The fragility of the Newcastle squad was laid bare today, as Manchester United comprehensively beat Newcastle 3–0 at St. James’ Park and the visitors completely dominated Newcastle for the first 25 minutes of this game, scored two but missed about four other good chances – and the game was effectively over when Jonny Evans and then Patrice Evra – all 5’8″ of him – headed goals direct from corners, and the Newcastle marking was woeful – and that’s being kind.
And until Newcastle can turn up at these games from the first minute, we will lose a lot more games than we’ll win, and we have to wake up before these games are lost – which this game was early in the first half — and the question was how many would Manchester United score.
Manchester United started like a steam train and Newcastle just couldn’t live with the slick passing and energetic play of the Red Devils, and it was no surprise when the visitors went ahead after just 8 minutes when Evans headed in unmarked from a right wing Robin van Persie corner.
Three minutes later Rafael was clean through on the right but shot wide, and then Steve Harper in the Newcastle gal, who did not have a good game, was caught with the ball, as he tried like a crazy man to dribble the ball past van Persie – he’s done this before and he should blast the ball out of play - when in doubt kick it out.
The Dutchman got the ball but missed the chance and save Steve’s blushes – but that wasn’t the first time Steve’s has done this – and- he needs to cut it out.
But the opposition went further ahead after 16 minutes when – would you believe it – Patrice Evra headed home direct from another right wing corner – and I’m afraid our back-up defense was just not good enough against a Manchester United team in this form.
When Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini are missing we have no really effective back-ups apart from Mike Williamson – which is why we need to bring in defensive targets.
But isn’t that what we were saying last May?
This game showed that Newcastle have just not strengthened their squad enough for us to be challenging like we were last season, and any injuries to our top players, and we’re not half the team.
That’s why we need a bigger squad.
After the second goal went in a few Newcastle players woke up and we came more into the game but it was still 2-0 at the half, and Newcastle had a huge hole to climb out of.
And just into the second half Patrice Evra pulled on Cisse’s shirt as he went for the ball from a corner – and that should have been a penalty – how do four officials miss that type of thing – almost every time?
Newcastle pressed in the second half and a goal then would have made this game competitive be and how Cisse didn’t score after 50 minutes when a Cisse header from a Ferguson cross hit the cross bar and his follow up header was clawed back by de Gea – but it looked like the ball could have been over the line.
On 62 minutes Anita for Ferguson and Shola Ameobi were the changes that Alan pardew made, as Newcastle were trying to get into the game, but the match was sealed after 71 minutes when Tom Cleverley hit the ball in from the corner of the penalty box, and the ball looped over Steve Harper and into the far top right hand corner of the goal.
Steve touched the ball but couldn’t keep it out.
Harper probably should have done better with that one – but that was the game and on 80 minutes Bigirimana made his customary sub appearance for Cheick Tiote, who didn’t play well today and gave the ball away again far too much in this game – and yes he picked up his customary yellow card.
Newcastle were simply second best today, and we may have to lower expectations of our side unless our top players from now on can remain injury free – but of course that will not happen.
For us – this result put sin perspective Newcastle’s inability to strengthen their defense in the summer and when you male mistakes like that – this is what can happen.
It was a terrible result and not the kind of thing you want going into a two week international break – and we’ll have all the gloom and doomers out – but bottom line Newcastle need more good players into their squad before we can improve on last season – and we should have done that in the summer.
We were second best by a long way today – and that’s the truth – but of course Manchester United played probably their best game of the season today as well.
Very disappointing result and first half performance, but to try to end on a positive note - it’s only one game - and against a very good side today.
This was Newcastle’s first home defeat of the season and only the second all year – the other defeat being to that other Manchester team.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Steve Harper; David Santon, Mike Williamson, James Perch, Shane Ferguson (Vurnon Anita 63); Hatem Ben Arfa, Cheick Tiote (Gael Bigirimana 80), Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez; Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse (Shola Ameobi 63)
Subs not used: Jak Alnwick, Danny Simpson, Gabriel Obertan, Sammy Ameobi
Manchester United: (4-2-3-1): David De Gea; Rafael, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra (c); Tom Cleverley, Michael Carrick; Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney (Paul Scholes 80), Shinji Kagawa (Antonio Valencia 55); Robin Van Persie (Ryan Giggs 87)
Subs not used: Anders Lindegaard, Scott Wootton, Anderson, Javier Hernandez
Referee: Howard Webb (Yorkshire)
Bookings: Newcastle United – Tiote (33), Gutierrez (42), Perch (75), Bigirimana (86); Manchester United – Kagawa (21), Ferdinand (30), Van Persie (31), Scholes (90)