Preview: Manchester United vs. Newcastle
Twelve weeks into its second season back in the Premier League, Newcastle United finds itself in the top four, facing defending champion Manchester United on Saturday at Old Trafford (9:55 a.m. ET on ESPN2 and ESPN3. You can watch it here.). Both Newcastle and Man U have won three of their last four games, but the Magpies have failed to leave victorious in 17 Premier League matches at the home of the Red Devils. Let's take a look at these teams battling for position atop the table:
• Newcastle has not won a league match at Old Trafford since February 1972 and has scored only two goals in its last seven visits, ending up on the wrong side of a clean sheet in five of those matches. However, the Toon have lost only one match on the road this season, have conceded more than one goal on the road on only one occasion and have earned a clean sheet in each of their first three games away from St. James' Park.
• Manchester United's 29 goals through 12 games this season are good enough for a distant second behind rival Manchester City (42), which handed Newcastle its first defeat last weekend. The Red Devils own a goal differential that is 10 better than the Magpies, who have scored 18 times on the campaign.
• Although United is the better scoring team thus far in the season, Newcastle's 11 goals conceded are the fewest in the EPL, and the club's last three wins have been by one-goal margins, whereas Man United has scored one goal in each of its last five EPL matches.
• Wayne Rooney, who is questionable after sustaining a hip injury against Swansea City last weekend, leads Manchester United with nine goals, the fourth-most in the league. Since joining Manchester United, Rooney has scored nine goals in 12 Premier League matches against Newcastle.
• Newcastle's Senegalese talisman Demba Ba is one spot behind Rooney at number five on the league's scoring list, with eight in his first season on Alan Pardew's side. The former West Ham United striker has two hat tricks on the campaign, making him the second player from Senegal with a Premier League hat trick, joining Wigan's Henri Camara, who struck three times for the Latics against Charlton Athletic in 2005.