Newcastle United 3 – 0 Manchester United
Newcastle United 3 (Ba 33, Cabaye 47, Jones og 90)
Manchester United 0
Oh what a night, before the match we suggested it had all the ingredients – a full house, a midweek game under lights and grasping at straws we (I!) pointed towards the Blackburn defeat and perceived injury and disciplinary (Rooney) problems.
The reality was though that the visitors came here with a record of won seven drawn two, goals for nineteen and only three against….and they were played off the (St.James’) Park.
Very early on I noticed Newcastle going man for man all over the pitch when the visitors had the ball, a very brave but high risk strategy. It worked though because whereas at Anfield the scousers were allowed comfortable possession, today was a different story as Newcastle pressed the ball all over the pitch and ended up winning the ball in all sorts of dangerous positions high up the pitch.
The play was also mixed up by regularly knocking it long and from one of those Shola headed it onto the edge of the box for Demba Ba to add a sublime finish. Hooking the ball across Ferdinand and into the top corner.
“Brilliant, brilliant night for us” Alan Pardew
It would be wrong to say the Mancs were never in it but I would say that Fergie’s boys had periods of ten minutes and five in the second when they were really on top.
Watching TV highlights, maybe the level of performance was summed up by the fact that at half-time, apart from showing Ba’s goal from every conceivable angle their main (only?) focus was on a clear penalty Ba should have had for Ferdinand’s mistimed tackle.
Second half kicked off with Manchester United straight onto the attack, ball back the other end and Ba shows his class by running at Phil Jones instead of taking the easy option of laying it off.
A foul and a booking – up steps Yohan Cabaye, from over thirty yards his right foot free-kick bends over the wall and into the top left corner as you look at the goal. I love him. A friend of mine had Ba first goal and 2-0 final score, oh dear….
“You need six or seven players to get 8 out of 10 against the champions and we had that. It was a great victory for us – we beat the champions 3-0 and we probably deserved that scoreline” Alan Pardew
In some ways going two up kind of makes the pressure worse, how do you explain that to a non-football fan?
All over the pitch players were winning their personal battles and the only downside (if there can be one when you have beaten Man.U. 3-0) is that it brings into stark focus where we are at. A lot of players played really well tonight but only a handful (you know who they are) can do that week in week out against decent teams. Others have to play at the very top of their game and credit to the likes of Simpson, Taylor and Williamson & Shola to a lesser extent on this occasion.
Every second was mentally counted down but in hindsight they were just never in it, the final word went to Manchester United as a long ball from Krul landed slap bang in the middle of the Man.U. penalty area. Lindegaard failed to even attempt to claim it and Phil Jones made a comical attempt to head/chest it as the ball landed, the ball squirming over the line to spark massive celebrations and outpourings of relief.
Such is the life of a Newcastle fan, expecting the worst even at two up with ninety minutes on the clock.
Even Sir Alex was complimentary. This is all quite bizarre, next thing you know they’ll be wanting us to wear replica shirts with the word ‘Virgin’ plastered all over it…
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon, Ryan Taylor, Cheick Tiote, Yohan Cabaye (James Perch 78), Jonas Gutierrez, Shola Ameobi (Leon Best 75), Demba Ba (Gabriel Obertan 89).
Subs not used: Steve Harper, Haris Vuckic, Hatem Ben Arfa, Sammy Ameobi.
Manchester United (4-4-2): Anders Lindegaard, Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra (c), Nani, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Park Ji-Sung (Javier Hernandez 66), Dimitar Berbatov (Danny Welbeck 57), Wayne Rooney (Anderson 75).
Subs not used: David De Gea, Rafael Da Silva, Jess Lingard, Paul Pogba.
Referee: Howard Webb
Attendance: 52,299 (3,098 away fans)
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