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West Ham United
4 January 2012
• St. James' Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 52299
For the visitors, Man United stay three points behind rivals Man City. If Tottenham win their game in hand, against Everton next Wednesday, they will go level on points with United.
So that's Newcastle's first win over Man United in over 10 years, and only their third ever in the Premier League era. Newcastle stay in seventh but close the gap to Liverpool to just one point.
90' + 5'
And that's fulltime! Manchester United crash to their second defeat in a row by a side who outclassed them for pretty much the entire game.
90' + 1'
For a player who has impressed everyone this season, that was a shocker from Phil Jones. It's all a learning curve for the youngster though, I guess. Four minutes of added time to play.
Assist Tim Krul
Own Goal Phil Jones
GOAL!! Phil Jones inexplicably heads the ball into the back of his own net! Another huge kick from Krul flies over almost everyone so Lindegaard comes out to collect but Jones has other ideas and tries to head it clear, doesn't connect with it properly and ends up diverting the ball into his own net. A horrible end to a poor performance for the youngster.
Giggs winds back the clock with a great jinking run to slip Nani into space on the right, the winger lofts in a first time cross towards Welbeck but Krul just plucks it out of the air. Despite not being the busiest tonight, Krul has stayed alert without putting a foot wrong.
Newcastle nearly caught out at the back after Santon decides to go on an, albeit impressive, canter upfield. Man United break and Anderson finds Welbeck running through on goal but a poor first touch gives Krul just enough time to run out and gather the ball.
Man United take a corner quickly to try and outfox Newcastle, but you can't get anything past Tiote as he pounces on Anderson before he can get the ball out of his feet. Man United are not making any headway at the moment, and it's mainly due to Tiote and his midfield counterparts.
Yellow Card Cheikh Tiote
For the second time in a matter of minutes, Hernandez is deemed offside when running clear. Both were correct decisions but things really arn't going the reigning Champions way tonight.
Cabaye is now subtituted, to a standing ovation, to be replaced by James Perch.
Into the final 15 minutes of normal time now. Surely Man United can't come back from this? Stranger things have happened...
And now a change for Newcastle as Leon Best replaces Ameobi.
Well, he has a brilliant goalscoring record against today's opponents, but Rooney is substituted for Anderson.
More pressure from Newcastle as Taylor's arrowed delivery from the right finds Ba inside the six-yard box but, under pressure from Ferdinand, he can only direct it off-target. After a brief period of dominance, Man United are struggling to threaten.
More great play from Ameobi as he shrugs off Jones, who has not had a good night tonight, with ease and nonchalantly finds Taylor with a pass. Taylor tries a first time effort from 25 yards but it sails miles wide.
Newcastle's midfield have been an absolute rock tonight. Tiote, a reported Man United target, in particular. He is everywhere, stopping an attack at every opportunity.
Time for another striker for Manchester United. Javier Hernandez comes on for Park.
More pressure from the away side, but they are not taking full advantage. This time Park's lofted cross into the area is easily headed clear by Coloccini. He finds Tiote who, in turn finds, Ameobi. Who, by the way, has been superb tonight, linking up with Ba and holding up the place very well.
Yellow Card Antonio Valencia
It really is all Manchester United all of a sudden. This time Park races down the left, pauses slightly as he sees Rooney free in the area but decides to try and find Nani on the far side, but finds Coloccini instead who clears.
If I recall correctly, Simpson also saved off the line in the reserve fixture this season. A thorn in Manchester United's side, it seems.
OFF THE LINE!! Welbeck with an immediate impact as he combines with Nani to flick the ball back to Rooney six yards out. His instinctive shot has Krul beaten but Danny Simpson, against his old club, is on the line to clear.
And here is Welbeck, on for Berbatov who hasn't had the best of games. But neither has many of the Manchester United squad.
An example of those winds straight away as Cabaye's whipped corner beats Lindegaard but Williamson heads over. Looks like Sir Alex Ferguson has order Welbeck to start warming up.
Any comeback from the away side has just got even more harder as the wind is hitting gale-force speeds. Any sort of crosses are becoming very hard to predict.
Manchester United looked utterly stunned, along with the majority of both sets of fans to be honest, and you can't blame them. Somehow that topped Ba's earlier goal.
Goal Yohan Cabaye
GOAL!! 2-0 to Newcastle United! Oh. My. God. Cabaye has just hit one of, if not the, goals of the season so far with an absolutely thundering freekick from over 30 yards in off a mix of the post and bar. Utterly incredible.
Yellow Card Phil Jones
Manchester United get us back underway, but it's immediate pressure on their goal as Jones fells Demba Ba around 30 yards out. Cabaye is standing over the ball...
The teams are back out for the second half. Demba Ba is all smiles, and you can't blame him. Meanwhile, for the first time in his life, Rooney's hair is blowing in the wind.
