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October 7, 2012
• St. James' Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 52203
J. Evans 8'
P. Evra 15'
T. Cleverley 71'
Well that's your lot for this afternoon, folks. I'm Tom McKeown and many thanks for joining me!
We've got a domestic break for some international fixtures next week, but when they return Manchester United next host Stoke in the Premier League, while Newcastle have the small matter of a derby trip to Sunderland.
Manchester United are up to second in the Premier League after reversing the scoreline from their trip to Tyneside in January, while Newcastle remain in the top half in tenth place.
FULL-TIME at the Sports Direct Arena and Manchester United have run out comfortable winners here this afternoon, with a fine 3-0 victory over Newcastle.
90' + 4'
Ba fires a dangerous ball across the face of goal but it evades everyone. The hosts then win a corner but Cabaye's ball disappointingly goes out of play before reaching the box.
90' + 2'
Miles Chambers is spotting an early exodus: "The home fans have begun filtering out of the Sports Direct Arena as we enter the final few minutes of this match. Manchester United seem to have avenged last season's 3-0 defeat in this fixture with a reverse scoreline. They have done so by drowning out Newcastle's flimsy attacks and being impressively clinical in corners at both ends of the pitch."
Yellow Card Paul Scholes
Four minutes of added time as Paul Scholes goes into the book for a trademark lunge on Demba Ba.
Manchester United snuff out another Newcastle push forward, and start moving it around comfortably across the back. The hosts then win the ball back and Ba, all on his own, decides to have a shot from 30 yards but it's very tame and rolls harmlessly towards De Gea, who gratefully gathers.
Robin van Persie
Newcastle give the ball away in midfield, and Gael Bigirimana produces a less-than-pretty challenge on Tom Cleverley, picking up a booking in the process.
Yellow Card Gael Bigirimana
Cabaye crumples in a heap after clashing with Robin van Persie, but is quickly back on his feet and is accusing the Manchester United striker of some illicit behaviour, but Howard Webb takes no notice and play goes on.
Manchester United looking comfortable and Newcastle aren't showing any real drive going forward. Looks like this game is all but over.
David De Gea comes out to punch a cross and James Perch flies in to try and get a foot on the ball, but the only thing his boot connects with is the midriff of the Manchester United goalkeeper. Ouch.
All the noise is coming from the away end, unsurprisingly. Manchester United will finish the weekend in second place. Meanwhile, Newcastle have a corner to try and grab something...
A quarter of an hour left at the Sports Direct Arena. Manchester United want a free-kick for a foul on Valencia but it is waved away. The hosts eventually get hold of the ball and press forward.
Yellow Card James Perch
Much debate over that goal. Was it a cross? I'm inclined to say yes, but our resident lip-reading experts saw Cleverley say "I meant it" in the celebrations. The debate rumbles on...
Assist Wayne Rooney
Goal Tom Cleverley
GOAL! Manchester United take what should be an unassailable lead through Tom Cleverley's cross-shot. Is he looking for Van Persie at the far post? Maybe. But the ball flies straight into the top corner over a hapless Steve Harper.
All a bit scrappy in the middle as neither side seems to want to keep the ball, but Cleverly tidies up and Manchester United push forward.
Shola Ameobi goes up for a Cabaye cross, forcing Jonny Evans to concede a corner. Santon challenges for it at the far post, but climbs all over Michael Carrick and the visitors have a free-kick.
Rooney showing real class there, sliding a pass through to Van Persie, who just ran too early and strayed offside. The England international has been on fine form today, though.
More from our man Miles Chambers: "Alan Pardew rings the changes at the Sports Direct Arena as we enter the final 27 minutes of the match: Vurnon Anita replaces Shane Ferguson and Shola Ameobi comes on for the misfiring Papiss Cisse. Will they make a difference, or have Manchester United got a win over Newcastle in the bag already?"
The hosts are trying to take the pressure off now, just moving the ball around patiently. Ben Arfa then finds some space in the middle and fires a 30-yarder towards goal which skips just wide.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side enjoying their best spell of possession since early in the first half. Van Persie is caught offside but Wayne Rooney wins it back in midfield, charges forward and forces a parry from Harper with a low left-footed effort.
A couple of hairy moments for the hosts as Harper shanks a clearance straight to Antonio Valencia but United are forced back and Newcastle are able to slow the play down.
Chance! Danny Welbeck puts pressure on Santon in the box and wins the ball. He then lays back to Tom Cleverly who tries a first-time effort, and it's not a pretty one as the ball flies a long way over the bar.
Fine run from Ben Arfa down the left and he whips in a dangerous cross, but it's half-cleared by the Manchester United defence. The ball comes in from Cabaye on the right this time and Ba gets in front of Rio Ferdinand, but the header flies wide of the post.
Replays aren't exactly conclusive but it looks like De Gea just managed to keep the ball out. Newcastle still have possession though and are looking determined.
