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Mata’s double delight.

Liverpool 1 Manchester United 2

Forget the El Clasico over in Spain this is the big one.The two bitterest rivals in the English game faced off against each other at Anfield on the same day as Real Madrid played Barcelona.

Separated by only two points in the race for an all important top four finish this was by far the biggest match of the season so far for both sides.

The last time Liverpool tasted defeat in the Premier League was at the hands of United back in December. Then the hero of the day was David de Gea as he protected United’s three-goal lead with a string of saves that cemented his hero status among the fans.

After the brilliant display against Spurs at Old Trafford last week the question on the fan’s minds was whether or not Louis van Gaal would stick with the 4-3-3 system that worked so well and keep Juan Mata in the side even though Angel Di Maria was available after his suspension.

All was revealed when the starting line-up was announced: De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Blind, Carrick, Herrera, Mata, Fellaini, Young, and Rooney.

So Louis van Gaal entrusted the same starting side that demolished Spurs in the finest 45 minutes of the season so far. Which meant no immediate return to the team for Angel Di Maria who started on the bench alongside Falcao. Also, Blind was preferred at left back again in place of the returning Rojo following the Dutchman’s sterling display last weekend.

Subs: Da Silva, Rojo, Di Maria, Falcao, Januzaj, Valdes, Pereira.

United, in their white strip, started the match on the attack and in the first minute won their first corner. Mata’s delivery caused confusion as the keeper flapped at it.

It was a bright start from the away side as they sought an early advantage to quieten down the home support.

Fellaini started the match in a fiery mood nipping at the heels of the Liverpool players to great effect. In the second minute, the Belgian won the ball well and fed Rooney but he chose to come inside when the two United players behind him on the flank would have been the better option.

A minute later David de Gea was called into action as he saved at the feet of Sterling as he ran into the area unchecked by the defence.

In the seventh minute Juan Mata won the first free-kick in a dangerous position and took it himself, however, it was easily cleared. The upside was that it was far better to see the midfield players stepping up to take the free-kicks and, therefore, allow Rooney to get in the box where he can do the most damage.

10 minutes in and United were in confident mood passing the ball around well and not giving the opposition time to settle which made the natives more restless than usual.

Mata had started the match in fine form and was unlucky not to get on the end of a Fellaini header after eleven minutes. But a couple of minutes later Mata was rewarded for his endeavour by scoring a goal of pure class.

It happened in the 13th minute following approach play by Fellaini who fed an inside pass to Herrera who in turn saw the run of his compatriot and slipped the ball perfectly through to Mata who finished comfortably with a right-footed shot across Mignolet and into the far side of the net. What a strike and a great start for United and fully deserved.

Great to see manager and assistant celebrating the goal together with van Gaal fist pumping then jokingly slapping Giggs in delight.

Over the next few minutes, Rooney was unlucky to be caught offside a couple of times as the visitors tried to capitalise on their possession and score the vital second goal.

It wasn’t until the 16th minute that Liverpool had their first strike when Sturridge fired harmlessly wide.

Herrera had been targeted by the Liverpool players for the roughest treatment and after twenty minutes Joe Allen picked up a yellow card after fouling the United playmaker.

Another free-kick by Mata was chipped in for Fellaini’s head but again it was easily cleared by the defenders. Fellaini was proving to be a handful for the defenders as he had been in recent matches so much so he was keeping Falcao on the bench even in the absence of Robin van Persie.

There was a break in action on 20 minutes after Phil Jones clattered into the back of Lallana and knocked him unceremoniously to the ground.

Just before the half hour mark there was a great play from Blind down the left as he almost played in Herrera for a chance on goal instead he won a corner.

In the first 30 minutes, it had been all United as the home side struggled to get hold of the ball and create any chances. The biggest cheer from the home fans was when their captain Gerrard warmed up along the touchline.

Liverpool wasted a great opportunity in the 34 minute when Lallana blasted wide from 18 yards when in truth he should have done better. A warning to the United defence that the one goal lead was a slender one.

United tried to conjure up a second when Mata and Blind linked up but to no great effect.

Three minutes before half-time there should have been a penalty awarded to Manchester United as following a corner Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet appeared to rather stupidly push over Herrara, but the match officials obviously didn’t see it.

At this point, United was so much on top that even Chris Smalling tried his luck with a long run into the opposing box but lacked the quality pass needed. 8/10 for effort.

