Manchester United opened up their
Carling Capital One Cup campaign at Old Trafford with a 2-1 defeat of Premier League side Newcastle United. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson deployed an experienced midfield and attack ahead of a young back four in a 'Christmas tree' sort of formation -- 4-3-2-1. Darren Fletcher made his first start in ten months and he solidly shielded the back four in a disciplined holding-role. Ahead of him, Tom Cleverley did well to keep possession by circulating the ball while Anderson provided driving and powerful runs from midfield. Up front, Javier Hernandez (Chicharito) was supported by Wayne Rooney -- Wazza's first appearance since being injured versus Southampton in early September -- and Danny Welbeck in behind and the trio impressed with their understanding and interchanging movement.
United were continually building fluid attacking moves in the 1st-half but they didn't get on the scoresheet until Anderson hammered home a shot from 25 yards out in the 44th minute. The Brazilian's finish was obviously impressive but so was the strength he displayed prior to the attempt while fighting off his defender. In the 58th minute, Cleverley atoned for missing a shocking sitter in the 1st-half by curling in a beauty from 20 yards yards out for his first Manchester United goal. In the 61st minute, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew immediately made changes by bringing on Papiss Cisse and Shane Ferguson. The two substitutes immediately made an impact as Cisse headed home a goal from a Ferguson cross. For the final half-hour, the Red Devils looked a bit disjointed and the Magpies nearly equalised on a few occasions -- perhaps most dangerously when Cisse smashed an overhead attempt from 17 yards out off the crossbar. The Red Devils held on to advance though to the next round of the Capital One Cup.