Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League

Newcastle United 0-4 Manchester United: Mata’s double inspires Red Devils (video)

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Manchester United easily dispatched Newcastle 4-0 on Saturday at St. James’ Park, as Juan Mata bagged a double to compound the Magpies miserable run of three-straight defeats without scoring.

Mata put United ahead in the first half with a sumptuous free kick, then the Spaniard scored his and United’s second after a wonderful flowing move after the break. The superb Shinji Kagawa then set up Javier Hernandez for the third and Mata sublimely played in Adnan Januzaj for their fourth, as United prepared for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal against Bayern Munich on Wednesday in style.

David Moyes rested David De Gea and Nemanja Vidic amongst others, and his side dazzled against a despondent and downbeat Newcastle outfit.

With the win Man United have moved into the top six but have played a game more than Tottenham below them. Newcastle stay in ninth after another disappointing display.

(MORE: David Moyes hails Man United, looks ahead to Bayern Munich clash)

In the 11th minute Marouane Fellaini took the ball down in the box after a corner and smashed a shot goalwards, but a foul was given just before Phil Jones smashed the ball into the back of the net. No goal.

source: Getty Images
Moyes’ side turned on the class against Newcastle.

Manchester United started the brighter of the two teams, as their much changed lineup looked to impress their manager before the big Champions League clash against Bayern Munich. With that game in mind, Ashley Young suffered what looked like a dislocated finger early on and Adnan Januzaj replaced the English winger in the opening stages.

Newcastle’s first chance of the game came courtesy of Papis Demba Cisse’s acrobatic overhead kick, which Anders Lindegaard saved comfortably but the home fans inside St. James’ were buoyed by their home sides intent. Soon after Newcastle were almost ahead, as Cisse’s flashing header was wonderfully tipped over by Lindegaard as the duo continued their personal duel.

(MORE: Latest Premier League standings)

But Man United went ahead before the break, as Dan Gosling brought down Darren Fletcher on the edge of the box and gave away free kick. From that set piece Mata stepped up to curl home a fantastic effort up and over the wall and into the top corner to put Man United ahead., as the Spaniard scored for the second-straight PL game. Just before the break the visitors almost went 2-0 up, as Shinji Kagawa played in Javier Hernandez who ran clean through of Newcastle’s defense but his shot was tipped onto the post by Rob Elliott.

After the break United doubled their lead, as Mata slotted him his second goal of the game. Kagawa played in Hernandez who unselfishly teed up Mata, who shifted the ball superbly onto his right foot as Coloccini dove in, before slotting the ball into the net to put the Red Devils 2-0 ahead.

In the 64th minute it was 3-0 as Chicharito finished off another incisive move from the Red Devils. Kagawa was again the architect, as he played the ball across goal to the Mexican striker who steered the ball home from close range to extend United’s lead.

The rest of the game petered out with Newcastle trying to score, but Lindegaard kept them at bay. Januzaj then put some gloss on the scoreline, as the young winger played a fabulous one-two with Mata, who back-heeled the ball into his path and Januzaj hammered the final nail into Newcastle’s coffin.


Newcastle United: Elliot; Santon, Williamson, Coloccini, Haidara; Anita, Gosling, Tiote, Gouffran (Ameobi, 85′); de Jong (Ben Arfa, 61′), Cissé

Manchester United: Lindegaard; Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Evra (Buttner, 64′); Young (Januzaj, 17′), Mata, Fletcher, Fellaini (Nani, 70′), Kagawa; Chicharito.

Goals: Mata (39′ & 50′), Hernandez (64′), Januzaj (90′)

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?

Olivier Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott

Olivier Giroud, France
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Is it just me, or does the press really only ever get noteworthy quotes from players during international breaks?

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I suppose it’s not surprising, given Premier League players get away from the mean ole British press, go back to their respective homelands and speak with journalists they’ve likely known since their early playing days, thus feel more comfortable opening up about key issues.

Anyway, today we have Olivier Giroud essentially calling himself out for having lost the starting striker’s job at Arsenal because he’s been outplayed of late by Theo Walcott. As discussed before, this is bad news for Giroud because he’s now falling down the depth chart for France with next summer’s European Championship on the horizon.

[ MORE: Aguero admits he wants Guardiola link-up ]

Giroud, on losing his place at Arsenal — quotes from the Guardian:

“At Arsenal, I am in competition with Theo for the striker position. But he is doing well at the moment, so there is no reason to change.

“Whether it was at Tours, Montpellier or Arsenal, I have never experienced a situation like this, I have often played from the start. I need to take positives and to harden myself mentally. It is something new for me.

“I was in [Walcott’s] place in previous seasons at Arsenal. I imagine what he must have been thinking. But I feel that the coach believes in me.”

Giroud goes on to cast into doubt his own confidence, stating in very certain terms he needs “to believe more in [his] abilities.” Giroud’s always come across as a bit of an existentialist, but it’s always strange to hear players publicly call themselves out — particularly their confidence — as if that’s not going to increase the pressure currently weighing down on them.

[ MORE: Rodgers reportedly chosen to take over at Aston Villa ]

The next eight months are going to be monumentally important in Giroud’s career, as the 29-year-old attempts to prove he’s worth keeping around at Arsenal and deserving of a place in the national team squad for next summer’s EUROs, which are to be played in France.