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Opinion

A tale of two benches – Manchester United 3 Newcastle United 2

1 year ago
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It finished Manchester United 3 Newcastle United 2, a dramatic turnaround in a game that could have seen far more goals at both ends.

Newcastle were dominant in the first half as whilst Man Utd might have had more possession, it was the visitors who had the cutting edge and should have had more than their two goals. As well as missed chances and saves from De Gea, a shocking moment saw referee Anthony Taylor (from just around the corner in Altrincham…) not even watching as Young handled for a clear penalty.

In contrast, Manchester United only had a Rashford header that went wide, in terms of coming close to scoring before the break.

So what was behind this ‘inspirational’ comeback…?

Well, no wonder the top/rich clubs are continually pushing for more and more subs to be able to be used in a match.

Manchester United brought on Mata (£40m), Fellaini (£29m) and Sanchez (£30m and is paid half a million a week!). Bear in mind as well that the fees for Mata and Fellaini were paid five years ago and average prices have rocketed since.

Mata scored the brilliant free-kick that got Man Utd back in the game, Sanchez scored the winner, whilst Fellaini came on and was very effective as he bullied a tiring Newcastle team.

If more than three subs were allowed, we could have seen Fred (£53m) and Lindelof (£31m) also brought on, those five players costing the best part of £200m.

In contrast, Newcastle United’s entire 18 man matchday squad cost around £100m. Around about as much as Lukaku or Pogba cost, once you throw in agent fees and so on.

Whilst Jose Mourinho fund inspiration from his bench, Rafa Benitez looked behind him, budget buys and basically players who aren’t even Premier League standard.

Newcastle’s ‘big’ buy in summer 2017 was £10m (could rise to £12m depending on hitting targets…) Jacob Murphy, Rafa forced to replace an injured Kenedy which took away much of our attacking on the break threat, within eight minutes Man Utd were level.

Atsu (£6m) was brought on at 2-2 and was absolutely abysmal, a clear example of what you get when forced to shop in the ‘bargain’ section…

As for Joselu (£5m), he would still be struggling for a place on Stoke’s bench and they are now in the Championship.

The likes of Schar (£3m), Hayden (£4m), Clark (£5m) and Darlow (£4m) were the other options off the bench.

Some people might ask why Rafa didn’t bring on defensive players?

Well, Newcastle were being forced back continuously and so they needed to try and have at least something on the pitch to try and hurt the poor home defence when the opportunity came.

Manchester United bring on top class players who improved their team, Newcastle sadly weakened their team with every substitution.

A cripplingly weak squad that is totally down to Mike Ashley.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Manchester United 3 Newcastle United 2

Goals:

Newcastle: Kenedy 7, Muto 10

Man Utd: Mata 70, Martial 76, Sanchez 90

Possession was Man Utd 73% Newcastle 27%

Total shots were  Man Utd 18 Newcastle 13

Shots on target were Man Utd 10 Newcastle 8

Corners were  Man Utd 10 Newcastle 6

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Manquillo, Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey, Kenedy (Murphy 68), Perez (Joselu 88), Muto (Atsu 78)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Clark, Schar, Hayden

Crowd: 74,519 (NUFC Approx 3,000)

(Alan Shearer blames referee for Newcastle not beating Man Utd – Read Here)

(NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s cruel defeat Here)

(Match ratings of all NUFC players for the defeat at Old Trafford Here)

(Positives and Negatives from the match Here)
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