On the stroke of half-time, Carrick let fly from distance with a fierce drive which the keeper could only parry clear.

Half-time and it was all United as they continued on from the Spurs win with the same momentum and were in total control and passing the ball around well. Herrera and Mata were the stand-out performers as they never stopped running and looked for an opening at every opportunity.

At the start of the second half there were no changes to the United line-up but Liverpool made a substitution by bringing their inspirational skipper Gerrard into the play and the first thing he did was to lunge into a tackle then stamp on Herrera’s leg as he was on the ground.

A straight red for Gerrard and not such an inspiration, after all. It really was an awful challenge that no one can excuse and Herrera was fortunate to get up and play on. Quite why Herrera received a yellow card for nearly having his leg broken is beyond belief.

It couldn’t have been any better for United to play against ten men for forty minutes but as is the same with all teams reduced to ten men Liverpool finally started to play, thankfully without applying any real pressure on David de Gea’s goal.

The main objective for United was to keep their cool in a red hot atmosphere created by the Gerrard red card. The atmosphere was hostile towards the Red Devils, to say the least.

In the 53rd minute, Coutinho tried to catch de Gea unawares with a long range effort that just went over the bar. United needed to hammer home their advantage and quickly.

One minute later Louis van Gaal decided to bring on a fresh pair of legs with Di Maria replacing Young who had had a fairly quiet match up to that point.

Phil Jones was booked for a clumsy challenge on Henderson of which he could have had no complaints.

Then it happened a moment of pure genius by the player of the match. In the 59th minute, Di Maria picked out Juan Mata in the box with a superb chip and the diminutive Spaniard scored a goal with a scissor kick of the highest quality with his left foot.

2-0 ahead and not only game over but goal of the season decided as the way he executed the goal was spectacular.

On the hour mark, Di Maria broke at pace and unselfishly squared the ball into the box aimed for Rooney but the ball was agonisingly behind the England forward.

Mario Balotelli entered the fray and was immediately booked for a foul on Jones. This was the home side’s game plan to rattle the United players with over aggressive play.

On 68 minutes, Sturridge managed to pull a goal back for the home side after Carrick had uncharacteristically given the ball away. With twenty minutes left all United had to do was hold on while being abused on and off the pitch.

A free-kick from Di Maria was punched clear to Carrick who then played the ball back into the danger area where Rooney clashed with Henderson, Skrtel and Mignolet but escaped unharmed and thankfully caution free.

Di Maria was guilty of giving the ball away in a dangerous area but thankfully no harm was done in the end but all the same it could have been worse as United only had the one goal lead.

United was struggling to make their extra man advantage count since the Liverpool goal and needed to defend resolutely while at the same time regaining their composure.

In the last ten minutes, you felt that United needed to grab another goal as Liverpool were starting to create chances and, after all, their hard work would be wasted especially against ten men.

In the 82nd minute, Falcao came on for the hard working Herrera which meant Rooney took Herrera’s place in midfield for the last five or so minutes.

The Liverpool keeper Mignolet lost the plot around the edge of his area by nearly gifting United a free strike at goal, but he somehow got away with it.

Rooney conceded a free-kick in a dangerous area which was cleared by Fellaini and United countered with Falcao down the left but his cross missed everyone.

90 minutes on the clock and Di Maria infuriated his team mates by giving away the ball far too easily when possession was the requirement.

Into added time and United eventually started to keep hold of the ball and all that passing paid off when Blind burst into the area and was upended for a penalty by Emre Can.

Rooney strode up and placed the ball towards the corner, but Mignolet managed to save at full stretch. Surely it wouldn’t matter as the game had entered it’s last seconds.

While everyone concentrated on the penalty Rojo replaced Blind.

Skrtel had the last word as he stamped on de Gea and should have seen red for that terrible challenge but like so many of his colleagues got away with it.

As de Gea writhed in agony the referee blew for full-time. 2-1 to United.

There is no better place for United to win than at Anfield and with the three points they have put some breathing space between themselves and Liverpool and move closer to Arsenal and City.

An absolutely brilliant win for United and fully deserved as they were in complete control for the whole match. Many will say that Gerrard’s dismissal changed the outcome of the match, but it had the opposite effect as Liverpool played better when reduced to ten men.

You can’t take anything away from the way United approached the match. From the start, they were on the attack and full of purpose a trait rarely seen this season. If only they had turned on the same style earlier in the season.

