Manchester United Held By Toon Army

Nick Duckworth@@nickyduckyCorrespondent IAugust 17, 2008

In the past few years United have made a habit of getting off to a slow start in the EPL, and this season is no different. Kevin Keegan's Newcastle United had the daunting task of facing the reigning champions in the opening fixture and after two humiliating defeats at the hands of the Red Devils last term, any scoreline other than a complete whitewash would be most welcome by the Toon Army.

With United missing many of their key players for the big kick off through injury and Olympic duties, and with Carlos Tevez headed to Argentina for a family bereavement, Fergie had to choose the best possible side from the players available giving young Fraizer Campbell his Premier League debut.

From the start of the game United enjoyed some good passing moves and on eight minutes almost made a breakthrough when new boy Campbell headed a Rooney cross right at Shay Given who saved with his face. Given would be called into action again a short while later when the ball fell to Rooney in the box. He fired toward the bottom corner only for Given to save at full stretch and immediately get back to his feet to stop Scholes' follow up.

Newcastle then enjoyed a flurry of set-pieces winning three corner's in succession, and it was from the third corner kick that the first goal came, stunning Old Trafford as Obafemi Martins rose highest and unmarked to glance a great header inside the far post—where Scholes failed to clear.

What followed was typical of United's never say die mentality, and straight from the kick off, the ball was worked up field and from a speedy Ryan Giggs cross, Darren Fletcher fired the ball past Shay Given to tie the game literally two minutes after Newcastle took the lead!

United played on with some more great chances but as was evident in pre-season they are lacking the killer instinct in the final third and failed to find the goal. Rooney and Campbell's partnership looked very raw at times and will certainly need some more playing time in order to find a good balance and understanding although if Berbatov signs in the coming days, Campbell's chances in the first team may once again be limited.

Newcastle seemed very lively and definitely gave as good as they got in this game, with Coloccini and Martins especially causing United most of their problems. The Toon Army has taken to Gutierrez very well and a small section of the fans were even dressed as Spiderman in honor of the Argentinian's "mask toting" goal celebrations.

He wouldn't get his name on the score-sheet today but if his play is anything to go by, it wont take long before we'll hear "Spiderman" ringing out at St. James' Park.

Apart from a Vidic header hitting the crossbar in the second half there wasn't any other real chances to get excited about.

With Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool all winning their opening games, United fans would have liked a similar outcome at Old Trafford to kick off their season but as we are only in week one, a draw was the next best thing and definitely a welcome result for Kevin Keegan and the travelling fans.