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Manchester United off to a winning start as Newcastle are thumped

Dimitar Berbatov celebrates opening the scoring for Manchester United against Newcastle United.
Dimitar Berbatov celebrates opening the scoring for Manchester United against Newcastle United.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Manchester United beat Newcastle United 3-0 in the Premier League
  • Dimitar Berbatov, Darren Fletcher and Ryan Giggs grab the goals
  • Andy Carroll misses a glorious early chance for newly-promoted Newcastle

(CNN) -- Manchester United got their Premier League campaign off to a winning start with a 3-0 victory over newly-promoted Newcastle United at Old Trafford.

Dimitar Berbatov, Darren Fletcher and Ryan Giggs all got on the scoresheet as Newcastle were reminded of the tough task they face to prevent making an instant return to the Championship.

Alex Ferguson's side rarely looked threatened as they began their quest to regain the title from Chelsea with a confident showing.

But it was Newcastle who had the first clear chance of the game as Andy Carroll met Joey Barton's corner only to head wide from just six yards out.

Soon after, Manchester United began to dominate the game as the visitors sank deeper and deeper into their own half.

They broke the deadlock on the half hour mark as Argentina midfielder Jonas Gutierrez lost possession and Paul Scholes fed Dimitar Berbatov to power a low shot past Newcastle keeper Steve Harper.

Just eight minutes later the home side doubled their advantage due to some sloppy defending from Newcastle.

Scholes has still got the passion to play. He and Ryan Giggs are blessed with something special.
--Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager
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Patrice Evra's cross from the left wasn't dealt with before it ricocheted into the path of Darren Fletcher and the Scotland international had the simple task of turning the ball home from six yards out.

Berbatov should have grabbed his second after the break when a neat flick from Rooney put him clear but though his shot beat Harper it rolled the wrong side of the post.

Wayne Rooney was taken off after an hour so new Mexican signing Javier Hernandez could get his first taste of Premier League action, as 35-year-old Scholes began to pull the strings.

Portugal winger Nani was next to go close as he fired a left foot shot narrowly wide of the far post before Patrice Evra drilled a low cross across the face of goal.

Berbatov's neat footwork allowed him a shot on goal inside the area as the game entered the final ten minutes but Harper saved well with his feet.

Ryan Giggs replaced Nani and he grabbed the third on 85 minutes with an angled volley into the far corner from a pinpoint Scholes cross.

After the match Ferguson purred over Scholes' performance. He told Sky Sports: "He showed that even at his age you don't lose what you've got.

"His range of passing and vision was marvellous and he's still got the passion to play. He and Ryan Giggs are blessed with something special.

"Three points is always important in your first game and I thought we controlled most of it. It was a steady performance."