Five lessons from Manchester United's demolition of Newcastle

Kagawa United

A fantastic 4-0 win for the Reds saw them jump above Spurs into sixth, with Juan Mata scoring two and setting up one in his best performance yet.

Below are five things learned from the result:

Juan Mata flourished in his favoured role

For a couple of months now Juan Mata has been getting to grips with his new club, and although there have been flashes of promise, he hasn't really lived up to his price tag. Against Newcastle he was the undoubted star of the show, scoring two superb goals and orchestrating proceedings for the Reds.

Undoubtedly, the fact he was the main man in this United side with the absence of Rooney and Van Persie, and even more importantly, that he operated in his favoured position behind the lone striker, had something to do with such a fine performance. The classy back-heel that set up Januzaj's strike was evidence of his confidence.

Some of United's best results have come when Kagawa started

Today at Newcastle, the 4-1 win at Villa, 2-0 win at West Ham, the 5-0 demolition of Bayer Leverkusen - all of these games saw Shinji Kagawa start for United.

Moyes' reluctance to start Kagawa in higher profile matches is surprising, especially considering just how well the Japan star has played. Perhaps this win, as well as his performance against Bayern, will finaly convince Moyes to pick the former Dortmund midfielder for a run of games, although the fact he started today may mean he won't be playing in Germany.

Mata, Kagawa and Januzaj in the side DOES work

Ashley Young's early withdrawal with a hand injury gave fans the chance to see all three of their attacking midfielders operate in the same team. And they didn't disappoint, all superb in front of a defensive two man central midfield and with a hardworking forward ahead of them.

United looked solid defensively, and dangerous going ahead, and this is the midfield combination Moyes should be employing from now on.  

Selling Van Persie may be the only way to use Rooney in this system

The problem of adopting this midfield of three playmakers is that there is only one forward position. Given Rooney's new contract, and the fact he has been the club's best striker this year, this role would have to go the Englishman over Robin van Persie.

Where this leaves the former Arsenal striker, not to mention Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez, who have both impressed at times this year, is the big question. Van Persie, of the three that may be in reserve to Rooney, would be the one most unhappy at sitting on the bench. But can United really sell one of the league's top strikers?

As good as Man United were, Newcastle were just as bad

Make no mistake, this was a very impressive Manchester United performance, but as the old adage goes, you can only beat what's in front of you, and Newcastle were a thoroughly beatable team at St James' Park on Saturday.

Poor defensively and in midfield, and lacking any confidence up top, they have to be happy the season is coming to the end with them in a reasonable position, as if the season was any longer they may find themselves sucked into the danger zone. What Moyes needs to do now with his team is let his players try to carry such a performance and such a formation to a far tougher venue.

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch