Manchester United v Newcastle United – Men against Boys
Manchester United v Newcastle United
Manchester United 3 Newcastle 1 Friday 26 December 3pm
What could and probably should have been an early penalty for Newcastle, can’t hide the fact that this was men against boys for most of the ninety minutes.
Mata’s trip on Gouffran was presumably deemed accidental or a ‘coming together’ by referee Mike Jones as the hapless Newcastle player ran into the box.
A bright opening though, with Ayoze Perez at the heart of it, faded away to nothing.
Two first half goals in the space of thirteen minutes killed the game off.
Daryl Janmaat had forced a great right handed save from De Gea but then a Adam Armstrong shot rebounded upfield and a flowing move eventually ended with Rooney finishing from Falcao’s knockback.
Man Utd strolled through the rest of the first half but took only seven minutes of the second period to make it three, poor defending leaving Van Persie alone to nod the ball into the net.
Newcastle had set up with three (five?) at the back: Colo, Dummett and Taylor as defenders and Janmaat and Gouffran(???) as wing-backs.
The second period seeing Pardew restore it to a 4-4-2, or basically a 10-0-0.
Newcastle were saved a real hammering due to Manchester United putting on the brakes to save themselves for the upcoming fixtures, making three substitutions and deciding not to score any more.
It was excruciating to watch as Newcastle failed to try and put any pressure on as Man Utd repeatedly played the ball backwards, sometimes forty or fifty yard balls back to De Gea.
Both teams settling for a 3-0 scoreline.
I’d love to think that Manchester United will miss out on Champions League football on goal difference because they stopped trying to score today!
To the amazement of everybody both on and off the pitch, Colback won Newcastle a penalty with four minutes left, Jones hanging out a leg to leave Papiss Cisse to put a cool spot-kick into the top corner.
Ayoze Perez was class but I must admit I worry when Moussa Sissoko looks so demoralised at the end for the thankless task of trying to keep Newcastle competitive.
Afterwards the Newcastle manager was full of praise for his team not giving up as he claimed they had at the Emirates against Arsenal.
The record books will show 3-1 but I think we all know that with the score at 3-0 after 52 minutes, if the Mancs had had to score six then they would have.
Pardew chose to look at it as his players not giving up but it was as individuals they chased the ball down, not as a unit who had any conviction that they would (A) actually win the ball back and (B) it would have any real meaning if they did.
United are desperately short of a plan in terms of creating and taking chances, without new players in January it is hard to see where how anything can change, unless Siem De Jong bounces back into top form and stays fit. A massive ask considering his injury record over the last 18 months and the fact he is making a big step up from the Dutch league.
With Cisse heading off to the African Nations in a few days time, expecting livewire Ayoze Perez to do it all on his own is a recipe for disaster.
If Alan Pardew has any sway at all with the club owner then surely at least one credible striker will arrive in January, failure to do so will leave the potential for disaster all round, including for Mike Ashley.
The team are seemingly teetering once again on the brink or repeating last season’s second half – struggling to score and then collapsing once the first goal goes in, eleven conceded in the last three away matches.
Team: Alnwick, Janmaat, Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Dummett (Cabella 63), Anita, Colback, Gouffran, Sissoko, Armstrong (Cisse 63), Perez (Vuckic 82)
Unused Subs: Woodman, Satka, Williamson, Riviere
Ref: Mike Jones
Crowd: 75,318 (3,000 Newcastle)
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