Man Utd. 2 Newcastle 0
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s double moved Manchester United to the top of the Premiership table on goal difference.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were always on top and struck the woodwork four times.
Darren Fletcher hit the post early on, but when Cristiano Ronaldo did the same just before the break Solskjaer was on hand to sidefoot past Steve Harper.
Solskjaer’s second goal had an element of luck about it when Nemanja Vidic’s shot ricocheted off the Norwegian and past Harper early in the second half.
Ronaldo, who had a superb game, seemed to have a particular affinity with the woodwork, hitting the bar and then the post in the space of six minutes after the second goal.
Throughout the game Manchester United’s attacking play was a rich mixture of individual trickery and fluid passing movements, with Ronaldo invariably involved.
Newcastle deployed five men in midfield in a bid to stifle Manchester United, but the tactic had no effect as the home side laid siege to the visitors’ goal.
Newcastle were under pressure from the start, with Harper saving from Vidic and Steven Taylor bravely blocking Rio Ferdinand’s shot.
Manchester United finally went ahead just before the interval when a powerful run from Ronaldo from a short corner ended with the Portuguese winger unleashing a shot that hit the base of the post.
The ball rebounded to Solskjaer, who had the simplest of tasks to beat Harper and score for the first time at Old Trafford since April 2003.
Newcastle’s tactic of deploying five men in midfield also ensured Shola Ameobi was always isolated in attack.
Just after Solskjaer’s first goal, James Milner did manage to make inroads into the Manchester United defence, only to undo that good work by overhitting his cross.
As a contest the game was over when Solskjaer scored his second on 49 minutes.
After a Ronaldo corner Newcastle never really cleared their lines, allowing Vidic to shoot.
It is debatable whether the Serbian defender’s shot would have beaten Harper but the Newcastle goalkeeper was left stranded as the ball hit Solskjaer.
Just past the hour, Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder introduced Obafemi Martins to support Ameobi but by then the game had slipped too far beyond the visitors’ control.
So poor were Newcastle in attack that Edwin van der Sar did not have to make a serious save until the 75th minute, when he parried an effort from Peter Ramage.
That Manchester United did not score more was down to luck and Harper’s goalkeeping.
Taylor was fortunate referee Mike Dean missed his deliberate handball as he tried to block a Fletcher shot in the area, while Harper did well to tip over a Paul Scholes shot.
The only downside for Manchester United was the sight of the injury-plagued Gabriel Heinze limping off to be replaced by Patrice Evra in the first half.
Man Utd Blog Man Of The Match-:
Ronaldo– absolutely fantastic throughout. Hit the post three times and ran the newcastle defence ragged.