Date: 27th December 2012 at 1:29am
Written by:

Manchester United 4 Newcastle United 3David : should have done better with Newcastle’s first where, like against Swansea for Michu’s equaliser, he pushed the ball into the on coming player’s path making it easier to score than miss. De Gea is getting the run of games he usually needs to reach his upper levels of performance but errors like that, as he well knows, will see him dropped. 5

Chris Smalling: Operating at right back, Smalling had a pretty solid game. It has been a stop start season for the young defender and he was drafted back into action having dropped out of the team for the Swansea game, so I’ll put it down to rust that he allowed big headed former misfit Gabriel Obertan provide such a test. He should have done better with Newcastle’s third, a goal pretty similar to the one we conceded against Aston Villa. 6

: Whilst people may wonder about his defensive abilities, going forward is still a force. Shorn of his partner in crime today, Evra took decisions in his own hands getting United’s second equliser; a second goal in 2 games. Perhaps he afforded Danny Simpson too much space for Newcastle’s wrongly allowed second, but if he keeps scoring not many will mind that we are leaking goals like a colander. 6.5

: Got another goal against Newcastle but that won’t cover up the fact he was pretty shaky at points today. Was in the thick of the action as United’s back line was put under pressure by Newcastle, unfortunate to have an own goal in his column but beyond that, Newcastle made him and Rio Ferdinand work constantly. 6

Rio Ferdinand: Newcastle’s continued pressure on the elder defender almost yielded rewards as misplaced passes and errors could have proved costly. Underwent a stern test in his battle with Demba Ba but fortunately he was able to stand up to the Senegalese striker. 6

Michael Carrick: Showed off his extensive range of passing today, looking like a Paul Scholes clone as he picked out his team mates for fun. A lofted ball to Van Persie deserved better than post and out for a goal kick, but with a more offence minded Carrick we lose the defensive cover he provides. Beyond the shocking passing mistake for Newcastle’s first, he played a part in another of Newcastle’s goals. But he made up for this with sublime over the top pass to Hernandez who didn’t need to be asked twice to give United the win at the game’s death. 7

Paul Scholes: There were groans when it was revealed that Scholes would be started alongside in midfield and with United looking limp in the first half, people’s fears were proven right. Scholes failed to get to grasps with this game and was replaced in the second, perhaps later than some expected. 5

: Did better than his fellow elder statesman, not surprisingly as he played out wide rather than centrally. In his best performance of the season so far, he made a nuisance of himself. I won’t be buying into Sir Alex’s claims that he can play for a few more years, but as long as he does, more of these performances please! 6.5

Antonio Valencia: Possibly one of this season’s biggest disappointments as he continues to struggle. Has he been ‘found out’? Is the weight of the #7 shirt to heavy for his shoulders to bear? Whatever is bothering the Ecuadorian he needs to sort it out quickly because Newcastle, like many a team this season, had his number, getting tight to stamp out any threat he could have posed. 5

Robin Van Persie: Sir Alex called him a Christmas gift that came early and I agree as his goals continue to push United forward. Needed two bites at the cherry for his effort today, but he can have as many as he likes as long as he continues to find the back of the net. Attacked with purpose as United came to life, and would have hoped to have done better with his effort that hit the post after Carrick dropped the ball delicately on his toes. 7

: Had gone quiet after a hot spell but his late winner puts him right back in people’s thoughts. I will admit I believed he was too limited a player to consistently start/appear for United, but this season he has really added to his game and become more than just a goal scorer. Missed a few decent chances in the second half but when it mattered, the Chicharito we came to love in his debut season appeared and he handed United a 4-3 win. 7


Tom Cleverley: Fans were calling out for his introduction to inject some energy into a lifeless United performance and when he came on he helped do just that, albeit a little later than some expected. It’s fair to say United have played some of their better football this season with Cleverley beside Carrick, so I am all for seeing this pairing together as much as possible. 6.5

Darren Fletcher: N/A