All the players put in a great team effort, but there are two players who deserve the extra plaudits and they are the Spanish duo of man of the match Juan Mata and Ander Herrera. After being left on the bench many times over this season, they proved their class and warranted the starting place given to them by the manager.

With Carrick in support, they totally overpowered Liverpool and didn’t allow the home team to get hold of the ball.

There will be no match next weekend due to the upcoming round of internationals which is a shame as the break could disturb the momentum that United have built-up. However, on a positive note it will give Robin van Persie the valuable time needed to recover from his injury as his goal scoring feats will be needed for the run in.

As always thanks for reading.

Miles Dunton | Facebook Twitter

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United deliver Spurs a ‘knockout punch’.

Manchester United 3 Tottenham Hotspur 0

Louis van Gaal was unhappy with Rooney getting knocked out in a friendly boxing bout but was pleased that his team delivered an uppercut to Spurs.

Following the bitter disappointment of defeat in the FA Cup at the hands of Arsenal it was the turn of their North London neighbours to visit Old Trafford in an attempt to pour more misery over United.

There was a time when a victory over Tottenham was about as sure a thing as you could imagine for United. Not so anymore as prior to this match, they were without a win in five against the Londoners.

This match was the first of the last ten matches that will define United’s season and form for a run of wins needed to obtain that all important top four finish. Therefore guaranteeing a place in the Champions League.

Still without the injured striker Robin van Persie and with Angel Di Maria serving his ban for grabbing the ref’s shirt in the last match, Louis van Gaal chose a first team consisting of De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Blind, Carrick, Herrera, Mata, Fellaini, Young and Rooney. The substitutes were Lindegaard, Rafael, Blackett, A Pereira, Januzaj, Falcao and Wilson.

There were three changes for United, as Jones, Carrick and Mata come in for Shaw, Rojo and Di Maria. Juan Mata made his first start in the Premier League for Man United since January 17th.

Manchester United was led out by captain Wayne Rooney and his young son Kai as the matchday mascot.

United started the match in a 4-3-3 formation with Rooney in his favoured position up front with Fellaini just behind. Young and Mata were out wide with Carrick and Herrera in the middle and a flat back four with Blind at left back.

United’s first chance on goal came after a minute as Ashley Young tried his luck from outside the box which the keeper collected easily.

With only two minutes of play elapsed Phil Jones delivered that dreaded back pass again and almost put de Gea in trouble but thankfully the keeper managed to clear for a corner. When will they ever learn?

In the seventh minute, Rooney burst into the area chasing a great through ball from Young and pulled the ball back aiming for Herrera who just couldn’t get there ahead of the Spurs defender.

Then a minute later came the crucial early goal and what a goal. Carrick played a brilliant through ball for Fellaini who took it in his stride and confidently smashed it past keeper Lloris. A fantastic start by United with a sublime pass by Carrick add that together with the Belgian’s left-footed finish meant that this was the perfect start for the Red Devils.

In fact, it had been a high tempo start from all the team with the fans also in full voice.

This had been by far the best start by United in a game for a long time with the team attacking full of confidence and their passing was spot on. Again Young was impressive down the left and Carrick in tandem with Herrera controlled everything in the middle.

 

The second goal came in the 18th minute as a corner was swept over by Mata and was headed back into the danger area by Fellaini when it was cleared straight to Carrick who intelligently lobbed a header over all the defenders and back across goal into the far side of the net. Leading 2-0 and playing with a determination rarely seen recently this was like the United of old.

Carrick’s goal was similar if not as crucial to the important header by Steve Bruce against Sheffield Wednesday all those years ago as United headed for their first Premier League title.

On 22 minutes, Young’s run almost produced a killer pass into the penalty area but no-one was there to take advantage of his great ball. At this time, it was one-way traffic as Spurs had not even managed a shot on target.

Four minutes later a great cross from Fellaini across the area almost played in Mata but he was just unable to get to it in time. Then the stadium shouted for a penalty for a foul on Mata but unfortunately he had been flagged offside.

Chris Smalling tried to bring the ball forward and it looked like he could go all the way to the opposition box but in the end his final pass was too strong for Rooney.

Mata was the only booking of the match for United after he was cautioned for a foul on 32 minutes. That the only blight on a terrific performance by the home side.

The third goal came in the 33rd minute as Rooney collected a poor pass from Spurs and took on the defenders by himself and once in the box there was no doubt about the outcome as he slotted the ball into the corner of the net. A great individual goal by a forward totally on top of his game. And what can we say about the celebration, ‘knockout’.

