Manchester United fell to their second successive home defeats in the hands of Newcastle United in Saturday’s Premier League’s early afternoon kick-off, thanks to a Yohan Cabaye goal a minute after the hour mark.
Prior to the encounter, United manager, David Moyes, vowed to improve his side’s dwindling fortunes, but they fell far short of bouncing back from their midweek loss to Everton as the ‘Magpies’ ensured they kept their own Champions League hopes alive.
Despite the return of Robin van Persie since scoring the winner against Arsenal on November 10 amongst six other changes, United kept lacking confidence while Newcastle bossed the hosts around in the midfield, maintaining more possession and having better shots at goal.
On their own part, Newcastle, lost a five-game winning streak against Swansea in the midweek, but last month’s victories over Chelsea and Tottenham couldn’t deter manager Alan Pardew and goalkeeper Tim Krul from clinching November’s Barclays Manager and Player of month awards. Saturday’s victory reduced the margin between the St James’ Park outfit and leaders Arsenal, who have a game in hand at Everton, to eight.
As expected, the match started with a minute’s applause for the departed first black president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday, as players gathered in the centre circle to show respect.
The Toon were well aware of their opponents’ determination to get right back up from their midweek stumble. Newcastle, also in need of a win, organised their midfield, were well drilled in the defence and showed a better knack for goal.
The goal, which ended the club’s 41-year wait for a win at Old Trafford, came when Cabaye fired home Moussa Sissoko’s cross. Sissoko got in behind United’s defence and pulled the ball back to Cabaye to sidefoot past david de Gea via a slight deflection.
And for the first time on home soil this season, United, who were without the suspended Wayne Rooney, couldn’t stage a comeback.
Van Persie had a goal ruled out for offside, promising teenager, Adnan Januzaj, was denied by Krul and substitute Wilfried Zaha curled a shot wide.
The champions have now dropped 13 points out of 24 at home this season. They now remain ninth in the league table 12 points adrift of Arsenal.