Match Review: Manchester United 4-3 Newcastle United
In what has become a norm for Manchester United this season, an injury time winner from Javier Hernandez sealed an incredible comeback against Newcastle United after they went down thrice at Old Trafford, and in the process moving 7 points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table.
Coming into the match, Newcastle, with a second string midfield after a host of injuries and suspensions, were expected to have a tough challenge before them. With Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young injured in training and Welbeck held back by a late illness, United’s bench looked fairly lacking in terms of firepower. This forced Sir Alex to start Scholes and Giggs for the first time since September.
Newcastle quietened a spirited Old Trafford side early on after some sloppy work from Carrick presented Demba Ba with a shot from outside the box. David de Gea was pretty much at fault for parrying it right into the path of James Perch who coolly slid it home for his first goal for Newcastle.
Newcastle kept putting on the pressure as the United attacks just didn’t amount to a noteworthy attempt on goal. Coloccini headed the ball goalwards around the 20 minute mark and it almost looped over the keeper.
The equalizer came on 25 minutes following a free kick from van Persie. After going through the crowd, it fell to Hernandez who created some space for himself and took a low shot which was warded off by Krul, only for Jonny Evans to slide it into an empty net.
The celebrations lasted only for a matter of minutes when Newcastle regained the lead after a very contentious goal. Simpson shot towards the goal and Cisse appeared to be in an offside position when Evans slid in and deflected the ball for an own goal. The assistant referee, Jake Collin, signalled for offside, which sparked immediate discontent from Alan Pardew. But after a discussion with the assistant, referee Mike Dean awarded Newcastle the goal. Alex Ferguson’s fury would have been even greater after Marveaux won a free kick and sent it on goal only to be denied by the bar.
Ferguson came out very early at the end of half time to give the officials quite an earful and it remains to be seen if any action will be taken against him. United came out fired up in the second half and almost equalized straightaway with Van Persie’s shot going wide and Hernandez rightfully denied a penalty. All the pressure finally culminated with Patrice Evra drilling home the ball with a low shot which Krul could have done a little better to keep out.
With the scores equal and the game wide open at both ends, many would have put their money on United to finish this off. Instead came a bit of awful defending which has become a feature of United’s play as they allowed Gabriel Obertan to easily pick out Cisse who made it 2-3 to the visitors with an emphatic finish.
Manchester United responded by bringing on Tom Cleverley for Scholes and the substitute immediately quickened the pace of the game. With him doing the hardwork of applying pressure, it freed up Carrick to dictate play. This was evident when he fed Van Persie to slot in the equalizer after some good work by Valencia on the wing.
United piled on the pressure with 20 minutes to go and were looking for the winner. Hernandez was presented with this chance after rounding the keeper but failing to finish due to good recovery by Krul. Sammy Ameobi entered the fray and almost snatched it away from United, as his shot trickled its way past De Gea, only to come off the post.
In the end it was United who showed all the composure, and in typical fashion, Carrick provided Hernandez with a delightful chipped pass and the Mexican wasn’t to be denied as he slotted home the winner in ‘Fergie Time.’