36 minutes in and again it was Fellaini who caused mayhem down the left as he whipped the ball in for Rooney who scuffed it slightly. That was almost the fourth goal and great link up play between Fellaini and his captain.

On the stroke of half-time, there was still time for Rooney to try his luck from distance but he fired wide. Good job he missed as I doubt he could better his goal celebration.

This was by far the best 45 minutes played by United all season a half full of inventive play and confidence with all the team on top of their game, especially Rooney and Fellaini.

It’s truly refreshing to write positively about the side after their recent disappointments. The hope was that they could continue in the same vain in the second-half. With the type of start made by United, the biggest question was where had this team been hiding all season. Spurs had had no shots on goal that’s how impressive United had been.

United started the second half attacking the Stretford End with no changes made by van Gaal.
In the 47th minute Spurs had their first clear attempt on goal by Dembele which was high over the bar.

Rooney was on fire and once again in the 48th minute he tried to nod one down for Fellaini, but the ball deflected back into his path at the edge of the area. He couldn’t quite wrap his foot around it and strikes it over. As I have said before if only he had been used up front more often in the season who knows where we would have ended up.

United continued with their tidy passing play from the first half and Spurs hardly got a sniff of the ball and when they did United quickly snuffed it out.

In the 51st minute, Rooney tried yet again to lay off a chance to a colleague this time for Blind but the Dutchman dithered a little and the chance was blocked.

Mason should have done better for Spurs a minute later but pulled his shot well wide of de Gea’s goal. In all honesty Spurs never looked like scoring or even troubling David de Gea.

Over the next ten minutes United enjoyed a period of passing practice as they fully controlled the game none more so than in the middle of the park with the trio of Carrick, Herrera and Mata impressing.

On the hour mark, Blind almost played Herrera in on goal with a slide rule pass which was unfortunate not to come off.

Another blistering run by Young down the left wing earned United a corner which came to nothing however, credit to Young as he has shown in recent matches the old magic has returned and he looks like a player who is really enjoying his football.

64 minutes and the crowd witnessed a wonderful cross-field pinpoint pass by Rooney straight to Fellaini that started a move which ended with Herrera firing his shot into the side netting. Another move of precision by the Reds which was a joy to watch.

With fifteen minutes left on the clock United had the ball in the back of the net but the flag was up well before Rooney had tucked it away as Herrera was flagged offside, perhaps wrongly, after a long ball over the top. Shortly after the Spaniard had an effort from distance which flew wide.

After 76 minutes, there was a fully deserved standing ovation for Juan Mata as he left the pitch to be replaced by youngster Pereira. It was fantastic to see the reception given to Mata as he made his way down the touchline and towards the tunnel he really is a fan favourite and he put in a performance that merited the applause. Here’s hoping that he doesn’t have an injury problem.

The second change came in the 82nd minute when Fellaini was taken off and Falcao was given another opportunity. Fellaini, another player who had played his socks off and opened the scoring with aplomb received the second biggest round of applause of the day.

In the 84th minute captain fantastic Rooney was back clearing the defensive lines as Spurs tried to salvage something from the match.

Van Gaal’s third and final change of the match was in the final minutes which saw Rafael come on for the impressive Carrick who had fully earned his early rest.

As the match reached it’s climax Harry Kane almost squeezed the ball into the net but David de Gea made an improvised save by sitting on the ball, not his greatest save, but it kept a valuable clean sheet.

Disappointing there were no goals in the second half, but that doesn’t take anything away from the great performance by the team with no goals conceded and a huge morale-boosting three points ahead of some tricky matches ahead.

Spurs were really poor in the match but in all fairness they couldn’t have expected United to play as well as they did today and I think they were as surprised as anyone by the way the home side came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders. It would seem that the players have an appetite for achievement this season, after all.

Nine to go and if the Red Devils can keep up the momentum from this match then not only a top four but dare I say a top three finish to the season is a definite possibility. But first there is the small matter of a trip to Anfield to take on our bitter rivals Liverpool.

A repeat of today’s performance would be invaluable to the team’s confidence for the run in and I fully expect a victory especially with Rooney in his current mood.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

Miles Dunton | Facebook Twitter

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Better late than never for United.

