Juan Mata scores twice to help Manchester United run riot at Newcastle
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A trip to St James’ Park is usually full of goals and this visit was no exception. With Wayne Rooney being a major doubt for the trip to Bayern next week and others being rested, it was a much changed team for United. The likes of Ferdinand, Vidic and Carrick were rested with Fletcher, Mata and Hernandez making starts.
The game itself was a dull affair with very little happening until Mata stepped up to bury a free kick shortly before halftime. Just to the right of the penalty ‘D’, Mata stepped up and curled a fabulous shot over the wall and into the top corner of the goal. After the break Uniteds tails were up and a second for Mata took the game away from Newcastle. Further goals from Hernandez and Januzaj made the score more reflective of Uniteds dominance in the box.
Here we pick out the talking points of the match and invite discussion from fans in the comments below.
Mata Pulling The Strings
Due to the absence of Rooney, Juan Mata was operating in the number 10 role and his influence grew as the game progressed. Two beautiful goals and an assist for Januzaj were the highlights of what became the Mata show. As his understanding with his new team mates gets better he is starting to become a bigger influence in the side. Outlets in Januzaj, Hernandez and Kagawa who offered movement and pace allowed gaps to be found and it was fast, one touch breaks that put Newcastle to bed. Kagawa and Mata in particular seem to have an understanding that you want to see in action more. David Moyes needs to give serious consideration to the shape of the side going forward as the difference in influence for Mata when central instead of wide is massive. The big question however is where Rooney and Van Persie fits into that plan, can all three operate together?
Fletcher For Bayern?
The much changed line up emphasized the importance placed on Wednesdays return leg in Munich. After a performance that one Spanish newspaper even failed to award a mark for Fellaini, has Darren Fletcher forced himself into the thinking for a midfield berth? Michael Carrick appears a cert to play but could Fletchers pace and hustle more suitable for the task in stopping Bayern? Rooney is likely to be back and after his excellent performance in the first leg, Danny Welbeck should play also. Fletcher in the middle offers a much more mobile threat in defence and attack than Fellaini appears to provide.
Fletcher was solid against Newcastle without needing to be spectacular which is just the type of performance required next week. He may not be able to appear each week but under Sir Alex he was the man for the big game and they don’t come bigger than the Champions League holders.
Evra Or Buttner?
This time last week the debate would have been extremely one sided, Evra all the way. After his impressive efforts midweek though in place of suspended Evra, Buttner has made himself a serious option for the return in Germany. Evra was beaten on several occasions against Newcastle and Buttner again looked confident when he replaced him during the second half. Evra has bags of experience of high pressure matches but as time is catching up on him does he have enough to keep Robben at bay for 90 minutes? Buttner may be over enthusiastic at times but has the pace to recover in time. The 1st leg against Bayern seemed to give Buttner the belief that he deserves to be playing where he is.
It’ll be a big call for Moyes next week which man gets the nod.
In a season of very few performances we have been able to enjoy, this was a game where we may have got a glimpse of the future for United. Moyes may have stumbled across this plan due to injuries however it seems difficult to see how he could change a formula that looks to be working. Newcastle were poor and that needs to be remembered but good performances from Hernandez, Mata, Kagawa and Fletcher are signs of hopefully starting to find some form. The big question long term is if Moyes persists with this style of play and if so where players like Rooney and RVP fit in it.
We couldn’t have wished for a better result and more straight forward win going to Munich next week.
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