How is it not 2-1?! David De Gea has a huge let-off after flapping at a cross and Ba hits the crossbar before Cisse follows up. De Gea scrambles to save with the hosts claiming it crossed the line. The ball then rolls along the line and the defenders sprint to clear it. Dramatic stuff.
Fine play from Evra as he cuts out a pass aimed at Cisse. The full-back continues forward but his cross is wasted with no Manchester United players in the box.
Newcastle settling into some possession early on. Shane Ferguson tries to dart into the box but Rafael holds firm and dispossesses the left-back.
Manchester United get the second half underway. Van Persie is almost immediately put through on goal but the Netherlands international is caught offside.
The players are back out and we're moments away from kick-off in the second half.
As things stand, Manchester United will leapfrog Manchester City into second place on goals scored. Sir Alex Ferguson will be happy how they started the game, bouncing back from last weekend's defeat to Tottenham, but he will be hoping they don't succumb to more Newcastle pressure in the second half.
Newcastle fans may have a reason to feel positive - 88 per cent of their goals this season have come in the second half. Could we see a comeback from the hosts?
HALF-TIME at the Sports Direct Arena and Manchester United lead 2-0. Newcastle were sloppy at the start but enjoyed much more of the ball as the half went on, although they were unable to make any pressure count.
45' + 3'
Manchester United steal it in midfield and move forward quickly. Welbeck links up with Rooney and forces a corner for the visitors. Harper clears unconvincingly before it's worked back to Rooney, who drives a cross with the outside of his right boot straight into the side netting.
45' + 1'
Cabaye floats a lovely free-kick into the area and Cisse glances a header just wide. The Newcastle striker is unhappy though, claiming Patrice Evra tugged his shirt as he made his run.
There will be three minutes of stoppage time in the first half here.
More danger at a corner for Newcastle as it's flicked on at the near post, and a completely unmarked Wayne Rooney is agonisingly close to reaching the ball, but it just evades him and the hosts survive.
Yellow Card Jonas Gutierrez
Oof! Gutierrez flies into Shinji Kagawa at speed and righty picks up a yellow card. The teams won't be winning any fair play awards today...
Some pretty unconvincing defending from the visitors there as they struggle to clear from their own area, and it falls to an acrobatic Patrice Evra to clear the danger. Ba then gets on the end of a Cisse cross but can only direct it over.
The home fans berate the referee after Cisse goes down somewhat theatrically, having already lost control of the ball. Howard Webb isn't interested and Manchester United have a goal kick.
Van Persie nearly sets Jonny Evans away with a lofted pass, but Newcastle gather and push forward, winning a corner. It runs out to Gutierriez, who tries a shot and it takes several deflections before going wide.
After that feisty few minutes the teams get back to the football. Manchester United try to slow things down with some slick passing, and Rooney slides a pass through to Welbeck, who is forced wide and can only drill the ball across the face of goal with no red shirts in sight.
Howard Webb has been rather busy so far this afternoon, and now Cheikh Tiote goes into the book after an Oscar-worthy angry reaction to having a foul given against him. The game really hotting up now as Yohan Cabaye drives a long-range effort just wide.
Yellow Card Cheikh Tiote
And another yellow card for the visitors as Robin van Persie takes out Davide Santon. Cisse goes up in the area from the resulting free-kick, beating De Gea to the ball but he can't direct it on target.
Yellow Card Robin van Persie
Yellow Card Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand tries to stretch a leg around Ba to reach the ball but takes the striker down and earns a booking.
Gutierrez wins a free-kick on the left for the hosts, and Yohan Cabaye whips it in. The Manchester United defence hold firm and clears the danger, but the visitors were pushed deep and Newcastle keep possession. Alan Pardew's side definitely in the ascendency.
A short break in play as Jonny Evans limps off after going down from that corner, but the defender is back on the pitch and Newcastle have the ball.
Chance! Just as I say he's looking frustrated, Ba has a great chance from a corner. It's rolled back to the striker who runs to meet it 12 yards out, but the contact is far from pretty and the ball flies high and wide.
Demba Ba tries to get on the end of a long ball but it runs through to David De Gea. Frustration so far for the Senegal international.
Newcastle look like they're starting to settle and are enjoying a bit more possession. Ben Arfa draws a foul from Kagawa which earns the Manchester United midfielder a yellow card and the hosts have a chance to whip the ball in. but it is wasted and after the initial cross was cleared, a second cross is overhit and the visitors survive.
Yellow Card Shinji Kagawa
Miles Chambers has drawn breath and taken stock of that second goal: "Patrice Evra winning a header from a corner?! Who would have thought it! Mike Williamson - at fault marking-wise for the first goal - once again is to blame as Evra nods in at the front post as Newcastle continue to crumble from set-pieces and Manchester United batter their hosts. 2-0 with 15 minutes gone and this game is quickly slipping away from the Tyneside hosts."
Newcastle have their first chance of the game, at last! Hatem Ben Arfa pops up on the left and works it back to Gutierrez, who drives a low effort from 25 yards which fizzes just wide of the left-hand post.
