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Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as United closed the gap on Arsenal at the top with an emphatic victory at St James' Park.
Buoyed by news of the Gunners' 2-2 draw at Birmingham earlier in the day, the Reds dominated from start to finish to record their second convincing win over Newcastle in as many months.
Ronaldo set up Rooney for the opener before bagging his 28th and 29th goals of the season to put United out of sight.
Abdoulaye Faye pulled one back but Rooney's superb second and a late strike from substitute Louis Saha left Newcastle still searching for their first win since Kevin Keegan returned to the club.
Reds boss Sir Alex Ferguson, mindful of the need to keep his squad fresh as they chase three trophies, made four changes to his starting line-up after the midweek draw in Lyon.
In came Nani, Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Carlos Tevez for Anderson, Paul Scholes, Owen Hargreaves and Ryan Giggs, with the latter two not even named on the bench.
The game got off to a typically up-tempo start, Steven Taylor denying Rooney with a last-ditch tackle before clearing Nani's scuffed shot off the goalline.
Keegan's men had conceded 11 goals in four games coming into the match and United threatened to open them up at will early on.

Carrick made a marauding run through the middle and played in Rooney on the right of the box, but the striker failed to pick out one of his team-mates with his pulled-back cross.
In the 24th minute, Rio Ferdinand had to be at his best to clear the ball in the box with Michael Owen poised to pull the trigger – and a minute later United were ahead.
Ronaldo motored down the left, cut back inside Habib Beye and delivered a pinpoint cross to an unmarked Rooney, who volleyed home smartly at the back post.
Charles N'Zogbia was booked for bringing down Nani and Faye followed him minutes later after preventing Edwin van der Sar from making a quick clearance.
Milner looked the player most likely to get Newcastle back in the game and the winger's wicked left-foot cross deflected behind off Wes Brown as Owen lurked.
Owen became the third Newcastle player into referee Chris Foy's notebook for raising his studs as he contested a ball with Nemanja Vidic.
The Reds continued to pour forward in search of a second. Rooney and Ronaldo linked up well to create another opening, but the latter scuffed his shot wide from the left-hand side of the box.
Tevez missed a great chance to double United's lead five minutes before the break, heading a Nani
cross wide from seven yards.
But it wasn't long before the Reds had their second and it was Ronaldo who delivered the sucker-punch with his 28th goal of the season.
This time Carrick was the provider, the midfielder finding himself in acres of space as he drove forward and picking out Ronaldo, who calmly slotted past Shay Given.
Ferguson brought on John O'Shea for Patrice Evra at the break, while Keegan's only move was to replace goalkeeper Given with Steve Harper, suggesting he was more concerned with keeping the scoreline respectable than mounting a fightback.
The Magpies had the first chance of the second half when Damien Duff cut in from the left but saw his low shot saved by Van der Sar's legs.
But a couple of minutes later, Ronaldo ended the game as a contest with his second goal of the night. Fletcher intercepted Faye's poor clearance, put Ronaldo through on goal and the Portuguese star rounded Harper before finishing emphatically.
The 23-year-old was denied the chance to score his second Reds hat-trick when he was replaced by Saha in the 66th minute, to a standing ovation from the away support.
Nicky Butt was booked for a crude tackle from behind on Carrick before Vidic, still feeling the effects of Owen's late challenge in the first half, was replaced by Scholes.
Newcastle battled to offer a silenced St James' Park something to cheer, but by now United were in total command.
However, Faye ensured there was to be no repeat of the Tynesiders' 6-0 mauling at Old Trafford last month when he smashed home after a goalmouth scramble.
Scholes, looking for his first goal since August, almost netted United's fifth but, after a neat one-two with Nani, the midfielder's header was well pushed over by Harper.
Rooney's second goal and United's fourth was exquisite. With 10 minutes left, the striker collected the ball on the edge of the box after the Magpies had only half-cleared a corner and curled an unstoppable shot into the top-right corner.
Former United man Alan Smith came close to opening his account for the Magpies but saw his shot from the edge of the box tipped over by Van der Sar.
By now, Newcastle were all over the place at the back and Harper tipped over Saha's toe-poke inside the box.
But the Frenchman did get on the scoresheet in stoppage-time, firing home from inside the box to cap another resounding win for the Reds over their north-west rivals.

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Five-Goal United Hammer Clueless Newcastle

Newcastle United 1-5 Manchester United

Manchester United ripped Newcastle's porous defence to shreds by hitting five goals at St James' Park. Manchester United handed Newcastle their second beating in a month to heap more misery onto Kevin Keegan's troubled reign.

