Newcastle United ended their 41-year wait for a win against Manchester United at Old Trafford and while everyone involved played their part, Alan Pardew deserves a huge amount of credit for getting his tactics spot on.

Pardew has spent three years in charge of the Toon, yet still divides opinion amongst Geordie fans.  His critics will tell you that he’s tactically inept, but he proved otherwise in the red half of Manchester.

Newcastle went into this match on the back of a heavy 3-0 defeat away at Swansea. Pardew held his hands up and took the blame for some of the decisions on that night as he showed vulnerability in his tactics.

His starting XI to face Manchester United saw one change and what a vital one it was. Vurnon Anita came in for Shola Ameobi and Newcastle deployed a 4-5-1 formation.

Loic Remy played on his own up-front and worked tirelessly, but the game was always going to be won in the centre of the park and that’s something Pardew recognised prior to the game.

Pardew set out to control the game with Anita, Cheick Tiote and match-winner Yohan Cabaye playing in a tight midfield three with Moussa Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran either side of them.

The centre of midfield is where Manchester United were weakest and this was exploited by the dominant Tiote who was man of the match on the day.  The unfamiliar duo of Phil Jones and Tom Cleverly started in the centre of a flat midfield four for Manchester United and they were unable to keep possession as they were constantly harried by Newcastle’s hard-working trio.

It wasn’t just Pardew’s pre-game tactics that prevailed, the decisions made during the match were also key and as the game went on at 0-0, Pardew sensed blood as the Manchester United defence began to rock.

Seizing the opportunity to record Newcastle’s first Premier League win at Old Trafford, just before the hour mark Pardew released French maverick Hatem Ben Arfa onto the pitch to replace Gouffran – a bold decision given Gouffran’s recent form.

But it paid off and once again Pardew nailed it tactically. Ben Arfa looked a real threat going forward with his trickery and gave Newcastle a breather with his running. He also tracked back and did his bit defensively.

Geordies no longer had to dream of a win at the Theatre of Dreams, it was a reality thanks to a goal from Cabaye.

Manchester United and David Moyes’ wavering ways will grab the headlines, but such a discredit to Newcastle and Pardew would be unfair as he masterminded the club’s first victory at Old Trafford since 1972.