United overcame a tough Newcastle side in the newly-named Capital One Cup last night, with the goals coming from the unlikely sources Tom Cleverley and Anderson. Darren Fletcher captained the side in his first full 90 minutes since his return to the first team fold, Wayne Rooney also returned to first team action in a Man of the Match performance.
United fielded an inexperienced back four which included debuts for Marnick Vermijl, Scott Wootton and Michael Keane. All three of them were solid defensively and the experience would’ve done them the world of good, Michael Keane proved to be the standout performer of the three, and he certainly has a bright future ahead of him.
Manchester United: De Gea; Vermijl, Wootton, Keane, Buttner; Fletcher, Anderson, Cleverley; Welbeck, Rooney Hernandez
Subs: Johnstone, Evans, Powell, Lingard, Brady, King, Tunnicliffe
Newcastle United: Elliot; Perch, Williamson, Coloccini, Tavernier; Obertan, Tiote, Gosling, Marveaux; Ameobi
Subs: Harper, Anita, Cisse, Amalfitano, Bigrimana, Sa. Ameobi, Ferguson
Both sides named a strong side for this one, and they certainly provided an entertaining game for the 46,000-strong Old Trafford crowd, with both sides showing their attacking intent from the off. Newcastle boss Pardew admitted in the pre-match interview that his side would look to exploit the young back four from set-pieces, and they certainly tried to impose their physical presence from the off, and to be fair to the young defenders, they did an excellent job throughout.
United’s passing game was excellent for the majority of the game, the 4-3-3 formation we played gave a lot of freedom to the front three of Welbeck, Hernandez and Rooney, and they linked up play excellently creating some decent chances early on. The first clear cut chance fell to Tom Cleverley, some excellent interplay put him clean through on goal, but the England international bent his shot just wide of the keeper’s right hand post.
Then came the first goal of the game just before half time, Anderson showed great strength to hold off his marker, and he cracked a left-footed drive in off the post from 25-yards out to give the home side the lead as they went into the interval.
Newcastle certainly improved in the second half, our back four were put under some considerable pressure, but United were still a threat on the offensive, the second goal came just before the hour mark and Tom Cleverley made up for his earlier miss with a cool side-footed finish past Rob Elliot in the Newcastle goal, you could see the relief in Tom’s celebration, it was his first United goal and you could see how much it meant to the 23-year old.
Alan Pardew then made a double substitution. He called on Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse and young winger Shane Ferguson. After just 60 seconds on the field they made an instant impact, Ferguson beat Vermijl too easily and delivered a delicious cross across the face of the goal, leaving an unmissable header for Papiss Cisse to pull Newcastle back into the game.
Cisse had the chance to double his tally shortly after, he was surrounded in a crowded penalty area but after some brilliant improvisation he fashioned himself the chance of an overhead kick, which fortunately for United cannoned back off the crossbar.
Sir Alex then handed debut’s to two more young reds. Robbie Brady, who recently earned his first international cap for Ireland, and Ryan Tunnicliffe, who’s proud father placed a bet when Ryan was just nine years old claiming that his son
would one day play for Manchester United, he placed £100 with odds of 100-1, earning him a nice £10,000!
The final whistle was approaching quickly, but the home side made themselves one more chance after more excellent buildup, Javier Hernandez was played through just to the left of the goal, and he somehow managed to drive a shot on target past the oncoming Rob Elliot only to be denied by the crossbar himself.
Man of the Match
Wayne Rooney: Upon his return to the first-team fold, Wayne pulled the strings in this one, he controlled the tempo of the game excellently throughout. As expected he tired towards the end but he still put in a superb shift for the team last night.