The Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has said that he feels that Newcastle United have not been up to the best this season because they have lost their surprise factor. Under the management of Alan Pardew, Newcastle managed to stun everyone and finish in the fifth position last season.
There was even a time when Newcastle were on the verge of qualifying for the Champions League only for their performances to dip during the end of last season. They were expected to build on the success this time around as well, but they have struggled a lot in the Premier league.
They are currently closed to the relegation zone and will be taking on Manchester United at Old Trafford on Boxing Day. Pardew has accepted that this will be an extremely tough test for his men, but is determined to come out of the encounter with at least a result. After the Manchester United match, Newcastle will be facing Arsenal during the weekend in yet another tough match. The much-needed victory over QPR in the last match helped Newcastle move to the 14th position. They have lost five matches in the last seven, which has been largely responsible for their low league positions.
"The new players they brought in caught us all by surprise. We didn't really know a lot about them. I knew about [Demba] Ba, of course, but I didn't know anything about [Yohan] Cabaye or [Papiss] Cissé, to be honest with you. They had fantastic seasons. Second time round, clubs are starting to analyse them a bit different, plus, more importantly, he's [Pardew] had some injuries," said Ferguson ahead of the encounter. United will be the favourites to get all three points, but they come into the match on the back of the 1-1 draw with Swansea.