Newcastle United 0 Manchester United 1

In the build up to this match, Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal described the battle to finish in the top four and gain a Champions League place as a ‘Rat Race’. I would rather call it a ‘Cat Fight’ as there are five teams fighting over the milk but only two of them will get the cream.

With only 10 matches to go following this round of weeknight matches only United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs and Southampton have a realistic chance of grabbing the last two prestigious places at the top of the European table. Which teams will end up eating with the elite remains to be seen but a failure to qualify would be seen as a disaster.

United traveled to St James’ Park knowing only a win would suffice as the other teams around them were starting to pick up momentum and points.

The only absentees were Robin van Persie and Luke Shaw but it still meant the manager had the advantage of picking from a strong squad of players and this was his starting XI: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Evans, Rojo, Blind, Herrera, Di Maria, Fellaini, Young & Rooney. Subs: Lindegaard, Jones, McNair, Carrick, Mata, Januzaj & Falcao.

Van Gaal made only one change to the side that had started against Sunderland at the weekend and that meant Fellaini was in and Falcao demoted to the bench. Angel Di Maria kept his place even though he has been out of sorts in recent displays and Juan Mata was once again named as a substitute.

Within a minute of the start the Reds broke forward through captain Rooney and with three against two he played the ball through to the speedy Di Maria but his first touch let him down and the move quickly broke down. A good start from United but I wonder if a more confident Di Maria wouldn’t have wasted such a good opportunity in front of goal.

After a quality display against Sunderland Ashley Young took his time finding his feet on the left and gave the ball away a couple of times in the early stages of the match.

Sunderland won the first corner after five minutes when Di Maria lost the ball in attack far too easily this was quickly followed by another wayward cross-field pass from the Argentinian which almost set Newcastle on their way but they wasted their chance.

The home side had a good shout for a penalty after a coming together between Smalling and Riviere but referee Taylor waved play on. A big let off for Smalling who would have been in serious trouble if the decision had gone against him.

In the opening fifteen minutes, former United player Obertan was seeing plenty of the ball, probably far more of it than he saw when he was at Old Trafford.

In the 14th minute, Herrera sliced an effort wide after Rooney had held the ball up well in the penalty area. At this point in the match, United were pressing and a through ball over the top from Daley Blind almost found Rooney on the end of it but keeper Krul managed to get to there first.

Talking of Blind I’ve been impressed with his work rate this season and even though he was guilty of some early errors you can’t fault his willingness to get stuck in.

United’s first corner didn’t come until the 21st minute and was taken by Young from the right which Fellaini rose high to get to but couldn’t achieve any direction or power on it.

Shortly after there was some good combination play on the right wing between Di Maria and Valencia to get the ball across but it was too high even for Fellaini.

Rooney had a great chance to put United ahead as the Magpie defence stood still waiting for an offside flag which didn’t come and the forward collected the ball from Young’s touch, span and just put his effort out for a goal kick. A great chance missed but at least the Reds were making the effort.

On the half hour after a mistake by Newcastle Di Maria nicked the ball of the left back and then played it into Rooney who couldn’t quite get it under control before Krul gathered. Another chance went begging and it looked like being one of those nights.

In the first 30 minutes United were totally in control and Rooney and Di Maria were the liveliest players on the pitch and their efforts had been unfortunate not to have earned a goal.

In all honesty, the home side were rather dull and lacked any ambition or ideas which made it easier for United. They did manage a shot in the 35th minute which forward Cisse blasted well wide of David de Gea’s goal.

Five minutes before half-time Young whipped over one of his trademark right-footed crosses which Di Maria sent back over from the right but no-one was there to get on the end of it.

Then Johnny Evans and Cisses had a spat, literally, in the center circle which they continued for the next few minutes, on closer inspection they both had a kick at each other after the ball had gone and were both fortunate not to receive yellow cards or worse after they were seen exchanging bodily fluids.

A great cross from Valencia in the 43rd minute saw Fellaini rise the highest to power a header goal-wards which Krul palmed out into the box where Herrera was waiting to pounce, but the ball sailed over his head.

With a minute of normal time left de Gea got a hand to the ball as Riviere bore down on his goal. In fairness, the striker did start to tumble to the ground as de Gea approached but that takes nothing away from the keepers’ bravery diving at the feet of a couple of players. Another area of de Gea’s game that he has vastly improved on.

Half-time and all square at 0-0. United had played better than in recent matches and had managed a total of five shots but due to a combination of poor finishing and the keeper Krul they had failed to capitalise on their superiority. They had also survived a strong penalty claim from Newcastle.

