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Opinion

Manchester United 4 Newcastle United 1 as Steve Bruce luck finally runs out

4 weeks ago
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It ended Manchester United 4 Newcastle United 1 as luckily the home side strolled through the last 40 minutes or so.

Steve Bruce’s luck finally running out after leading a charmed life in recent times.

Gifting possession more importantly control to the opposition is no long-term plan, especially when it leads to minimal chances for your own side.

Today Newcastle had their usual couple of decent chances with Joelinton playing in Gayle who should have scored but blazed over, before then Matty Longstaff made no mistake a minute later. Joelinton once again involved, running on to Longstsaff’s lofted path before holding off Maguire and laying it off to the younger brother who made no mistake from 12 yards.

That though is where any positive play ended and the home side dominated after a poor opening 20 minutes. You could see though why in those early stages why Man Utd had not kept a clean sheet in the previous 13 PL games.

Newcastle have repeatedly picked up points due to solid defending, reliable goalkeeping, opposition teams missing chance after chance and massive doses of luck. They all turned tonight.

Dubravka should have saved at his near post for the first, Schar gave possession away for the second, Willems made a feeble attempt to stop the cross for the third. All three ruthlessly punished today as Man Utd lapped up the gifts and the gifted control of the game.

Six minutes after the break it was more of the same as Sean Longstaff’s weak backpass played in Martial for a cool finish.

The line-up indicated possibly this game was being sacrificed in favour of Everton on Saturday, with Shelvey, Hayden and Carroll all rested, whilst Gayle was given his first start and the Longstaff brothers thrown back in together despite only one start between them in the last eight and a half weeks.

If Newcastle win on Saturday then decision justified but as many clubs below¬† picked up points today and only seven points to relegation now, defeat to Everton and cruel results elsewhere will have Steve Bruce and his players looking over their shoulders ahead of Leicester on New Year’s day.

For what it is worth, I thought Joelinton and Almiron did ok. However, I thought both Longstaff brothers struggled with the difficult task set them and Willems was probably the weakest of all, a worrying trend as after a very good start recent games have seen him below average.

The centre-backs and Dubravka may have all had a mistake in them but as the game progressed they prevented the scoreline getting really embarrassing.

Just as well that there is another game so quick, as Man Utd could have really turned the screw.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Manchester United 4 Newcastle United 1 – Thursday 26 December 5.30pm

Goals:

Man Utd:

Martial 24,51, Greenwood 36, Rashford 41

Newcastle United:

Matty Longstaff 17

Possession was Man Utd 74%, Newcastle 26%

Total shots were Man Utd 22 , Newcastle 7

Shots on target were Man Utd 10, Newcastle 2

Corners were Man Utd 5, Newcastle 0

Crowd: 73,206 (3,000 NUFC)

Referee: Kevin Friend

Newcastle United team v Manchester United:

Dubravka, Manquillo, Schar (Krafth 88), Lejeune, Fernandez, Willems, Matty Longstaff, Sean Longstaff, Almiron (Yedlin 63), Joelinton, Gayle (Atsu 59)

Unused Subs

Darlow, Carroll, Shelvey, Hayden

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