Date: 27th November 2011 at 1:15am
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With such a consistently impressive start to the season, Newcastle United were sure to make strong opposition against Manchester United at Old Trafford. With Wayne Rooney returning to the side, Ashley Young and Nani featuring on the wings and Hernandez also up front, it looked a strong set up going into the game.

The match turned out to be a pulsating affair, with both goalkeepers displaying superb reaction saves, with Krul in particular proving to be his side’s hero. The first half failed to produce any goals but was not without it’s highlights. Newcastle were probably lucky to go into half time on level terms, with Ryan Giggs deft flick on producing a fine fingertip save as well as saving from Hernandez, although the visitors were not without their fair share of attacking moments with former United winger Obertan producing a threat down United’s left. Early in the second half, the deadlock was broken as Wayne Rooney’s free kick near the edge of the box led to a scrap in the area that led to an intended clearance ricocheting off Hernandez’s chest, a case of right place right time. Controversy soon followed as a fine tackle from Rio Ferdinand that was adjudged by all except the linesman to be a corner kick, was soon given as a penalty. The resulting spot kick was easily put away by Ba. However, late into the second half, United sensed the chance to push further forward as Newcastle were reduced to 10 men after Gutierrez was shown a second yellow card. As United piled forward in search of a winner, Newcastle held on with Krul producing yet more heroics to deny Vidic’s header and Evra’s shot from distance.

Ashley Young was denied by the post and Hernandez was denied a late late winner when his goal was judged to be offside, although replays showed how close a call it was. 1-1 the final score, and potentially yet more distance between themselves and the league leaders. On a day where poor decisions and a fine goalkeeping performance had large influence, it could be said it was “one of those days” where the chances to win simply would not produce. With that here are five things that may be taken from the game.

 1) The penalty decision was appalling

Regardless of any sentiments others hold regarding decisions at Old Trafford, as some have used for justification for the penalty given against Ferdinand, one has to simply admit that the assistant referee just got it totally wrong on Saturday. It was clear for all, clearly it would seem, including the referee who even awarded a corner before his assistant intervened. Considering the referee was closer to the action, he surely was in a better position to tell that the tackle that occurred was a fine one. Not only that, but it should have been clear to the assistant that the direction of travel the ball took after the tackle had been made was surely indicative of the fact that Ferdinand got all of the ball in the challenge he made. A truly awful decision on what was a poorly officiated game.

2) Evra at left back, relied upon too heavily?

This point has been made on a few occasions this season, regarding Evra’s lack of form at times, but after the game against Newcastle it may be worth bringing up. Perhaps as the club’s only true left back, there has been too much reliance on him every game to produce. Perhaps he is overworked and in need of reinforcement in that position to allow him greater recovery between games. I mention this because there were times when Obertan, admittedly high on confidence right now, exploited Evra on a number of occasions, able to get passed with relative ease to set up attacks. This is not an isolated showing and perhaps is a position that Sir Alex Ferguson may look to bolster in the future.

3) The goalkeepers – both displays of fine shot-stopping

Saturday afternoon was a game where both goalkeepers held influence over the final result, in particular Newcastle’s Krul, who certainly had a strong say in keeping his side on level terms and in the match, both before and after the sending off. David De Gea was also tested, with a superb reflex to tip over in the second half from a volley.

4) Nani and Young – quiet prior to the sending off

As part of United’s dip in form of late,with Ashley Young out injured has been the lacklustre performances of Nani recently. Although still providing some influence on United’s attack, it seems as though he has lost some of the effectiveness that made him such a danger last season in producing so many assists. At times he has appeared a little more wasteful, and although against Newcastle was threatening at times, producing a couple of excellent passes, one must admit he has not quite got the form back that made him so important last term. Young too was quiet at times before being let loose and able to exploit the difference when the opposition went a man down.

5) One of those days

Sometimes after a game such as this one, where neither side played badly and United having plenty of clear chances to take all the points, it was one of those days where it simply would not go there way. Regardless of the penalty decision, United could have taken all 3 points, and were it not for a goal line clearance, the woodwork and the excellence of Krul. Newcastle themselves were resilient and held on valiantly when down to 10 men. For all that United threw at the visitors it simply would not go in and had to settle for the solitary point.


