Auf Wiedersehen, Goals, Pet

United 0:0 Newcastle

Line up: Romero, Darmian, Blind, Smalling, Shaw, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger, Mata, Januzaj, Memphis, Rooney

Subs: Valencia for Darmian, Carrick for Schweinsteiger, Chicharito for Januzaj

There is something quite calming about the team sheet in the early days of this season for United; we don’t seem to need to question Romero, Darmian composed and looking the perfect fit on the right, Luke Shaw world beating on the left, Chris Smalling and Daley Blind becoming something in the centre. The midfield has changed, sometimes personnel but mainly positions and against Newcastle Juan Mata and Memphis were selected to do the damage on the flanks, Morgan Schneiderlin continued his midfield brief alongside débutante Bastian Schweinsteiger. Adnan Januzaj played off Wayne Rooney, who needed to find his scoring boots again.

Facing them amongst the Geordies was Tim Krul, an impressive ‘keeper but one we would hope to have an unimpressive and very busy day. United started well, heaping the pressure on the Newcastle net early on; Mata looked lively and had a shot saved, later he spread the ball perfectly for Memphis to cut in from wide but the shot wasn’t really a test for the Newcastle ‘keeper.

Attacking wise you could see the visting team growing in confidence as the game wore on, Aleksandar Mitrovic eluded the defence and sent a header goalwards that Romero could do nothing about, thankfully the effort hit the bar. Perez also had a chance, wide of Romero’s post. The United fans’ positivity did begin to fade as the match went on; we seem to have become a team eager to put our chances away early as if we know that eventually the opposition will get one and take it and all the good work will be wasted. Such a cheery thought, but one which was passed between the fans around me like a recessive gene. If we started to second guess, those on the pitch certainly didn’t – Mata sent a peach of a ball to Rooney who actually attempted a shot, blocked by Steven Taylor. Morgan Schneiderlin danced through midfield and found Rooney wide on the edge of the box, he delivered a delicious cross and Juan Mata came in and blazed over.

Valencia came on for Darmian at right back, when Matteo was signed the quotes from LVG suggested that the manager saw Valencia as first choice in this position, that should not be the case any more. Javier Hernandez also came on for United and had a perfect chance to steal the points, denied by a save from Tim Krul which was very Schmiechel like, tall to narrow the target, save with the legs.

After much clamouring for Bastian Schweinsteiger to replace Michael Carrick from the start, the German was replaced by the Geordie in Manc exile, during the game due to injury. Carrick will feel he should have done better when he hammered it back at goal from Coloccini’s header, it missed the target and a thoroughly frustrating game came to an end. GTS

How Was it For You?

THE  Christmas turkey is gone, the sprout effort is gone for another year and you may even be back at work. You may have been left asking ‘Is that all there is?’ in real life, but in the football world, where things really count, there were enough events this week to keep you on your toes. Yes, friends, as the family board games came out, Manchester United’s own trivial pursuit of silverware stalled at Swansea, was back on track at the end of Boxing Day and received a charitable donation from the Stadium of Light. Our own wise man, Sir Alex will hope it leads to the title and you have to say it’s good to be top as we head to New Year.

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Electric Geordieland

No fog on the tyne. No Charity. United clear and to the point against Newcastle.

Sports TV channels have loved Newcastle United v Manchester United since the mid nineties when the Geordie nation found themselves following a team that had a chance of winning the league. They would have loved it, LOVED it, if they beat us then… and many a pundit would have loved it loved it if they had beaten us yesterday, many said they would.

Newcastle legend Alan Shearer took to his soap box to tell everyone Manchester United had no chance of winning the league without Vidic (The Sun, 2nd October), Jamie Redknapp took to his to predict a Newcastle victory, “what a statement of intent that would be from Alan Pardew “ (Sky Sports, 4th October) and Sky Sports were all over the stats, Manchester United’s record against Newcastle and that performance and loss last year which now was seen as the crucial one (Sunday Mirror, 7th October) in the title leaving Old Trafford for council accommodation.

“I can see a second successive defeat  when they make the trip to Newcastle Of course Sir Alex has made a living out of proving people wrong. If he does so again then I will have no defence. “-

Alan Shearer (he’s the manager that got Newcastle United relegated)

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