NEWCASTLE UNITED 0, MAN UNITED 3.
The new strike partnership of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney was completely eclipsed by an unlikely source…..defenders Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra.
The boys from the back scored rare goals for Manchester United who sent a clear message that they will be genuine challengers for the Barclays Premier League title following their emphatic victory at Newcastle United.
Evans and Evra found the net in the opening quarter of an hour as the Reds responded positively to the previous week’s home defeat by Tottenham to climb to second place in the table.
And the only sour note was van Persie’s flaying elbow which caught Newcastle’s Yohan Cabaye in the face and which could land him in trouble with the Football Association.
It was a victory which delighted Sir Alex Ferguson who described it as United’s best win of the season. They had failed to beat Newcastle in three previous attempts and suffered a humiliating defeat on their last visit to Tyneside.
“It was a big and important win. Newcastle are a difficult side to play against, but Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans handled the aerial threat well. I was very pleased with the performance,” he said.
United, who had conceded first in five of their previous six games, set off on the front foot with Rooney operating just behind van Persie and Danny Welbeck.
And United were ahead inside eight minutes when Evans powered home a header from six yards after a perfectly-delivered corner by van Persie. It was only his second goal for the club.
It could conceivably have got worse for Newcastle as Steve Harper was dispossessed attempting a dribble, but Welbeck could only drag his shot wide after rounding the keeper.
Rooney, who had scored 10 goals in 18 previous games against Newcastle, then brought a fine save from Harper following a well-executed free kick.
There was no respite as Newcastle’s defence cracked for a second time when Evra, possibly the smallest player on the pitch, was afforded the space to head home Rooney’s corner at the near post. Like Evans, it was also only his second goal for the club.
United had to endure some anxious moments as Newcastle responded like a wounded animal.
Jonas Gutierrez shot just wide and Evra was lucky not to concede a penalty after a blatant piece of shirt pulling on Papass Cisse.
Newcastle also claimed they had scored a goal in another incident which again highlighted the need for goalline technology.
Even Ferguson admitted he would have been disappointed had his side been denied a goal in similar circumstances.
United’s David de Gea missed a cross as Demba Ba headed against the crossbar. Cisse headed the rebound towards goal and the keeper clawed the header to safety. Television replays proved inconclusive because of the angle of the camera, but it was clear most of the ball had crossed the line.
Tom Cleverley made absolutely certain of victory with 19 minutes left when he curled a shot into the top corner of the net though many, including Ferguson, believed it was a cross.
It was his first Premier League goal for United and also only his second goal for the club after only recently getting off the mark in the Capital One Cup….ironically his first goal also being struck against Newcastle.