Newcastle United v Manchester United – Match Report
Newcastle United 0
Manchester United 3
What an annoying match.
Overall Newcastle created a decent amount of chances and pressure but just threw the game away.
The first sixteen minutes saw the visitors dominate possession and Newcastle go two down. The pressure helped create the situations but ironically it was just basic schoolboy defending that let Newcastle down as two standard corner kicks found the heads of Evans and Evra.
In fact between these two gifts there was nearly an even worse one as Harper dribbled/stumbled the ball out of his box and Welbeck easily took the ball off him before somehow missing an open goal.
Times like this it sums up what the likes of Krul, Steven Taylor and Coloccini give you, above replacements such as Harper, Williamson and Perch. Not only are the latter, three weaker players, they are also not born leaders like the first choice three. I’m convinced if the first choice three had been playing then they would have been organising and geeing up the other players to make it so much harder for these tame goals to happen.
Newcastle’s response was decent but going two down to this lot is a hard call. Jonas, Cabaye and Cisse all go close in the remainder of a half which is interspersed with bookings. Howard Webb isn’t the reason we lost today but he didn’t exactly help, maybe it is subconscious for him but his tendency appears to be to give the reds the big decisions while ‘evening it out’ with free-kicks for Newcastle in neutral areas.
Generally I agree with Alan Pardew’s selections and how he changes things around within matches. However, today I don’t really get the selection of Ferguson in such a difficult match, especially with both Anita and Simpson on the bench.
Even when it came to changing things around, Simpson stayed on the bench and Jonas ended up playing left-back, the only conclusion that the ex-Manchester United defender must have been feeling the effects of Thursday but in that case why on the bench?
Alan Pardew talked about leaving Anita out against Reading because he might find their Championship high tempo style hard to adapt to but why play the inexperienced Ferguson ahead of him today?
I thought Santon, Cabaye and Jonas were exceptional today.
Switching to the right the Italian showed he was at least as good on that side, never really troubled defensively he worked non-stop up and down, showing great ability on the ball.
Jonas showed the same energy and capacity to keep possession, my big worry was that as the game closed out both he and Santon appeared to be feeling their hamstring and groin respectively, the two of them having given so much in what was ultimately a lost cause.
While Tiote still seems to be a little off his best still, today Cabaye was really back to his top form and both his ability and energy levels were tip-top.
The second-half saw Newcastle straight back at them and possibly the crucial moment was five minutes in. A high Ferguson cross sees Ba do really well to send a looping header against the bar and Cisse’s rebound looks to be over the line before De Gea claws it away. In normal time I’m guessing it is similar to the one we survived at Everton with doubt as to whether all of the ball was over the line, what I know for sure is little will be made of it unlike the relentless focus on that Goodison decision.
A few minutes late Demba Ba glances a Cabaye cross wide and then an excellent passing move sees Ben Arfa create space in the middle and his well struck shot goes a yard wide with the keeper beaten.
Newcastle were on top at that point and I thought Cisse had done well today in a right sided role, so I didn’t agree with Shola replacing him, nor Jonas dropping to left-back to accommodate Anita replacing Ferguson.
Sure enough it disrupted our flow and six or seven minutes later it was really game over. Way out wide on the left, Cleverly whipped a cross/shot across and beyond Harper to make it three, I’m convinced that Krul would have kept that one out.
The dominant centre-back Alan Pardew talked about signing in the summer would have been handy today, just as a Debuchy to complement Santon would give us arguably the best full-back pairing in the league.
We might not have been caught out in terms of effort but we certainly were in terms of quality in certain areas.
Once again we found out that if we have two or three of our elite group of players missing against the better teams then we are going to be up against it.
Newcastle United:Harper, Santon, Williamson, Perch, Ferguson (Anita 53), Ben Arfa, Tiote (Bigirimana 80), Cabaye, Jonas, Ba, Cisse (Shola 63)
Subs Not Used: Alnwick, Simpson, Obertan, Sammy
Manchester United: De Gea, Rafael, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Cleverley, Carrick, Welbeck, Rooney (Scholes 80), Kagawa (Valencia 55), Van Persie (Giggs 87)
Referee: Howard Red (Webb)
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