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Three-match ban looms over Van Persie for Cabaye ‘elbow’

NEWCASTLE manager Alan Pardew has accused Robin van Persie of elbowing Yohan Cabaye and wants the Football Association to look at the incident where they clashed in Manchester United’s win at St James’ Park.

Pardew was left fuming by a late off-the-ball clash between United’s Dutch striker and France international Cabaye which went unseen by referee Howard Webb.

Pointing the finger of blame at Van Persie, who was involved in a spat with Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul last season, Pardew said: “He has looked at Yohan and he has elbowed him, and I think that perhaps needs to be looked at. There’s a bit of history from last year and I don’t know if Robin has been caught up in that, but that was just a little bit unsavoury.

“I actually thought Yohan wouldn’t have gone down if he hadn’t done something. I didn’t see it myself, but I have obviously seen it on the replay and it looks like he has looked at him and put his elbow there.”

Van Persie could be hit with a retrospective three-match ban from the FA if he is found to have lashed out.

Meanwhile, Van Persie’s strike partner Wayne Rooney will not lose any sleep over his lack of goals as long as the Red Devils carry on winning. The England frontman turned in a fine individual display in yesterday’s 3-0 Premier League victory over the Magpies as he continued his quest for full match fitness following a thigh injury, but he has yet to open his season’s account.

However, after seeing defenders Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra and midfielder Tom Cleverley do the damage on Tyneside, he insists he is not concerned over his mini-drought.

Rooney said: “Not at all. As long as we keep winning – we have got players who can score goals for us. I am not concerned. If it comes, it comes. If not, as long as we are winning, I’m not really concerned about that.”

Rooney played at the peak of a

midfield diamond as Alex Ferguson came up with a system designed to combat Newcastle’s threat. The plan paid off, but United were aided by the Magpies’ generosity as their defence succumbed meekly on two occasions inside the opening 16 minutes to allow Evans and Evra to head corners past stranded goalkeeper Steve Harper.

Pardew’s men belatedly found

their rhythm and might have been back in it within five minutes of the restart when Demba Ba headed against the bar and Papiss Cisse saw his follow-up effort clawed out with the help of the post by David de Gea.

But the game was over 19 minutes from time when Cleverley curled a shot from the left wing across

Harper and into the top corner.

Ferguson was not convinced the youngster meant it, but was nevertheless delighted with his team’s display. He said: “I don’t think Tom was trying a shot, I think he was going for a cross, but it dipped and goes right into the top corner, so you have to give him credit.”