MATA IS MASTER; Moyes gets Bayern lift as Juan-man show sinks Toon.
Man Utd 4
DAVID MOYES named a shadow starting eleven at St James' Park. But it really didn't Mata.
With a Champions League quarter-final to win at Bayern Munich on Wednesday, Manchester United's boss refused to endanger any more of his star performers.
But he left one on the pitch, all right. And that was more than enough to see off a Newcastle side who are already on the beach.
This result was really all about Juan man, though, as the Red Devils chalked up their 10th away victory - the best record in the Premier League.
The PS37million signing from Chelsea has struggled to leave any meaningful mark so far, barring his strike against Aston Villa last week.
But at a strangely-subdued St James' Park, there was no doubt who stole the show.
Wayne Rooney's toe injury meant Moyes was able to give Mata licence to cause havoc in his favourite position, behind the striker.
And, along with a decent cameo from Shinji Kagawa that was exactly what he did.
There was little indication of the carnage to come until six minutes before the interval when the visitors took a grip.
Referee Kevin Friend wrongly penalised Dan Gosling as he chased Darren Fletcher on the edge of the Newcastle penalty area. But once the free-kick had been awarded, Mata stood over the ball.
And although everyone in the ground - probably even including Toon keeper Rob Elliot - had an idea where it was heading, such was the accuracy of the shot that it went up and over the wall and inside the post.
The defensive frailties that have now seen Alan Pardew's team ship 10 goals in their last three matches were there for all to see five minutes into the second half. Anders Lindegaard pumped along ball down field and Fabricio Coloccini made a total hash of dealing with it.
Kagawa was on to it in a flash, finding Javier Hernandez who sprinted down the right. But the best moment of the afternoon was upon us. Mata collected, shaped to shoot - selling Coloccini and Elliot a twin dummy in the process - and simply passed the ball into the net.
That was, effectively, game over. Pardew had chosen to leave his own game changer, Hatem Ben Arfa, on the bench.
He made an appearance after an hour but shortly afterwards, the visitors grabbed another.
Alexander Buttner played Kagawa down the left and Hernandez timed his run to perfection at the near post, slipping home.
Mata still had one super little trick up his sleeve. In the dying moments he darted behind Newcastle's static rearguard, backheeling Adnan Januzaj's pass back into the teenager's path. It was swept home with aplomb.
It was the signal for a chorus of boos to ring around the stadium. It's doubtful whether owner Mike Ashley heard them. Television pictures showed an empty seat where he normally sits.
For Newcastle this should have been a chance to right the wrongs of an awful showing at Southampton.
Manchester United's underbelly was exposed and their focus was elsewhere. Only the hosts didn't appear to possess the conviction they could win this.
The Magpies have now failed to score in 11 of their last 14 matches. And with Loic Remy out with a calf strain, they lack a cutting edge.
True, Lindegaard did make three very good saves to deny Papiss Cisse, but there was no real and sustained pressure on United's goal.
Pardew's side were booed off. Without Remy - and Yohan Cabaye - they are struggling. Big-time.
Pardew said: "In the first half it was pretty tense but the first goal was tough on us. It wasn't a foul.
"When Mata scored it settled them down and they looked a better outfit after it.
"The second was a mistake and it's an uphill task from then on.
"We understand the fans' frustration. They want to see exciting football at this stadium and they are just not seeing it at the moment."
He's wrong on that one. The fans did see it. It was provided by Mata.
His two finishes and one assist bore a stamp of the highest class. And showed Rooney that his boss does have an alternative
NEWCASTLE: Elliot 6 - Santon 6, Williamson 6, Coloccini 5, Haidara 5 - Gouffran 5, (Ameobi, 85mins), Anita 6, Tiote 5, *GOSLING 7 - de Jong 3 (Ben Arfa, 60mins, 5) Cisse 6
MANCHESTER UTD: Lindegaard 7 - Valencia 6, Smalling 7, Jones 7, Evra 6 (Buttner, 64mins, 7) - Fletcher 6, Fellaini 6 (Nani, 69mins, 6) - Kagawa 7, *MATA 8, Young 5 (Januzaj, 17mins, 7) - Hernandez 7 REFEREE: K Friend 5.
SHOCKER De Jong
Luuks useless on this showing. Put shirt on the right way and ran around. And, er, that was about all
GLOOM: Alan Pardew
THE BOY JUAN GOOD Mata fires United's first two goals (left) and celebrates his second (main picture) before Javier Hernandez and Adnan Januzaj piles more agony on Toon boss Alan Pardew