MANCHESTER — Manchester United made it 11 Boxing Day wins in a row, with a 3-1 victory against Newcastle at Old Trafford. Wayne Rooney put United in front from a fine Radamel Falcao cross. Excelling in central midfield, Rooney added his 12th Premier League goal against Newcastle and then provided the cross for Robin van Persie’s header.
Papiss Cisse netted a late consolation from the spot for Newcastle but Louis van Gaal’s team are now unbeaten in eight Premier League matches. Newcastle could reflect on referee Mike Jones’ failure to spot Juan Mata clipping Yoan Gouffran’s heels inside the box when the contest was still goalless.
But once Rooney had completed a sensational move to nudge United ahead, there was no way back for the visitors.
Falcao has made a limited impact since joining the Red Devils on loan from Monaco on transfer deadline day. But his slide to reach Mata’s cross-field pass — and first-time cross — provided Rooney with a tap-in that brought Old Trafford to its feet. Falcao was a key figure in the second too, nipping in to win possession inside the Newcastle half.
Phil Jones quickly found Mata, whose pass provided Rooney with the opportunity to heap even more misery on the team he has scored against in the league more often than any other.
Rooney came close to a hat-trick when he floated a free-kick onto the roof of Jak Alnwick’s goal. Instead, he had to make do with an assist, providing an excellent cross-field ball for Van Persie, who fired home from close range.
It was not a day for Newcastle’s 17-year-old Adam Armstrong to shine on his first league start. The youngster had one early run at the United defence but it was soon snuffed out. And while Cisse at least provided some cheer near the end, the Magpies suffered their fourth successive defeat in all competitions.
Meanwhile, Arsenal kept within touching distance of the top four with victory over QPR, but it was a nervy Premier League win after the Gunners were reduced to 10 men and conceded a second-half penalty.
Alexis Sanchez missed a penalty but later headed Arsenal into the lead. With Arsenal dominating, Olivier Giroud was sent off for a headbutt on Nedum Onuoha — although the hosts did double their advantage through Tomas Rosicky.
Mathieu Debuchy felled Junior Hoilett and QPR’s Charlie Austin converted.
In another match, Raheem Sterling’s sixth goal of the season earned Liverpool their first win in four Premier League games as Burnley paid for a string of missed chances.
Danny Ings hit the post from distance, with Ashley Barnes firing the rebound over as the Clarets dominated.
Liverpool climb to ninth in the Premier League.
Chelsea 2-0 West Ham; Burnley 0-1 Liverpool; Crystal Palace 1-3 Southampton; Everton 0-1 Stoke; Leicester 1-2 Tottenham; Man Utd 3-1 Newcastle; Sunderland 1-3 Hull; Swansea 1-0 Aston Villa; West Brom 1-3 Man City; Arsenal 2-1 QPR. — BBC.