A sequence of results lasting 41 years came to an end yesterday as Newcastle United finally managed to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford.
It was Yohan Cabaye who struck the fatal blow to a Manchester United side that has lost its way since the departure of Alex Ferguson, but it should also be noted that a superb team performance was the main reason we came away victorious.
In truth it wasn’t a great match but there was a clear plan to stifle and disrupt anything that Manchester United tried to. And it worked as the home side rarely threatened in the first-half aside from one shot which Tim Krul saved easily and a couple of efforts from Tom Cleverley and Adnan Januzaj which were blocked by both Mike Williamson and Fabricio Coloccini.
At the other end it’s fair to say that Newcastle didn’t really present much a goal threat themselves with Yohan Cabaye wasting a couple of long-range efforts and Loic Remy heading a difficult header wide at the near post. The plan was working though as both sides headed into the interval level at 0-0.
Half-time: Manchester United 0-0 Newcastle United
The home side started off the second-half brightly and looked as though were about to make Newcastle pay, but amazingly they didn’t and the closest they went to taking the lead was through Patrice Evra who headed against the post which hit Vurnon Anita’s arm before being cleared. No penalty. The right call.
Hatem Ben Arfa was introduced just before the hour mark which suggested that Newcastle could see more than a point on offer having weather a mild attacking storm from David Moyes’ side. And although had had nothing to do with the goal, it was not long after the introduction of Ben Arfa that Newcastle took the lead as Tim Krul played a long ball forward to Moussa Sissoko who strode forward and squared the ball for Yohan Cabaye who stroked the ball into the far corner of David De Gea’s net to send the away fans into a state of delirium.
You might have expect an onslaught from Manchester United then but it didn’t come. Robin Van Persie had thought he’d equalised but his goal was correctly chalked off by Sian Massey who called offside. Adnan Januzaj fired straight at Tim Krul and Wifried Zaha curled an effort wide but other than that it was all pretty comfortable for Newcastle who in the end saw the game out with ease.
Full-time: Manchester United 0-1 Newcastle United
A lot will be made about Manchester United being in “crisis” and all that malarkey, but that doesn’t give credit to Newcastle. Alan Pardew said post-match that Newcastle controlled the game and to be honest I agree with that. Too often it is suggested that we win because the other side were poor and that might be true to an extent, but we didn’t let them build up any rhythm and got at them from the start.
It feels strange writing about this, but this a 41 year hoodoo that has now been lifted and makes up for the mess at Swansea in midweek. This group of players are now on the same page of history as the likes of Stewart Barraclough and John Tudor who scored the last time we managed to win at Old Trafford back in 1972.
Howay the lads!
P.S. As a special treat…
Manchester United: David De Gea; Rafael, Jonny Evans, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra; Nani, Phil Jones, Tom Cleverley, Adnan Januzaj; Javier Hernandez, Robin van Persie
Subs: Anders Lindegaard, Rio Ferdinand, Anderson, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Wilfried Zaha, Danny Welbeck
Newcastle United: Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon; Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote, Vurnon Anita; Moussa Sissoko, Loic Remy, Yoan Gouffran
Subs: Rob Elliot, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Gabriel Obertan, Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa, Shola Ameobi, Papiss Cisse