreover, with both Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie firing for the Red Devils in attack, Sir Alex is blessed with immense fortune as an attacking outfit, and the form that Newcastle have displayed over the past couple of months, United are firm favorites to come out on top at Old Trafford.

But this is the same Newcastle side that finished sixth in the league last season, and anything could happen when these two sides meet, however, with a 3-0 victory in the bag earlier in the season already, United look set to extend their unbeaten run in the Premier League as they look to consolidate their lead at the top.

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