Second place Manchester United and fourth place Newcastle United will face off at Old Trafford in just over 9 hours. This is your last minute injury update as we count down to Newcastle's effort to gain their first victory in that stadium in 39 years.
First things first: Cheik Tiote has been ruled out of action for Newcastle. (Miles Starforth, Jarrow & Hebburn Gazette) Alan Pardew has revealed that Tiote did not train all week with the squad as he continues to suffer from a knee ligament problem. As a key member of the squad, Tiote's absence is obviously problematic, especially since he would have drawn the assignment of marking Wayne Rooney, who has been playing a withdrawn role for Manchester of late. His direct replacement for the Manchester City match, Danny Guthrie, is characterized as a game time decision.
With Tiote out at City, Guthrie actually played a more attacking style than Yohan Cabaye, a switch in roles from the way Tiote and Cabaye usually split responsibilities. Alan Pardew had this to say when asked if Guthrie would once again step in for Cheik:
As good as Danny Guthrie’s been, he’s a different type of player. I have to make sure we have a fighting chance of winning this game.
I remain doubtful that Guthrie will see the pitch. Expect to see Dan Gosling, Alan Smith, or Haris Vuckic as the holding midfielder against Manchester United.
Gabriel Obertan and Leon Best, who have both been out the last few weeks, are expected to be ready to go. Obertan, who was fighting a toe infection, should take his spot on the right wing back from Sammy Ameobi as he faces his old team. Best is not a guarantee to be slotted back in, as Hatem Ben Arfa was the standout for Newcastle last week playing behind Demba Ba.
Sylvain Marveaux had a successful groin operation and will be out an estimated 4 months.
For Manchester United, Wayne Rooney is expected to return to the starting lineup after missing the Red Devils' midweek tie with Benfica in the Champions League due to a hip injury.
Nemanja Vidic will return from suspension. Anderson, Tom Cleverley, and Michael Owen are all out.