No changes were made by van Gaal at the beginning of the second half as United started brightly and after two minutes Marcos Rojo tried his luck from distance only to see his effort just go over the bar.

On 49 minutes Newcastle created their best chance as a ball over the top beat the offside trap but de Gea came to United’s rescue yet again as he spread himself to save a header from Riviere at the far post. This was followed by a corner that was cleared from the danger area by Smalling. Not for the first time this season United were living dangerously and were saved by the outstanding de Gea.

Then by far United’s best chance of the game came at the other end when two efforts were missed by the Reds in the same move. First Fellaini chested down and had his volley saved then Young failed to score from the rebound.

Rooney did manage to put the ball in the net in the 56th minute this time he was adjudged to be offside but on closer inspection it was a very close call.

Chance after chance came and went and it seemed all United needed was someone with a calm head to convert one of them.

On 58 minutes, Adnan Januzaj joined the action in place of a very unhappy Di Maria who could easily be seen mouthing his displeasure under his breath. To be fair, he had played well, certainly better than against Sunderland.

United received their first caution in the 59th minute when Rojo was booked for upending Obertan.

After an hours play, it was proving to be a frustrating evening for United as too many attacks came to a halt for offside decisions or all they couldn’t convert possession into clear-cut chances.

Januzaj tried to stretch his legs down the right but was scythed down by Gutierrez who earned himself a yellow card.

67 minutes into the match and Cisse squandered another great chance for Newcastle as they counter attacked, but he pulled his effort well wide when he should have done a lot better. United let the home side create too many chances and needed to re-stamp their authority on the game and get the goal which would keep the noisy natives quiet and surely win the match.

After 74 minutes, Rooney did well to get up above the defenders to meet another cross by Ashley Young that almost deceived Krul but he managed to scramble it clear. That was a decent effort by Rooney who was looking like the only United player able to break the deadlock.

Jonny Evans tried to bring some surprise into the attack by showing some initiative and rushed forward with the ball unchallenged right up to the opposition box, but nothing came from his hard work. At least he tried I suppose.

Januzaj didn’t create many chances from the right and I began to wonder if Di Maria was right to moan about his earlier substitution.

In the 80th minute van Gaal brought on Mata for Fellaini who had been industrious and had a couple of chances but a change in United’s tactics was needed plus a fresh pair of legs for the last ten minutes.

Valencia became the second United player to be booked after being played into trouble by Januzaj.

United’s last throw of the dice came with less than two minutes on the clock when Michael Carrick made a welcome return after injury by replacing Rojo.

Then in the last minute the winner came to send United fans all over the world into a frenzy. After great work from Rooney who chased a lost cause in the penalty area to cause confusion in the home defence, which in turn made Krul miskick the ball straight into the path of Ashley Young who calmly slotted the ball over the line to the obvious relieve of van Gaal who sprang out of his seat and punched the air in delight.

There in Young we at last saw the steady head needed to win the match. That was Ashley Young’s first goal since his effort against Cardiff City in January 2014  and didn’t he choose the right time to come up with the winner and he deserves the accolades as he has been exceptional this season.

Of course, United kept us on the edge of our seats by almost conceding an equaliser from the restart but that man de Gea was there again to save United with a great stop at his near post.

Even though Young scored the winner there is no doubt who won the match with his pressing of the defence in the build-up to the goal, captain Rooney. His persistence in chasing the ball created the winning goal out of absolutely nothing. It was a good lesson in never giving up a lost cause especially when you consider he didn’t even touch the ball he just kept biting away at the defenders until they made the all important error.

Keeper David de Gea proved yet again that he has been the most outstanding player this season and the hope that his new contract will be signed very soon is as high as ever.

In the end it was a massive result for United who deserved the points although Newcastle had their chances the only worry was that it would end all square but thankfully that wasn’t the case and United came away with the three very valuable points after other teams around them had also all won.

Next week, it’s the return of the FA Cup and the much-anticipated match against Arsenal at Old Trafford in the quarter-finals. In the past, this tie has produced some humdingers over the years and I expect the same type of clash next Monday. However, being the cautious type I will take a drab 1-0 win for United and safe passage into the semi’s, but as you and I know that is just not going to happen with United, so be ready for a clash that will have our bum’s twitching and nerves jangling right until the end.

Thanks again for reading.

Miles Dunton.

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