Assist Wayne Rooney
Goal Patrice Evra
GOAL! Harper saves Rooney's brilliant free-kick down to his right, but from the resulting corner Patrice Evra darts in to head in low from inside the six-yard box. Newcastle in serious danger of being turned over here.
The hosts are really struggling here, and Manchester United mean business. Tom Cleverly is cleaned out on the edge of the area by Tiote and the visitors have a free-kick dead centre, 25 yards out...
Oh dear, Steve Harper. He dithers with the ball and Danny Welbeck puts him under severe pressure to win it off the goalkeeper, but the young striker can't find the target with the goal at his mercy. What a let-off.
Newcastle finally make some inroads into the visitors' half. Wayne Rooney is forced to make a well-timed challenge out wide before the ball is floated to the far post, but Papiss Cisse can't keep it in play and it's a goal kick.
Assist Robin van Persie
Goal Jonny Evans
GOAL! Van Persie's corner is whipped in beautifully, and Jonny Evans makes a darting run to meet the ball and power a header into the top corner. Harper gets a hand to it but it's way too powerful and the visitors take the lead.
The home side are struggling to string more than a couple of passes together, and Manchester United have clearly settled into the game more quickly. Van Persie forces a save from Harper from a tight angle and wins a corner.
Great chance for Danny Welbeck, but the England striker completely scuffs his shot after a superb backheel by Jonny Evans, and it rolls slowly into the arms of Steve Harper. Should have done much better.
Jonas Gutierrez - captain for today - bursts down the left but can't find Demba Ba and is strongly challenged by Rafael. The visitors move quickly up the other end and Shinji Kagawa forces a corner.
It's a pedestrian start here. Patrice Evra fluffs a clearance high into the stands, but the visitors get the ball back and Wayne Rooney wins a free-kick off Cheikh Tiote.
Newcastle get the game underway at a sunny Sports Direct Arena.
The players are out, hands have been shaken, and with some cheesy saxophone music blasting out on the PA we're waiting for the game to get underway any moment.
Miles Chambers thinks it could be a big afternoon for a couple of defenders: "A big game for both left-backs this afternoon for entirely different reasons. Patrice Evra finally has some competition for his spot in the form of Manchester United summer signing Alexander Buttner and - considering he has been out of sorts in every game this season - he has a huge task ahead of him should Hatem Ben Arfa start on the the right for Newcastle. Shane Ferguson, contrastingly, starts at full-back after a solid showing in their 3-0 Europa League win over Bordeaux on Thursday night. The biggest start of his career lies ahead of the Northern Irishman now though; will he stand tall or crumble under pressure from world class attackers such as Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Shinji Kagawa?"
About five minutes to kick-off on Tyneside. Here's hoping we're in for a cracker of a match this afternoon.
Another stat for you: Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse have started 18 games together for Newcastle, scoring 16 goals between them.
We've got a bit more from the great Mr Chambers now: "The sun is out at Sports Direct Arena, which is unexpected considering summer is long gone and winter is coming. Then again, surprises on Tyneside and Manchester United coming to town go hand-in-hand. At the turn of 2012 Alan Pardew guided his underdogs to a thrilling 3-0 victory over the Red Devils in this stadium en route to Newcastle's jaw-dropping fifth-placed finish. Heavy defeats such as that one cost Sir Alex Ferguson's side the title on goal difference to Manchester City, and the Scot cannot underestimate the Magpies again this afternoon."
Meanwhile, Robin van Persie has bagged five goals for his new club so far this season, while Wayne Rooney has yet to hit the scoresheet. He'd undoubtedly like to change that today.
Newcastle won 3-0 in this fixture last season, with Demba Ba causing all sorts of problems for the Manchester United defence. The Senegal striker has six goals this season; can he add to that today?
Miles Chambers is at the Sports Direct Arena this afternoon. Here's his round-up of the changes for both sides: "Sir Alex Ferguson makes three changes to his Manchester United line-up which lost 3-2 at home to Tottenham last weekend. In come Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley for Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nani. Newcastle, buoyed by a run of six games without defeat, make two alterations to the team which drew 2-2 at Reading eight days ago. Out go Gael Bigirimana and injured Steven Taylor and in come Yohan Cabaye and Shane Ferguson."
MANCHESTER UNITED: De Gea; Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra; Rooney Carrick, Cleverley, Kagawa; Van Persie, Welbeck. Subs: Lindegaard, Hernandez, Wooton, Scholes, Anderson, Giggs, Valencia
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Harper; Santon, Williamson, Perch, Ferguson; Ben Arfa, Cabaye, Tiote, Gutierrez; Ba, Cisse. Subs: Alnwick, Simpson, Bigirimana, Anita, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi
Right then, let's have a look at today's teams, shall we?
Good afternoon one and all, I'm Tom McKeown and I'm here to bring you play-by-play coverage of today's mouthwatering Sunday clash between Newcastle United and Manchester United.
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