Sub-plots: Defender Danny Simpson and winger Gabriel Obertan both enjoyed spells at Old Trafford before moving north and will no doubt relish a return to the Theatre of Dreams. The Magpies will also be desperate to end their Old Trafford hoodoo: they've not won here since February 1972.
Whistle-blower: Mike Dean will be in charge of the Reds for the third time this season. He's previously refereed United's wins at Southampton and at home to Arsenal. He'll hope for a less eventful fixture than Mike Jones oversaw last term when his controversial penalty award handed Newcastle a point.
Rivals watch: United fans will no doubt keep a close eye on Man City's Boxing Day trip to Sunderland and the action at Carrow Road where Chelsea visit Norwich City (both 15:00 GMT kick-offs).
More: Last time vs Newcastle