NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04: Newcastle forward Demba Ba (c) and Shola Ameobi (l) celebrate after scoring during the Barclays Premier league game between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St James' Park on January 4, 2012 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Some guy seated next to me at the pub where I watched the match said "Gotta love Geordies, they don't make me feel as fat, ugly, nor obnoxious." Must feel pretty damn good right now to be a fat, ugly, and obnoxious Geordie. I can certainly tell you that it doesn't feel good to be a handsome (subject to opinion I suppose) Manchester United fan right now. It was that man Demba Ba who opened the scoring -- for his 15th league goal of the season -- after a Shola Ameobi flick-on from a Tim Krul free-kick. Ameobi's won aerial duel and Ba being first to the ball for his brilliant finish made both Phil Jones and Rio Ferdinand second best on that sequence. Just minutes after half-time, Yohan Cabaye went all David Beckham on us when he superbly curled home a free-kick from about 30 yards out. As expected, United showed intent but they failed to beat Krul -- or Danny Simpson after he did well to clear a Wayne Rooney shot off the line. The match was essentially decided but the final nail in the coffin came at the end of the match when Jones headed in an own-goal from another Krul free-kick. Thinking out loud here, was that Krul free-kick on frame? If so, wouldn't that be his goal while Jones merely provided a deflection? Anyway...
That is 3 points dropped in successive matches and things don't get any easier in upcoming matches: United face a trip away to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday to face Manchester City in a FA Cup tie
and that is followed by a trip away to the Emirates to face Arsenal during the following weekend (Correction: United face Bolton at Old Trafford on January 14 and then Arsenal on January 22). A level headed person right now (not me) will tell you that our league position is fine as we only trail the leaders by 3 points. This is true but it's impossible to deny that there are major flaws in the squad right now. It needs to be addressed but I have doubts that reinforcements are coming during the current January transfer window. I'm not saying a ridiculous £25-30m Wesley Sneijder purchase is needed (it's certainly not) but an astute buy -- like the sort of purchase Spurs made for Scott Parker or Juve made for Andrea Pirlo -- is possible to shore up short-term needs if the appropriate player(s) can be identified. Hell, Cabaye only cost £4.8m and Cheik Tiote only cost £3.5m. If they don't come, it's likely the league title won't either this season. That's a harsh assessment, but it's an honest one in my humble opinion.