17 responses to “Five Things We Learned – United vs. Newcastle”

  1. Janne says:

    ManU strikers shocking finishing ruined the game for ManU and not the ref. There were dubious handball decisions on both ends in favour of ManU and Rooney should have walked first half. With someone able to score ManU chould have won the game, but they didn`t have anyone. Was their only goal a handball? Pardew was definaltely the classier of the managers after the game. He was able to see the ManU point too. Ferguson`s comment was that samaold sameold we always hear from the giant team managers after points dropped.

    • Zayd Jawad says:

      I did not claim the referee ruined the game but it was simply the wrong decision and there’s no getting away from that. If handball was missed more of a point would have been made of it. With regard to Rooney, he had every right to try play the ball on the floor of that is the situation being referred to. It was a good game of football made worse by poor officiating in summary.

  2. UTD111 says:

    As if Man Utd have never benefitted from dodgy penalty decisions? Stop moaning and get over it!
    United didn’t go there to defend. We didn’t park the bus. We went there to play football. Overall a draw was a fair result and no-one can say we didn’t earn it – especially in defence.

    • Zayd Jawad says:

      Read what I said, you’ll see I have credited Newcastle for their part in the game, until they went down to ten men they were very much in it with their own share of the play, but that does not excuse the fact the penalty decision was simply wrong.

  3. Paul says:

    Perhaps coloccini should have rolled round on the floor injured like nani and he might have got rooney booked! Fergie has closed his vineyard, scottish whine made from sou r grapes dont sell!

  4. UTD111 says:

    Mate – The point on Rooney was that he kept swinging kicks at Coloccini on the ground long after the ball had gone.

    • Zayd Jawad says:

      That’s a slight exaggeration as to what happened in all honesty, he maybe kicked once after because Colocini was too quick.

  5. kev says:

    Have you ever heard of the Respect campaign at Old Trafford? from the Managers comments, down to players surrounding the officials in a threatening manner, Shameful and no class whatsoever.

  6. Gorse Hill Red says:

    I bet a few dinar fell out of that linesman backpocket. Chicharito was level too. Newcastle were lucky today and they know it.

  7. Colin says:

    The Rooney incident was not a foul, Collocini was just quicker than him getting the ball away, this was evident after their immediate handshake. Ben Arfa, who was not near the incident, thought differently, but was in the wrong. Perhaps a free-kick, but no more.

    Hernandez goal was arguably hand-ball and on another day a contentious ref decision would have ruled it as such. Whichever way you look at it, it was a fortunate goal as was Newcastle’s.

    So, two strong teams shared the spoils after scoring fortuitously

  8. Ez says:

    United should buy Baines.

  9. CollyhurstRedArmy says:

    Only two teams in that game, MUFC and the officials.

    Newcastle didnt even get out of their own half.

    Nothing more than a scandalous robbery.

  10. Matthew says:

    I am very disappointed. Yes, part of it is the result, part of it is the shocking referee decision, but most of it is the bench. I like all of our players. Yet, there is no one on the bench that can “change” the game. If SAF is not going to buy any new players, which I don’t expect him to and I don’t think we need to. We should give a chance to Morrison. He is the only player that has the flair like we had with Ronaldo. Also, he looks confident enough to be the game changer we need.

    Another point I would like to make is Giggs. He is my top three favorite player of all time. Yet, I don’t feel he is a central midfielder. He plays too much high ball in my point of view. Right now our team is build on the ground. Since Javier is the lone striker, he is always playing against two center backs. Playing high ball to him is very hard for Javier to control the ball and win the headers against two center backs. It breaks down our play so often. Also the high ball bypass our strongest play maker Rooney. That is why I think morrison should be given a chance because he is very good at playing the ball on the ground. I think the best position for Giggs should be the support striker role.

    Last point, this is totally not related to our beloved team but football. It is a tragedy to hear the bad news about Gary Speed. It was the worse news I can imagine to know in a Sunday morning (I live in Vancouver). RIP