Newcastle United 1 Manchester United 5

Last updated : 25 February 2008 By Footymad Previewer
Sir Alex Ferguson's side could have been eight points adrift of the Gunners going into this match but for a late James McFadden penalty that earned ten-man Birmingham a 2-2 draw at St Andrew's.

Doubles from the deadly duo of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, along with a late strike from substitute Louis Saha means that in the last month, the Old Trafford side have not only claimed six points against Newcastle but have also rattled up double figures.

This is the third time in their history that Manchester United have scored 11 goals in the two Premiership matches in one season against the same opposition - the others being Ipswich and Nottingham Forest.

As for Newcastle, they remain six points ahead of the relegation zone but, worryingly, have not won for ten Premier League matches and in any of the six since Kevin Keegan has returned to the club.

Manchester United looked likely to score every time they got within shooting distance with perhaps the biggest surprise being that it took them until 25 minutes to go in front when Charles N'Zogbia went walkabouts.

Ronaldo broke at pace down the left to cleverly outwit Habib Beye and, after looking up, picked out Rooney to perfection while his marker N'Zogbia was caught ball watching in no man's land.

It is often said that opponents are always in with a chance when they only trail by one goal - not on this occasion.

On the stroke of half-time Ronaldo clinically put away his 20th league goal of the season to go top of the Premier League scoring stakes.

It was Newcastle fan Michael Carrick who did the damage with a defence-splitting pass and Ronaldo nonchalantly curled his effort beyond Shay Given.

Given was replaced at half-time by Steve Harper, making his 100th Newcastle appearance over a period of 15 years.

Edwin Van der Sar made a good early save from Damien Duff before Ronaldo pounced again after 56 minutes due to more poor defending.

Abdoulaye Diagne-Faye had the chance to clear but toe-poked the ball straight at Darren Fletcher to release Ronaldo who brushed aside Steven Taylor, rounded Harper and put away his 29th goal in all competitions this season.

Newcastle were thrown a 79th minute lifeline when substitute Andy Carroll headed down James Milner's corner and Faye volleyed in his first Newcastle goal and his first for 14 months.

Hopes of a fightback disappeared two minutes later with Rooney's 13th of the campaign and the England man then found time to slip in substitute Saha to make it five and even then Newcastle got off lightly.