It was a wonderful first half performance that set Manchester United onto the path of victory today. A brace of goals from set pieces and a wonderful goal from Tom Cleverley late on meant we won by the same margin that we lost to them the last time we travelled here in the Premier League.
Newcastle could not touch us in the first thirty minutes or so. The passing and movement was terrific and Wayne Rooney was finding all sorts of real estate just off of the front pairing of Robin Van Persie and Danny Welbeck. Despite our dominance from open play, it was from set pieces where we did the damage. The first came from Robin Van Persie's corner, where Jonny Evans got ahead of his man and powered in a header.
If you thought Evans was an unlikely source for a goal, I give you Patrice Evra. Especially from a corner. The Frenchman was unmarked and nicked in at the front post of a Rooney corner this time to make it 2-0. United were on fire. Newcastle were still waiting for the alarm clock to wake them.
Danny Welbeck's movement was wonderful throughout the first half. Yet his finishing was appalling. Steve Harper was playing silly buggers in the Newcastle goal, trying to bring the ball out, so Danny deprived him of the ball. Ok, he may have been off balance, but he still should have scored instead of putting it way wide. Any wider, and RVP would have had a tap in from a square ball!
His next opportunity came when Rooney found him well. The angle was fine when he received the ball, yet by the time he sorted out his feet, there was no hope of him scoring. Having said that, if Javier Hernandez was on the pitch, you just know he would have scored from the ball that flashed across the goal line.
The only down point of the day you would have to say was David De Gea and crosses. The first challenge was one he flat out missed, and ended up in a goal kick. There were a couple more, yet the one that everyone will remember was in the second half. He once again flapped at one, resulting in a goal mouth scramble. A header was diverted goal mouth and De Gea somehow managed to claw it back and onto the post just before it crossed the line. Evans then cleared the ball from two yards out. In that play, we saw the very best and worse of David De Gea. (Just seen the save again... WOW)
The third was wonderful. Having said that, im now not so sure he meant it. Rooney found Cleverley on the left hand side of Newcastles box. RVP made a run to the far post. The shot/cross sailed over both he and Harper and found the rop right corner. If it was meant, it was a sensational finish. If he didn't mean it.... It was still a sensational finish.....
The rest of the game was United seeing it out. Scholes was brought on to help this, and picked up his inevitable yellow card (I swear that is his 4th this season). Overall, a very pleasing performance as we head into the second international break of the season.