Newcastle United 0-4 Manchester United
Saturday 5th April 2014
Juan Mata steals the show as David Moyes rested several players ahead of the Champions League second leg showdown with defending champions Bayern Munich. Mata was key to a 4-0 victory at Newcastle which moved United into the top six and into the European places. The Spainard netted twice and produced a sensational backheel for Adnan Januzaj’s goal as he is beginning to produce the form everyone knows he is capable of, playing in his favoured number 10 role in the absence of Wayne Rooney. He now looks like a player who cost £37.1 million.
David Moyes made eight changes to the team that performed so well against Munich in midweek, ahead of Wednesday night’s second leg, but that mattered not as United deserved to win as easily as the scoreline would suggest. After a bright start from The Toon, the victory was not without controversy. Referee Kevin Friend came under fire for giving a soft free-kick which led to Mata giving United the lead. The Magpies could have no complaints after that however, as Mata made it two shortly after the break.
Two wonderful team goals finished off by Javier Hernandez and substitute Adnan Januzaj sealed a routine win. The loss was the Geordies’ fourth in their last five league games, with only one goal scored. From the moment Mata gave United the lead, there was little chance of Newcastle completing a first double over United in the league since 1931. There was a bit of a testimonial feel to the game with Moyes’ eyes on Munich on Wednesday and Alan Pardew revealing before kick-off that his players where maybe struggling to get motivated with little to play for.
Newcastle started the brighter of the two sides with right back Davide Santon delivering several dangerous crosses into the box. It was from one of those crosses that Dan Gosling headed just wide in the second minute and Papiss Cisse forced a good save from Anders Lindegaard, who replaced the rested David De Gea in goal. However, the home side could not make the most of other promising moments and let the visitors off the hook. They were made to pay as controversy arose when Gosling was not impressed to be ruled against for a challenge on Darren Fletcher on the edge of the penalty area. Despite the protests, Mata curled a wonderful left footed effort up over the wall and down under the crossbar into the top corner with Newcastle keeper Rob Elliot crasping at thin air. It was an incredible piece of artistry.
The game should have been made potentially safe in the waning moments of the firstperiod. The excellent Shinji Kagawa released Hernandez and the Mexican can count himself unlucky to see his curled effort come back of the post. Any chance of a Newcastle comeback was ended within five minutes of the restart. Fabricio Coloccini attempted to chest the ball to the full back but the ball was intercepted by Kagawa who slid Hernandez in. The Little Pea squared for Mata and the diminutive Spainard cleverly dummied the defender and goalkeeper with his left foot and calmly tapped home with his right. This was a wonderful display of composure.
Hernandez could have made it 3-0 shortly after with a quick shot which went over, but the little Mexican got a well deserved goal for a hard working display when he turned the ball in at the near post after excellent approach work by Januzaj and Kagawa. Lindegaard still had a couple of saves to make from Cisse, first turning away his curling effort and then producing an incredible save to deny the Newcastle front-man from just six yards. United ended the contest with a fourth goal in stoppage time. Januzaj played a one-two with Mata and the playmaker’s wonderful backheel released the young starlet, who finished with a comfortable side foot. David Moyes will be happy with a fourth consecutive away win in the league and the ideal warm up for Wednesday night
Man Of The Match: Excellent performances from Hernandez, Kagawa and Januzaj but the vote goes to Juan Mata, for his sparkling display. Two wonderful goals and an incredible assist for Januzaj’s goal were the highlights, but he was involved in everything good about United, playing in his best position as a number 10. He looked well worth every penny of that £37.1 million when he played in this role.
Thanks for reading,