Date: 15th August 2010 at 12:16pm
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On Sky

The stage is set, our first fixture of the 2010/2011 Premier League season is fast approaching. Will we get off to a winning start? Will United show the rest of the league that we`re the team to watch or will Newcastle frustrate us and try to repeat the feat they did last time they came to Old Trafford on the opening day and frustrated us to gain an honourable draw?

Vital Quotes:

Facing a newly promoted team can be dangerous, whilst Chelsea walloped West Brom 6-0, another of those teams to come up last season, Blackpool, were enjoying a fine win against Wigan, which way will the fortunes of Newcastle fall on their opening fixture in the 2010 / 2011 Premier League?

It`s a point Sir Alex is well aware of when he remarks,

“You`re always wary of a team that`s just been promoted because their motivation is obvious. Newcastle – what were they last season? I think they were a team of great work ethic and the manager takes terrific credit.”

Manchester United Team News:

Sir Alex goes into this fixture without the injured Rio Ferdinand, Owen Hargreaves and Anderson but everyone else is fit and available.

With a squad almost back to 100 per cent following the exertions of some in the World Cup, it`ll be interesting to see who gets the nod from Sir Alex. Will he stick to the same eleven that started the Community Shield fixture or will he juggle it up a bit. Will the golden oldies of Giggs and Scholes be asked to run the midfield or will it be Gibson and Fletcher asked to do that task?

Up front will Hernandez be partnered with Rooney or will that task fall to Berbatov. I guess only Sir Alex knows!

Player to watch: Wayne Rooney

Showed glimpses of his former self at Wembley last week but the nation will be eagerly watching to make sure that Wayne can discover the form he had before injury and a very poor World Cup saw his public credibility questioned.

Newcastle Team News:

Chris Hughton did a great job steering Newcastle back to the Premier League at the first attempt but he knows he`s in for a hard and long season to keep them there, especially if injuries bite deep.

For the fixture against United, Hughton is expected to be without Leon Best, Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor and Dan Gosling with former Manchester united favourite Alan Smith a doubt.

Player to watch: Andy Carroll

A hero on Tyneside and a throwback to the traditional centre-forwards the Geordies grew to love. Dangerous in the air and combative on the ground, he`ll prove to be a right handful.

Match Facts & Stats

It doesn`t seem too long since we last played Newcastle United, at Old Trafford, in the first fixture of the season, on that occasion the Geordies snuck a draw but the season ended with them being relegated.

If we look at the last 15 encounters with Newcastle we find that United have won 12 and it is a long time since Newcastle won at Old Trafford, February 1972 to be precise.

Ref Watch:

The man looking to keep everything under control is Chris Foy who will be ably assisted by Robert Pollock and Andy Garratt running the line with Lee Mason on fourth official duties.

Match Prediction:

United need to get three points in this fixture, already, on the opening day of the season, we`ve seen Chelsea, our closest rivals for the title, stamp their credentials on their intentions wit a 6-0 thrashing of West Bromwich Albion. Even though it`s a long season we just can`t afford to drop off the pace. Thankfully I don`t think we will. Newcastle won`t be bale to live with us and we`ll blow the away 3-0. Let`s hope I`m right!

Next Fixtures:

Our second fixture of the new Premier League season has us travelling to Craven Cottage to take on a Fulham side managed by a legend of ours, Mark Hughes.