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Manchester United 4 Newcastle United 1 – Key thoughts from the match

2 weeks ago
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Well, just to make an already difficult game that much harder, Ronaldo started the game.

On top of that, I was a little thrown by the centre-backs (apart from Lascelles) dropped, with Clark and Hayden coming in for Schar and Fernandez.

Whilst Manquillo brought in to shore up the wing-back areas but not Lewis.

Confusing…but when has this club not endeavoured to be as confusing as possible?

The start was one we all expected, defending desperately against a dominant Man U, although the first shot of the game came from a Newcastle player…and Joelinton at that (too bad it ended up closer to the edge of the six yard box than the goal).

CR7, maybe not wanting to be upstaged, also shanked the ball off target not two minutes later, then hit the side netting on the ten minute mark. It all then became quite tame, with no real attempts either way. Man U dominating possession,, whilst ASM and Almiron were springing a couple of counter attacks that came to nothing.

The closest real attempt in the first 20 mins was a Varane header that flashed across goal, with no one able to turn it in. A few minutes later, a deflected Almiron strike sat up really nicely for Ritchie, forcing De Gea into a good save from a long distance strike.

Another couple of half chances came our way but we were unable to really take advantage of them, then just past the half hour mark, Man U got their first proper chance. Sancho’s shot deflecting just wide of the post, after ASM was hauled to the ground by Pogba (with no foul given, of course) allowing a Man U breakaway.

A brilliant Almiron and ASM counter pulled us up the pitch after United had camped in our final third for a number of minutes, winning a free kick up the pitch, which came to nothing in the end. A hearts in mouth moment followed up, with ASM again springing a counter which led to Longstaff tumbling in the box, followed by a Man U counter attack in turn, with CR7 unable to get a shot off after being smothered.

Much the same for the rest of the first half, until the inevitable goal from the returning Ronaldo…a scruffy tap in following a spilled shot from Greenwood, but a goal nonetheless.

Second half looked to be much of the same, Man U dominating possession and almost scoring from the off with a Wan-Bissaka cross being inches away from being tapped in. Trying to play on the counter is limited when there are too few NUFC players getting forward.

Ritchie attempted to fizz a cross into the box but with far too much on it, coming to nothing. Another break and finally some end product and the most unlikely of goalscorers, not Joelinton but Manquillo! A great breakaway from Almiron setting up ASM, then a tremendous run from Manquillo ends with his first goal in 85 Newcastle United appearances!

Moments later, another fantastic breakaway from Almiron was inches away from ASM, a great response from going a goal down in the dying moments of the first half.

Giving the ball away again, the chance for Shaw to play in that man again, marking his (re) debut with a (second) bang.

After more Man u pressure, Joelinton found himself stumbling into the box, drawing a save from De Gea. Rome wasn’t built in a day…back on form a moment later, giving the ball away under pressure.

Back to regular viewing with MUFC dominating possession, though wary of a NUFC counter attack.

Next big passage of play was on the 80 minute mark, as Maguire deflected an ASM shot away for a corner, which came out to Murphy for a long range shot, easily saved, and quickly distributed for another counter, leading eventually to a Fernandes wonder goal from 25 yards out for 3-1.

Murphy had come on for Manquillo on 77 minutes at 2-1 down, not really sure what (if anything) is in Bruce’s head on that change, Gayle might not be up to much but might as well throw him on. Then the dearth of quality was shown as Man U brought on Martial and Van De Beek for Greenwood and Fernandes, whilst we brought on Lewis and (shudders) Hendrick for Clark and Willock…. Clearly Bruce has been on a managerial masterclass no one else can understand. Lingard’s goal came after the game was dead, a harsh result based on our performance.

Here are my key thoughts from the match.

Defending = much improved

In the first half, our defence was unrecognisable – tight, clinical and no-nonsense.

Clark and Hayden coming in really did help in restricting Man U’s attempts, only a lucky toe poke stopping us going into the end of the first half honours even. Even with the second half goals, one was a wonder strike no one could do anything about, another was brought on by a poor pass from Longstaff in the midfield. Maybe this should be the defence we need going forward, if only we’d brought in another defensive midfielder in, so we could spare Hayden as a centre back…

Lack of clinical finishing clear

We were clearly lacking a proven number nine in this match, shown by the amount of counter-attacks we had with no end product.

With ASM being the only focal point and expected to do everything, then Joelinton always pulling out to the left and bereft of the calm first touch, pace or finishing ability of Wilson…when Wilson is out, we might as well not play a striker.

Almiron = Electric

My MOTM by the hour mark, Almiron is always known for his work rate, but he was genuinely everywhere today.

His breakaways were phenomenal and his speed dragged the whole team up the pitch at times.

Didn’t get anything for his efforts but I don’t think that will stop him going forward.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Manchester United 4 Newcastle United 1 – Saturday 11 September 3pm

Goals:

Newcastle:

Manquillo 56

Man Utd:

Ronaldo 45+2, 62, Fernandes 80, Lingard 90+1

(In brackets the first half stats)

Possession was Man Utd 65% (70%) Newcastle 35% (30%)

Total shots were Man Utd 21 (15)  Newcastle 12 (6)

Shots on target were Man Utd 7 (3) Newcastle 3 (0)

Corners were Man Utd 7 (4) Newcastle 3 (1)

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Newcastle United:

Woodman, Manquillo (Murphy 77), Hayden, Lascelles, Clark (Lewis 84), Ritchie, Sean Longstaff, Almiron, Willock (Hendrick 85), Saint-Maximin, Joelinton

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Schar, Krafth, Fernandez, White, Gayle

Steve Bruce refuses to answer holiday question Newcastle United fans are asking after latest hammering – Read HERE

Manchester United 4 Newcastle United 1 – Ronaldo takes reds top as Bruce has NUFC in relegation zone – Read HERE

Manchester United 4 Newcastle United 1 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Saturday’s hammering – Read HERE

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