United 3 - 1 Newcastle
Jones McNair Evans
Valencia(Rafael) Carrick(Fletcher) Mata Rooney Young
That was a solid display that turned sluggish as soon as Newcastle were dead and buried and Carrick stepped off the field of play on the hour mark. Although Newcastle had a chance or two early in the first 10 minutes, we completely took over from then on and, during the first half, played some of the best football this season. Our players looked composed and comfortable even when put under pressure.
However, one of our defenders didn't impress me today. Jones was dribbled past one time too many and his challenge that led to Newcastle's penalty was stupid. He did make some decent interceptions but some of his mistakes would have been severely punished if we were facing mightier opposition. On the other hand, I thought both McNair and Evans did OK when tested.
Our midfield was excellent today. Mata and Rooney were undoubtedly our best players. Both of them were involved in our first two goals while the latter also notched another assist after his immaculate pinpoint cross was headed home by Robin van Persie. Rooney was obviously my man of the match. His scholesesque cross-field balls were a joy to see and he took his goals very well. Fergie said that Rooney will get goals no matter what position he plays in and he's proving that at the moment. He played in midfield today and got a brace. We've missed a goalscoring midfielder in the past few seasons, we've now got that in Rooney and Mata. Well done to both!
The wings had a good day as well. Young was particularly impressive as he beat his man for fun and also delivered some excellent crosses into the box. He has improved drastically this season. Shaw will have to work hard to get Young's place as soon as the former Southampton boy recovers from his injury. Falcao worked really hard and had a say in our first two goals. He assisted Rooney for our first and won the ball that led to our second. I can see an improvement in his overall play. It's a pity he didn't connect well to one of Young's crosses, our Colombian could have easily scored there. RVP continued his goalscoring run and scored his 5th goal this month, his 8th overall. Quite good that.
Unfortunately our subs didn't impress. Wilson failed to get into the game even though he was given half an hour to do so. Fletcher was also quite poor and we became average as soon as he replaced Carrick. It was good to see Rafael return but he'll obviously need more game time before he can get Valencia off the starting line-up.
That was a good win, which was expected. We'll need a similar performance in two days time against Tottenham. We've drawn at White Hart Lane in the past two seasons, let's hope we can get a win this time. Come on United!
How's this for a fact?
United have won all 6 games that Paddy McNair has started - West Ham, Everton, Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Southampton & Newcastle.