Match Analysis: Newcastle United 0-4 Manchester United

Juan Mata of Manchester United celebrates scoring their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St James' Park on April 5, 2014
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Sports Mole looks back over Manchester United's 4-0 victory against Newcastle United at St James' Park.

A brace from Juan Mata helped Manchester United to record a 4-0 victory from their trip to Newcastle United this afternoon.

The Spaniard scored either side of the break to put the visitors in the ascendancy, before Javier Hernandez added a third soon after. Then, in stoppage time, Adnan Januzaj fired in a fourth goal.

Below, Sports Mole has looked back over the contest to determine if the scoreline flattered the visitors, or if they were worthy victors.

Match statistics

Newcastle
Shots: 14
On target: 4
Possession: 44%
Corners: 4
Fouls: 16

Man United
Shots: 8
On target: 4
Possession: 56%
Corners: 5
Fouls: 6

Was the result fair?

Newcastle may have had more shots than their visitors, but the number that were from distance and wayward became almost embarrassing as the match wore on. It took Man United a little while to find their stride, but once David Moyes's side did, they were in complete control and could have even won by a bigger margin in the end.

Newcastle's performance

The Magpies were jeered off by their supporters and you can understand their anger. Granted, they were without a handful of players because of injury, but there was little fight from the players that manager Alan Pardew did put on the pitch - it's as if they are on their summer holidays already. What's more, Newcastle have never been a side famed for being tight defensively, but the current rearguard makes the one that Kevin Keegan put together during the mid-1990s look stubborn. Just as Southampton had done last weekend, United waltzed through in the final almost at will.

Man United's performance

There will be those that will point to Newcastle's deficiencies, but you can only beat what is put in front of you and United did that comprehensively. After a slow start, during which they defended well, ball players Mata and Shinji Kagawa started to pull the strings, which in turn brought Hernandez into the game. After the restart, they were devastating on occasions and perhaps will be disappointed not to have scored another goal or two. With Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney both in the squad but injured today, it will be difficult for Moyes to play with just one up front, but this showing was another indication that such a formation is the way forward for his team.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Juan Mata: Kagawa and Hernandez were also in contention for this award, but Mata's two-goal contribution cannot be overlooked. His first was a curling effort from 20 yards out that flew into the top corner, while his second saw the Spaniard display great composure. To cap off his performance, the Spaniard outrageously back-heeled the ball perfectly into Januzaj's path for his side's fourth goal.

Biggest gaffe

Due to the fact that there were not many howlers on the pitch, this has to go to Pardew for his decision not to start Hatem Ben Arfa. Yes the Frenchman may be inconsistent and frustrating at times, but he is unpredictable and capable of producing a moment of magic. Without him, Newcastle were functional at best and easy for United to defend against. By the time that he was brought on as a second-half substitute, it was too late.

Referee performance

Kevin Friend is regarded as a consistent referee and he did little to alter that viewpoint today. Newcastle protested, but he was right to award a foul that resulted in United's first goal, while he kept his yellow card in his pocket unless the offence truly warranted that punishment.

What next?

Newcastle: The Magpies are on the road next Saturday when travel to the Britannia Stadium for an encounter with Stoke City.

Man United: Put bluntly, United's season rests on the outcome of Wednesday night. They travel to Bayern Munich as the big underdogs, but can take some confidence from the 1-1 draw that the sides played out at Old Trafford last week.

Massadio Haidara of Newcastle United and Ashley Young of Manchester United battle for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St James' Park on April 5, 2014
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