Match review: Manchester United 4 - 3 Newcastle United
They say its in the spirit of Manchester United to score late goals and make stunning comebacks to win matches and leagues like no other team in this world. The Boxing Day match against Newcastle was one such match in which United proved that coming back from losing positions to winning positions is in the fabric of the team and not just a matter of luck.
The United players were certainly not at their best in the match against Newcastle, who displayed a terrific performance at Old Trafford. On a rain-sodded pitch, Newcastle United took advantage of the lazy and immature defending of the United back four. But they had to go back without even a point after succumbing to the pressure after an improved performance by United in the second half.
The match started with a shock goal from James Perch on the fourth minute, who was at the right place at the right time to pounce on the ball parried off by David De Gea for a simple tap in. Manchester United levelled through Jonny Evans, who again gave the lead back to Newcastle after scoring an unfortunate own goal. The own goal was first disallowed for offside; however, referee Mike Dean over-ruled the decision of the linesman and allowed the goal.
The second half began more positively for United, with a much improved performance and creation of chances. However, Newcastle were defending aggressively, and United didn’t have a clear chance to score, until, amid the mayhem in the Newcastle box, Patrice Evra found the ball at his feet and thudded the ball along the ground to score the equalizer. The crowd found their voice back and the pressure was certainly back on Newcastle now. However to the disbelief of the home supporters, Newcastle again took the lead with 22 minutes remaining, after, ex Manchester United player – Gabriel Obertan – took advantage of the clear space available to him down the left flank and slid the ball across the area, only for Cisse to score an unstoppable finish. Inevitably, Manchester United drew the score within 2 minutes through Robin van Persie, who finished clinically for a low shot past the Newcastle keeper Krul. With 15 minutes remaining, Manchester United looked certain to take the lead for the first time in the match when Chicharito rounded Krul, but the Mexican had his options shut down by some quick defending from Newcastle back four. With ten minutes remaining, Chicharito leapt to meet Valencia’s cross, but missed the golden opportunity, as he nodded the ball outside of the upright.
Just as it seemed that Manchester United were going to snatch a late victory, Newcastle came agonizingly close to scoring, as Ameobi’s shot hit the post and came to the hands of De Gea safely after rebound. As the game continued towards a draw, Chicharito headed Giggs’ cross straight at Krul from point blank range. But just as the clock hit the 90th minute, Chicharito sent Old Trafford wild. The little Mexican had spent much of the match being caught offside, but this time, he timed the run perfectly to be level with the Newcastle defense, reaching Carrick’s exquisite pass to slide past Krul a perfect finish and give United a 7 point lead over rivals Manchester City.
Although the game was worth every penny, the match ended in a sour note as Valencia mistimed his sliding tackle to injure Vernon Anita, who was then carried off the field.