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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I Always Rated William Prunier

DURING pre-Christmas week I was in hospital. I had my ankle broken and fused in three places at a right angle and a tendon moved from one side of my foot to the other. I got out of hospital at 10pm the day before Christmas eve, the paramedic transport forgot about me, I went to my parents’ house and I spent 5 days being babied by my Mum. I have had better months.

But Manchester United’s form over the same period, now THAT was painful.

In Europe and on the home front we have been getting spanked harder than a politician in a dungeon with a safe word.

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They Ruined My Headline

“Newcastle United are a massive club. Not in terms of success but they are a massive club.”

A Newcastle United fan shows that they aren’t in fact deluded.

  SOMETIMES the team that has just lost their manager play their first game without him like they should have done when he was there. I have to admit, this was not strictly what happened today as we faced Newcastle, though for forty five minutes when the red United tried and failed to make the breakthrough, I did wonder if they would eventually have the last laugh. Newcastle United’s team had a strangely familiar look to it with Nicky Butt and Alan Smith in midfield. Nicky Butt seems to have gone through an on off love affair with the Newcastle fans and it seems they finally may now be taking to him. Although the Toon Army are a funny lot so maybe acceptance isn’t on the cards for Butty just yet, but they should admit that he does a job for them.    ”If you ignore the chances Manchester United had during the game, it easily could have been a draw!”

Given to Score  hero Alan Smith was back at Old Trafford. He got a well deserved welcome from the Manchester United faithful. They will always be grateful for the blood shed for the Old Trafford cause by that man, and many were sorry to see him go but football is like that and old loyalties were forgotten fairly quickly on both sides. The result makes the look one sided and in the second half it was, but that was only after chances galore failed to find the net. How Wayne Rooney did not bag a goal today is a question which he may still be asking himself. How the home team were not awarded at least one of the two stone wall penalties we could have had, is a question which Rob Styles can ask himself. We certainly asked him from our seats, along with the hail of words which I cannot repeat, I have a picture of my impressionable little brother in my wallet and familes read this website!  Steven Taylor certainly left his leg their for Ronaldo in the first instance, the Newcastle defender can be happy with his performance today when you consider that he was in the right place for goal line clearances in the second half. There were very few plus points for the visitors today and he was the only player to go and salute the visiting pogoing Newcastle United fans at the end of the game. Maybe another who would have applauded was Alan Smith, had he been on the pitch at the time.

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Newcastle Down Stale

YET again this season Manchester United met an opposition just after they had seen fit to rid themselves of a manager. Previously, Jose Mourinho departed Chelsea before his team came to Old Trafford, and now we met Newcastle United without Sam Allardyce.  Newcastle United fans have requested that fans of other clubs keep themselves to themselves and leave the opinions on the St James’ Park club, to those who know them best – the fans. They believe that Newcastle United are a special breed, a team apart and that during bad times they can be left alone to lick their wounds.

I don’t remember such ‘leave us to it’ reactions during the mid nineties when they were apparently Sky Sports’ favourite team and they were gunning for the title. They wanted all the attention then.  Everyone else has an opinion on the Newcastle debate and I will leave it alone once I have made three points. Sam Allardyce seemed to get the job at St James Park for working on a shoe string at Bolton, but also working out what the team’s strengths were and playing to those. It is perhaps then a little naïve to think that with a supposedly bigger club, he would change his ideas on how to play. Eventually Newcastle seemed to fight for free kicks and lump the ball from back to front. It was this display at Bolton that got him the Newcastle United job and it was the fear of this happening to the Toon army that meant he was never a fan favourite, apart from the opening day when they loved him. 

Newcastle United fans seem to be the most deluded ones in the league. They believe that simply because they haven’t had success or won trophies since the abacus was the hip new must-have product, that they deserve it. They do not. By that reckoning Bury FC deserves to win the European Cup this season. They believe they are special because even though they constantly disappoint their ever so demanding fans, fifty thousand of them turn up every week to see the poor show. THAT is loyalty, I will give them that. The fact that they are in essence a one club city has nothing to do with it, obviously.  As a side note it is worth remembering that the year United were in the second tier, Old Trafford saw the league’s highest attendances of the season. Newcastle United did not write the book on still supporting a football team during dark days. 

Finally, Alan Shearer is a clever man. It is very unlikely he will come anywhere near the manager’s job at the current time because I suspect he knows the task of steadying the ship is beyond him. Without experience, it is. Even those with experience are not dying to take the job. If Alan Shearer took it now and failed he would be yet another legend that returns to his old stomping ground, flatters to deceive and leaves the team and his reputation with the fans in a bad state. If Alan Shearer really thinks about it, the best time for him to ride in on a white horse and save the day would be following the Geordies’ relegation. Then the Shearer day can truly dawn! If Newcastle stop thinking that they are any kind of sleeping giant, they may have a chance. They are a small club with high expectations that they have no real right to possess.  If they accept that they are in trouble and need a manager who is good at that style of management, rather than the big name they demand then they can start to turn the corner. Unfortunately for them, they came to Old Trafford to underline the latest dark period in their history.

Today’s result can see them end that chapter and move on.