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Stalemate at St. James Park

match report

Newcastle United 0 - 0 Manchester United

Manchester United extended their lead at the top of the Premier League, but a ninth draw from 17 away games means that the difference between the leaders and their most-immediate rivals, who only play on Wednesday, is only of seven points, instead of the much-desired nine points.

Wayne Rooney made his return to the side after purging his two-match ban as Chris Smalling deputised for Rio Ferdinand alongside Nemanja Vidic. Man United started the game strongly and within seconds, Rooney was running down the left wing, and put an inch-perfect cross into the penalty area for Javier Hernandez, but the Magpies’ goalkeeper, Tim Krul, managed to deny the little Mexican.


The home team were visibly shaken into life by this opportunity and it didn’t take them long to react and test Man United’s defence. First Gutierrez started a move from the left and ran past Nani, O’Shea and Carrick, but his shot was cleared away by Smalling. However, United remained an eternal threat on counter-attacks and Rooney should have scored when Hernandez passed him a fine ball, but his shot hit Krul and flew wide over.


Newcastle had another great chance two minutes before half-time as Barton delivered a cross from the right to find Lovenkrands but in his attempt of a free header, the Dane misconnected and his ball was sent wide.


Man United returned after the break with renewed urgency and for minutes they piled up the pressure on Newcastle, but the Magpies held bravely and United still failed to get a goal. The visitors also survived a penalty appeal when Lovenkrands fell inside the penalty area after a clumsy tackle from Anderson; referee Lee Probert waved the claims away.


The best chance of the evening fell to Ryan Giggs after 68 minutes, but the Welshman uncharacteristically wasted the opportunity by shooting wide from 10 yards after some nice work from Evra. Still United pressed forward, even throwing Michael Owen into the battle, but Newcastle held on. 


In stoppage time Javier Hernandez went down into the box after a slight contact with former red Danny Simpson, but the referee once again turned down penalty appeals and even booked Chicharito for simulation.


All eyes will now turn to White Hart Lane on Wednesday evening, with the red devils hoping that Tottenham can do them a favour by denying Arsenal full points.

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