A little halftime stat for you guys from our friends at Infostrada Sports: Manchester United haven't won a PL match in which they have been one behind at half-time since August 2009 (three draws, six defeats).
45' + 3'
And that is halftime! Newcastle lead 1-0 thanks to a brilliant half-volley from Demba Ba. It could have been more aswell had they been handed what looked like a nailed on penalty earlier on in the half. All to do for Manchester United then, and only three points will do in their title challenge.
45' + 2'
Right at the end of added time, Ba picks the ball up around 30 yards out and is immediately urged to shoot by the home fans, a suggestion he duly accepts. It's not a bad effort, on target, but Lindegaard watched it all the way.
45' + 1'
We've entered added time at the end of the first half, of which there will be two minutes.
After a long delay in taking the freekick, Taylor does his best to prove me wrong by getting it up and over the wall well, but the ball wouldn't come down quick enough and it skims off the top of the net.
But now, in this end-to-end game, it's Newcastle with a freekick around 30 yards out after Giggs was late with a challenge on Ba. Ryan Taylor is a freekick specialist, but this might just be a little too far out for even him.
Despite that, Manchester United have definitely improved since going a goal down. Park, Giggs and Rooney in particular trying to make something happen.
Well they arn't going to get anywhere doing that. Park works the ball down the right well to Valencia, who is initially stood up by Santon but instead of trying to wriggle he way out of the situation he just backheels the ball into Krul's hands.
Newcastle will now be looking to hold out until, at least, halftime, but Manchester United are immediately on the offence by working the ball down the right through Nani and Valencia, but it comes to nothing.
Ba is such an instinctive striker and that goal is Exhibit A to show his prowess.
Assist Shola Ameobi
Goal Demba Ba
GOAL!! Demba Ba puts Newcastle ahead with a superb finish. A huge kick by Krul is headed on by Ameobi towards Ba who, with his back to goal, volleys it over Ferdinand's head into the far corner. A brilliant strike. His 15th of the season and the first goal Lindegaard has conceded in over 550 minutes.
Two great bits of defending by either side. First, Demba Ba is set running by a great ball from Tiote, but Ferdinand cleans up with ease. From the resulting counter, Tiote is there again to stop the marauding Phil Jones in his tracks and do his own but of cleaning up.
Well, a said Newcastle needed a foothold in this game and, after that unsuccessful claim for a penalty, they seem to have got one, with United looking worried. Jonas tries to find Ameobi at the far post with a great swinging cross by Manchester United are back in numbers to head clear. The crowd is deafening, absolutely deafening.
Definite penalty. Ferdinand was struggling to contain Ba there and their legs tangled with both collapsing to the ground. A huge let-off for the away side there.
Big, BIG shout for a penalty to Newcastle!! Shola Ameobi holds up the ball and tries to play in Demba Ba. As the club's topgoalscorer tries to bring the ball under control he is tripped by Ferdinand to howls of the home side's support. I'll need another look at that to be sure, but at first glance Newcastle can feel aggrieved to see their pleas waved away.
I'll pause for breath to allow Rob Steward to pipe up again: "There is something about Manchester United coming to town that really seems to bring the best out of Newcastle fans because the stadium has seldom been more vibrant recently that it is tonight although that might be down to the way the travelling supporters have been mercilessly taunting local hero Alan Shearer."
Did Rooney think he was offside there? Perhaps. A fantastic through ball by Giggs plays the Englishman into the area but a mixture of hesitation from the striker and great defensive pressure from Williamson averts the danger. That was a real chance.
...and that's a waste. Jones rises for the delivery but fails to make an contact and it bounces out for a Newcastle throw.
Freekick to Manchester United about 30 yards out after Cabaye accidently handles the ball while trying to control it. Rooney hits it but it deflects off the wall for a corner...
Cabaye's long shot is pushed away for a corner by Lindegaard, Ryan Taylor whips the ball and it's headed straight for the goalkeeper but he can only parry it away but Valencia clears up.
After a bright start Newcastle need to get a foothold on the game with the away side, despite so far being wasteful in the final third, are amping up the pressure.
OFF THE POST! Manchester United are starting to set the pace of the game now and Berbatov's header from 12 yards out flicks off Santon and skims the outside of Krul's post, with the goalkeeper sprawling.
And the away side nearly take advantage as Newcastle right-back hesitates under pressure with Rooney's cut-back finding Nani inside the area, but the ball is at an awkward height and Krul collects, at the second attempt, from Nani's weak effort.
Manchester United are coming more into the game now, battling toe-to-toe with Newcastle's midfield enforcers Tiote and Cabaye trying to find a way through.
