You won’t catch them admitting it, but in terms of the Premier League, finishing in the top four has become Manchester United’s main objective this season.
They will, of course, have their eyes on other trophies – this is Man Utd after all – but Manchester City’s pace has just been too blistering for them to consider the Premier League title a realistic goal now.
Newcastle’s position, meanwhile, is much more precarious. The Magpies are just a point above the relegation zone and will have certainly taken notice of Swansea’s remarkable recent form below them.
There is a growing stench of division at the club too, with the fans once again turning on owner Mike Ashley – and Rafa Benitez unhappy with the club’s lack of January spending.
Manchester United are probably not the club they want to see approaching on the horizon in such circumstances.
The Red Devils have won nine of their last 13 Premier League matches against Newcastle at St James’ Park (D3 L1), losing only in January 2012 – a 3-0 defeat, while the Magpies have conceded more Premier League goals against Man Utd than they have versus any other club (92) and only lost as many games against Arsenal (26).
Meanwhile, Manchester United have won more away Premier League games at St James’ Park than any other club (12).
However, Jose Mourinho has never won a Premier League match at St James’ Park (P6 W0 D3 L3) and has managed more away league games at Newcastle without winning than at any other club in his managerial career.
Romelu Lukaku hasn’t been in the best of form lately, but he has always loved a game against Newcastle, averaging a goal or assist every 65 minutes against Newcastle United in the Premier League (six goals, four assists in 651 minutes).
From a Newcastle point of view, digging in for a dogged, backs-to-the-wall 1-0 win, perhaps scoring from a set-piece, probably looks like their best be
Uwe Rosler was sacked by Fleetwood following a 3-0 reverse at Doncaster which condemned Town to a seventh straight defeat in all competitions.
Cambridge interim head coach Joe Dunne was pleased with how his side adapted to beat Grimsby 3-1.