Newcastle started brightly but United soon took over proceedings. Goals from Rooney and Ronaldo gave the visitors a 2-0 lead at half-time before more defensive collapses allowed the United duo to grab themselves another goal apiece.

Louis Saha completed the rout in injury time while Abdoulaye Faye netted a 78th minute consolation for the Geordies. United close the gap on Arsenal to three points while Newcastle's woes continue.

First-Half

Manchester United recalled Carlos Tevez, Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Nani to the starting line-up. Kevin Keegan brought in N'Zogbia and Faye to the defence that shipped four goals at Aston Villa.

A good tempo was seen in the opening stages at a noisy St James' Park, with Michael Owen having the best of the early chances on four minutes. Milner then flashed a dangerous ball into the box. Rooney, Tevez and Nani almost linked to put United in front but Taylor did well to knock the ball behind. United looked menacing on the break but also a tad shaky at the back as Van der Sar struggled to deal with a few high balls.

Owen had a shout for a penalty rejected after Ferdinand's challenge: replays showed it was the correct decision and sixty seconds later Rooney scored at the other end. Beating Beye down the left, Ronaldo crossed to Rooney, who lost his man and tapped in at the far post from point-blank range.

Newcastle responded well, forcing several corners and coming close through Duff and Milner before ex-United man Alan Smith nodded wide. For the visitors, Ronaldo slid an effort across goal and Tevez flashed a header wide, but United snatched a second before the break as Ronaldo finished off a deadly counter-attack.

Carrick's pass split the Magpies' defence apart and Ronaldo slid the ball past Given and into the bottom-right corner. It was an even half in terms of getting the ball into the final third but whereas Newcastle won corners, Manchester United scored goals.

Second Half

Shay Given's groin injury flared up again, forcing Steve Harper to come on at the break. Manchester United also made a change, replacing Evra with O'Shea. As in the first period the hosts began brightly but once more defensive problems cost them dear.

Fletcher's tapped ball clipped the heel of Taylor and cut through the rest of Newcastle's defence as if they weren't there. One-on-one with Harper, Ronaldo rounded the keeper on the right and drilled into the empty net for his brace. Not for the first time this season, Newcastle's defence weren't faring well.

The heat of competition had now evaporated from the game. Duff drilled a low shot at the keeper but United largely controlled possession, carving out the occasional chance, before Beye surprisingly turned in a 78th minute consolation for Newcastle. Substitute Carroll's header from a corner fell to the Magpies' defender, who stabbed the ball home.

It only served to anger United, who hit back almost immediately as Rooney curled a magnificent right-footed shot in off the post to claim his second of the game. An illustration of the fact that what seems so hard for Newcastle comes so easily for Manchester United.

Rooney then had the ball in a similar position in the 85th minute, but this time threaded a low ball through to sub Saha. Harper saved well when a fifth goal seemed certain, but Saha got his revenge against his former club in stoppage time as Rooney selfishly squared for the Frenchman to drill low.

A thoroughly deserved win for the visitors, who were truly excellent, and a result that brings them within three points of Arsenal in the title race. For Newcastle, that's 11 goals conceded against Manchester United in this season's two league games. One sensed they would have lost against most of the league today given this defensive shambles.

Line-Ups:

Newcastle (4-4-2): Given (Harper 46) – Beye, Taylor, Faye, N'Zogbia – Milner (Geremi 84), Butt, Barton (Carroll 61), Duff – Smith, Owen

Subs not used – Caçapa, Ameobi

United (4-4-2): Van der Sar – Brown, Vidic (Scholes 74), Ferdinand, Evra (O'Shea 46) – Ronaldo (Saha 67), Carrick, Fletcher, Nani – Rooney, Tevez

Subs not used – Kuszczak, Anderson

Goals:
0-1 Rooney, 25 (Ronaldo)
0-2 Ronaldo, 45 (Carrick)
0-3 Ronaldo, 56
1-3 Beye, 78 (Carroll)
1-4 Rooney, 80
1-5 Saha, 90 (Rooney)

Cards:
Yellow: Faye, N'Zogbia, Owen, Butt

Attendance: 52,291
 

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^LMAO........sometimes I wonder why can't they just register as a member @ ManutdTalk & discuss about football stuffs related to United, other teams in Premiership & the rest of Europe while promoting that side? Isn't that much better? Sigh......
 
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