Man United 3-1 Newcastle: Inspired Rooney orchestrates comfortable win

by Sam Peoples

Story of the season continues. Manchester United have not been at their best this year but are third in the Premier League. It’s been very Fergie-like at points; winning when they are not playing very well.

Today, the first quarter of the game saw United play with a Christmas hangover but Newcastle failed to capitalise. Then Juan Mata‘s delectable through-ball to Radamel Falcao sparked United into gear and a 2-0 lead at half-time was well earned.

The second half was more towards what Louis van Gaal wants to see every week from United. They were in total control and played at a canter without Newcastle threatening David de Gea‘s goal very often.

Radamel Falcao improving with every performance. Five starts for United have brought two goals and four assists from Falcao which is not a bad return at all for a player who has had to struggle with injuries and settling into a new culture.

The Colombian will probably have wanted to score more for United but his movement on and off the ball has always been impressive.

Alongside Van Persie, Falcao has always been active, making spaces where he can and giving his team-mates an option. A lot of the time his runs come to nothing but that added movement in attack opens up so much space for United to exploit, it’s a real asset to have.

Wayne Rooney clearly enjoying his deeper role in midfield. You might expect Rooney’s goalscoring threat to be blunted by him playing in a deeper role but today against Newcastle it was almost the opposite.

His late runs into the box from midfield created both of his goals because they allowed him to run into space. He wouldn’t have found that space if playing in his usual position up front.

It’s tough for Louis van Gaal to fit all of United’s attacking talent into the same starting XI but if Rooney can play that well with an in-form Van Persie, Falcao and Mata in front of him, that’s a deadly quartet.

Total control will please Van Gaal. On more than one occasion this season, United have been winning games but failed to see out the full 90 minutes. Today, Van Gaal will be happy with what he saw.

Phil Jones decided to give a penalty away to try and throw a spanner in the works but United managed to see out the last few minutes of the game to make it seven wins from the last eight games.

You still feel United have a lot more to offer. United are in a fine run of form but you can still they are not playing at full speed.

What will United be playing like when Angel di Maria is fully fit, Falcao is on top form and other injuries have subsided? It’s going to be an exciting second half of the season.

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