Manchester United could hardly wish for a better Christmas present than a match against Newcastle, a team that is falling apart these days. The visitors are not only struggling in the second half of the tables, but are also plagued by injuries and can’t pose any serious threats at Old Trafford.

Match: Manchester United vs Newcastle

Bet: Under 3.5 goals

Odds: Bet365 1.80

It is the midfield that has been hit particularly hard, with four out of the seven absentees playing in this area. This means that their otherwise prolific striker Ba will be stranded in the offense and will need to find a way of creating opportunities to score. Coach Pardew is well aware of his squad’s fitness issues so will focus mostly on strengthening the defense. A draw at Old Trafford will in this case equal a fantastic success, which means that the visitors will defend with whatever team they can assemble.

For Manchester United the mission is crystal clear and as long as they can shut down Ba, their net will never be in harm’s way. The hosts are in the fortunate position of leading the Premier League by five points and are in the driver’s seat for another title. Given the outcome of season 2011-2012 when their city rivals’ got away with the title in the last round, the Red Devils need to be extra careful and not squander their chances.

BetPal Tip:

Everyone is counting on a 90 minutes siege at the visitors’ net and an avalanche of goals, which creates an excellent opportunity for punters. As long as they are willing to settle for the odds of 1.80 offered by Bet365 for less than 3.5 goals to be scored, the risks are minimal. United will probably win this match easily, but they won’t push more than it is necessary to consolidate their lead in the Premier League.