Manchester United responded to Chelsea’s six-goal rout of West Brom this weekend by ruining Newcastle’s return to the Premiership with a convincing 3-0 win at Old Trafford earlier tonight.
From the moment Dimitar Berbatov opened the scoring in the 33rd minute, United looked comfortable. In fact, the Magpies can consider themselves fortunate that goals from Darren Fletcher and Ryan Giggs were the only ones that followed.
Berbatov's clinical finish was the result of some neat passes outside the box, culminating in Scholes's threaded ball to the Bulgarian who was easily able to smash it past Steve Harper from six yards out.
The assist from Scholes was just one of many great passes that he put together in a man of the match performance, carrying on from where he left off in the Community Shield last week.
But if visiting teams want to take anything from Newcastle's performance at Old Trafford, it is that Scholes will make mistakes if put under pressure. For the first half an hour, black and white shirts hounded him, and he gave up the ball on plenty of occasions.
But they simply could not keep that up for the full ninety minutes, and eventually he was given all the time in the world to dictate the game. Stronger opposition will not tire so easily, and Scholes will not be afforded that kind of time to control the tempo.
Newcastle rarely threatened, but with only ten minutes gone, Andy Carroll had a glorious chance from a corner which could well have changed the entire match. Easily shaking off Vidic, he had a clear sight of goal but headed it well wide. By the time Newcastle got any more chances, the Red Devils were already home and dry.
In the 41st minute, another scintillating United attack from the left ended in Darren Fletcher making it 2-0. Nani and Evra linked up nicely before the leftback drilled a ball across the goal where Rooney was waiting, but his miss-hit shot fell straight to Fletcher for an easy goal.
At this point, the game as a contest was over, and it was simply a question of how many more United wanted.
With Rooney somewhat wasteful and not at full fitness, he was replaced just past the hour by Mexican sensation Javier Hernandez. The man they call Chicharito was lively and impressive on his league debut, but never got a real opportunity to get on the score sheet.
In fact it was another substitute who finished the game off in the 85th minute when Ryan Giggs connected with a glorious volley on the corner of the penalty box to make it 3-0. The pass from Scholes was excellent, but the finish even better.
And with that goal, Giggs extended his record of having scored in every single Premiership season. Going back further than that, to before the rebranding of the Premier League, Giggs has now scored in 21 consecutive league campaigns.
Newcastle weren't awful, and they can take some positives from their performance in the first half (or at least until the first goal). But for now, they look like a bottom ten quality team for sure, and possibly relegation candidates.
For Manchester United, this was one of their best opening game performances in recent memory. Being notoriously nervy and frustrating in openers, like what we saw against Birmingham last year or even Newcastle in 2008, tonight's win was as impressive and encouraging as the 5-1 mauling of Fulham in 2006.
Interestingly enough, Fulham is their next fixture, and if they can continue on with this form, they can fully expect to avenge that 0-3 humiliation at Craven Cottage from last season.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!