3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Manchester United 3 Newcastle United 1
Sunday night ended Manchester United 3 Newcastle United 1.
Ahead of each match we ask one of our writers to come up with 3 positives and 3 negatives following the game.
This time it is David Punton.
POSITIVES (Warning: there weren’t many!)
If we are going to stand a chance of beating the drop then Allan Saint-Maximin is going to be a crucial player. That goal proved it.
He has to be a talisman for this team over the course of the run in and we saw at Old Trafford that he has the quality.
Fans 1 Pundits 0
Newcastle supporters have been right all along about Steve Bruce.
It’s nothing personal, but as a football manager, he’s coming up well short of the mark.
Pundits have been telling us for months what a great job he’s doing. Well, I see a few now backtracking rapidly after a ten point gap to Fulham has been whittled down to just three and we have a worse goal difference than the cottagers by six.
The First Half
It’s all very much doom and gloom at the moment but if you want to find a positive, then that first half at Old Trafford was the tonic.
Newcastle United held their own and created chances.
They need to find that form during the run in, which really kind of starts now, with the Chelsea and Man Utd games out of the way.
Quite simple: the manager.
Steve Bruce. Twelve defeats from 16 games. He’s overseen a fall from mid-table to a relegation battle. It’s just not good enough.
The club hate criticism but the fact remains that they had a proper project with Rafa Benitez. He offered stability.
Bruce offers neither and even his interviews are just cliched claptrap. He doesn’t look like he enjoys the job. He always looks downcast and bereft of ideas. Subs and selection always seem flawed.
Players just seem to be told go out on the pitch and give it a go.
The Forward Line
With Callum Wilson in the treatment room, where are the goals going come from?
Gayle was dropped for this game and the hapless Brazilian in the number 9 jersey once again fluffed his chances before getting a knock.
We need goals and I can’t see where they come from.
Karl Darlow has been great amid a very hard season. He can be pleased with his performances. He stepped in for Dubravka and has been solid.
However…I just wonder if now is the right time to bring back the player who we all see as the recognised number one.
The goals left me thinking it is time to call on Dubravka to calm down the defence a bit better.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Manchester United 3 Newcastle United 1 – Sunday 21 February 7pm
Rashford 30, James 57, Fernandes 75 pen
(Half-time stats in brackets)
Possession was Man Utd 72% (73%) Newcastle 28% (27%)
Total shots were Man Utd 15 (5) Newcastle 10 (6)
Shots on target were Man Utd 7 (2) Newcastle 6 (4)
Corners were Man Utd 6 (1) Newcastle 4 (4)
Referee: Paul Tierney
Darlow, Krafth, Lascelles, Clark, Lewis, Willock, Hayden, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin (Murphy 77), Almiron (Gayle 79), Joelinton (Fraser 55)
Dubravka, Dummett, Carroll, Ritchie, Hendrick, Sean Longstaff
(Steve Bruce refuses to name points safety target but this is what it is – Read HERE)
(Manchester United 3 Newcastle United 1 match report – Still no sign of Steve Bruce being sacked – Read HERE)
(Manchester United 3 Newcastle United 1 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)
(Manchester United 3 Newcastle United 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Sunday’s defeat – Read HERE)
(Toon For Change official statement – Sack Steve Bruce, he must go before it is too late – Read HERE)
You can follow the author on Twitter @DavePunton
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