Five things we learnt from Manchester United's victory over Newcastle at St James' Park

 

1 Rooney is back and comfortable in his new role

There is still work to be done on Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Shinji Kagawa, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck as an emerging force, but the freedom afforded to Rooney creates headaches for opponents. He created two goals yesterday and was enjoying himself so much that by the finish he tried to chip Steve Harper from the edge of the Newcastle penalty area. A break does, as Sir Alex Ferguson suggested, seem to rekindle his love for the game. There was no scowling yesterday, just genuine vision.

2 It's not the end for Rio

Another week when Rio Ferdinand has found himself at the centre of a storm for doing nothing wrong. He pretty much did nothing wrong again yesterday, and that is why Ferguson will not bemoan his international career effectively ending. Ferdinand's and Evans's partnership almost carried United to the title last season and was in stark contrast to Newcastle's brittle defence yesterday.

3 Ba and Cissé still isn't working

Partnerships do not have to be aesthetically pleasing to work – think Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer – but Demba Ba and Papiss Cissé remain an incomplete work, 10 months after Cissé arrived in England. Both go through spells of scoring, Ba before Cissé arrived, Cissé after he arrived, Ba once the current season started, but playing both when one is out of form (that is currently Cissé, who was again substituted) leaves Newcastle light in midfield. Manchester United had too many bodies in key areas and it helped their control.

4 De Gea is still vulnerable

It may seem harsh to point a finger at a goalkeeper who kept a clean sheet but there remains a clear vulnerability about David de Gea on crosses. Three times he flapped when the ball came over at height in the presence of attacking players and he is yet to emerge as a commanding presence. He completely missed a Yohan Cabaye corner in the 34th minute and in the 50th made a mess of a ball swung over by Hatem Ben Arfa that nearly gifted Newcastle a goal.

5 Newcastle won't match last season's achievements

Newcastle gambled heavily in the summer by failing to invest in a team that had surprisingly finished fifth. This game added support to the argument that they will not match that finish because of such a decision. Shorn of their two first- choice central defenders, the home side were beaten by the 16th minute because of a lack of depth. Alan Pardew's side needed to kick on this season, and they have not.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee