A real Christmas cracker at Old Trafford today as a somewhat depleted Newcastle side pushed for the win right until the 9th minute of injury time.
A very wet day in Manchester may have stopped any beautiful football being played, but it certainly didn’t dampen the excitement as Manchester United came from behind three times to win 4-3 thanks to a very late Javier Hernandez strike.
Sir Alex made changes with Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs all starting, taking the average age of the side up about 177 years.
Despite the obvious qualities possessed by the veteran midfielders, they did not control the game against a second string Newcastle midfield – lacking pace, strength and creativity. Although Scholes doesn’t lose the ball and Giggs works as hard as any professional out there – they should not start together as it feels like both are passengers for long spells.
Errors yet again played a huge part in today’s fixture with De Gea at fault for the first goal as well as flapping at numerous crosses. Jonny Evans looked completely out of depth against Cisse and Ba – which is a regular occurrence when he comes up against a half decent striker.
Evra was the stand out candidate from the back five – but simply because he was a huge threat going forward, adding width and balance down the left hand side. He also scored his fourth goal of the season. Despite heavy criticism of the stand-in captain, he is always a solid performer and stands tall when the side need leaders.
Michael Carrick was again instrumental in midfield, keeping the side ticking. Everybody knew if United were to go on and steal victory, Michael Carrick would have a key part; and that he did when he picked out Hernandez for the winner.
Valencia is a man severely lacking in form and confidence. Player of the year last season yet this season he cannot beat a man or deliver a cross. How many times can he cut inside and pass backwards? The sooner Nani is fit, the better. I appreciate a lot (if not all) fans want to see Nani leave, but he would surely be worth keeping until the summer with Valencia playing so poorly.
Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney have formed a deadly partnership this season – but with no Rooney today and apparently for the next three weeks, we have seen that Van Persie can do it on his own, or with somebody else.
The Dutch striker grows in stature and importance with every minute played; god-forbid he picks up an injury.
Van Persie didn’t win the game for United today, but he was instrumental in linking up the play and he scored a vital equaliser. Enough to be named as my Man of the Match.
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