FOOTBALL NEWS

24/12/2012 23:56, Report by Nick Coppack
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Preview: Newcastle

Date, time and coverage: Wednesday 26 December, 15:00 GMT. There is no live TV coverage in the UK, but you can follow the action live via ManUtd.com’s radio and text commentary.

Form guide: On Sunday, Manchester United drew for the first time in 28 matches as Swansea City held the Reds 1-1. Sir Alex Ferguson's men remain top of the Barclays Premier League table, however, four points clear of Manchester City. The Magpies come into the game on the back of a late 1-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers. History suggests Newcastle could be in for a tough day, though. The Reds have a formidable Boxing Day record, winning 15 games, drawing two and losing just once since the Premier League's inception.

Betting: That Boxing Day history is reflected in the odds for the match. bwin are offering just 11/50 for a home win, while you can get 21/2 on an away victory for Newcastle. If you think the league leaders will win but could be slow out of the blocks, back Draw HT-United FT at 7/2.

Ins and outs: Nemanja Vidic's recent return is a welcome boost for the Reds' defence, but this game could still come too soon for Shinji Kagawa, Nani, Anderson and Rafael, who all missed the Reds' trip to Swansea. Newcastle have been hit by terrible luck this season and will certainly be without Hatem Ben Arfa, Steven Taylor, Yohan Cabaye, Dan Gosling, Haris Vuckic and Ryan Taylor. Former Reds winger Gabriel Obertan did return for the Toon last weekend, though.

Last meeting: This will be the fourth game in 2012 between the two teams. Newcastle won the first, but United triumphed in the next two, playing arguably the best football of the

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