With Lindegaard called upon three times already, what better time than to see what some of the Manchester United fans told Rob Stewart regarding his starting berth tonight: "As expected, Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand have returned to the fold but travelling fans are most relieved that Anders Lindegaard has been given the nod over David De Gea. “I’m glad De Gea has been taken out of the firing line because his confidence looked shot to bits against Blackburn,” said electrical engineer Andy Collins, who hails from Oldham. “Anyway, Lindegaard looks a lot more solid and he’ll need to be because Newcastle will really test us because there is always a great atmosphere up here with the way the Geordies get behind their team.” His travelling companion, Freddie Williamson, who hails from Saddleworth, added: “This is one of the country’s great stadiums and one of the league’s top fixtures because of our rivalry. I just hope the memories of Kevin Keegan doesn’t inspire them.”
And here come Newcastle again, this time through central midfielder Yohan Cabaye as the Frenchman has a pop at goal form 25 yards, but Lindegaard gets down well to save. Newcastle definitely on top in the early stages.
I know it's early, but will Newcastle, and more specifically Ba, live to regret that miss? Simpson does tremendously well down the right to skip past Park and find the Senegalese in acres of space around the penalty spot but he completely mistimes his shot and doesn't connect with the ball as well. With the form he's been in, a decent connection surely would have meant a goal.
Our man at the ground, Rob Stewart, has popped up: "Greetings from the Sports Direct Arena where it is fair to say that things are Virgin on the ridiculous. That’s because Newcastle United have just announced a new shirt sponsorship deal with Virgin Money that means there will be a new logo on the black and white striped shirt following Richard Branson’s purchase of Northern Rock. I must admit I was expecting there to be a bit of a fans backlash with lots of folk having spent their hard-earned cash on replica shirts for their kids but I was very mistaken because most fans are pleased with the new look. “As long as it wasn’t Sports Directs I’m happy because that really would have been too much to take,” said teacher Jim Ryan, of Gateshead. “This is all due to circumstances beyond the club’s control so we’ve got to get on with it. Plus, I’ve heard that the club are going to reimburse fans who bought their tops at Christmas so they’re doing what they can.” Social worker Sven Johansson, of Whitley Bay, added: “My only problem is that I’ve heard there will be a bit of red on the shirt and bearing in mind who our fiercest rivals are that just isn’t on. “But anyway I’ll worry about that tomorrow. There is always something very special when Man U are in town so let’s hope we can do the business. we haven’t beaten them in ten years so perhaps the night could be the night, especially with Demba Ba on red-hot form, pardon the pun."
First sign of attack comes from the away side as Lindegaard's long goalkick is flicked on by Berbatov into the path of Giggs on the edge of the area, but Coloccini gets a block in before the Welshman can bring the ball under control.
And we are underway! Newcastle get the game started.
Under five minutes until we get underway at a very windy St. James Park. The teams are in the tunnel.
The lay of the land concerning the Premier League table for these two teams is as follows: A win for Newcastle will close the gap on sixth-placed Liverpool to just one point, whereas Manchester United must win to keep pace and go level on points with the current leaders Manchester City.
So, to sum up: either side could win tonight. Or they could draw. Conclusive.
And finally, Manchester United haven’t lost their opening game of a calendar year since 1996.
Newcastle are yet to win in front of their home fans since the stadium was renamed to the Sports Direct Arena, losing two of three games.
Man United are unbeaten in their last 18 Premier League games against Newcastle, winning 13 of them.
Newcastle have only lost once when Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabaye have started a game, and that was last Friday’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool. They start together tonight.
Kick-off is in 20 minutes so, while we wait, I am going to throw a few stats at you to whet your appetite even further (if that was possible)...
For Manchester United, the big news is that David de Gea has been dropped, presumably after another mistake in the 3-2 loss to Blackburn on Saturday, and is replaced by Anders Lindegaard who is yet to concede in his six appearances this season. Captain Rio Ferdinand also returns after injury and Wayne Rooney is allowed to play after being left out at the weekend.
So Newcastle make two changes from the side who lost to Liverpool 3-1 last time out. Gabriel Obertan fails to recover from an infected toe in time, so Ryan Taylor moves to a more attacking right wing role with Davide Santon covering at left-back. Shola Ameobia also comes in to partner Demba Ba upfront, with Haris Vuckic making way.
Manchester United: Lindegaard; Valencia, Ferdinand, Jones, Evra; Nani, Carrick, Park, Giggs; Berbatov, Rooney. Subs: De Gea, Rafael, Anderson, Hernandez, Welbeck, Lingard, Pogba
Krul; Simpson, Coloccini, Williamson, Santon; R Taylor, Cabaye, Tiote, Jonas; Sh Ameobi; Ba Subs: Harper, Ben Arfa, Perch, Best, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Vuckic.
Before we get down to the nitty, gritty let's have a look at those all-important lineups. Hosts Newcastle up first...
Those familiar with the Premier League over the last decade or so will know just how entertaining these games have been in the past. 5-0, 2-6 and 4-3 are just a sprinkle of scorelines at this stadium when these two have met previously. Has your appetite been whetted?
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the Premier League clash between Newcastle United and Manchester United.
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