FEATURES

Newcastle: At a glance

Manager: Alan Pardew

Stadium: St James' Park

Home & Away*: (H) Sat 7 Dec; (A) Sat 5 Apr

Last year: 16th

Last time we met: United 4-3 Newcastle, 26 Dec 2012

*Dates/KO times subject to change

13/08/2013 10:25,

Preview 13/14: Newcastle

The Magpies hope to regroup and rally after last season’s narrow escape...

How did they fare last term?

A lowly 16th, five points above the relegation zone – unexpectedly disappointing.

How did that go down on Tyneside? A fifth-place finish in 2011/12 prompted great expectations among the Geordie faithful, but any Champions League ambitions were swiftly undermined as a depleted squad struggled to manage a gruelling 54-match calendar at home and abroad. With no Europa League to contend with, the Magpies can regroup and rediscover their form.

We noted some shenanigans behind the scenes recently... Mike Ashley, the club’s owner, dropped a bombshell in June by parachuting former boss Joe Kinnear into St James’ Park and handing him responsibility for all football-related matters, possibly undermining Alan Pardew’s authority in so doing. Despite the latter claiming to be “open-minded” about the appointment, it remains to be seen how their relationship will play out.

Did they run us close last season? Clashes with Newcastle traditionally provide goals and entertainment. Last term’s meetings lived up to that billing as United followed up an emphatic 3-0 away win with a swashbuckling 4-3 triumph at the Theatre of Dreams. Two games, six points, job done.

Who's their key man? Yohan Cabaye provided the ammunition for deadly gunslinger Papiss Cisse last term, but both have been linked with moves. Newcastle fans will be praying the French playmaker is still there to call the shots. Frontman Loic Remy has joined on a season's loan from QPR.

Any interesting facts or figures? The longer-term stats bear out the point about goals. In the Premier League the average goals-per-game total for Reds v Newcastle is 3.07, against an all-United-games average of 2.88.

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