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Manchester United 0 Newcastle United 0 – The three big points that I’m taking from the match

1 year ago
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Manchester United 0 Newcastle United 0 – Sunday 16 October 2pm

After a really positive couple of weeks, with nine goals scored in two games and far more cohesive team performances, it was hard not to go into today’s game feeling positive.

Obviously there was always the awareness that the officials would be on the Manchester side, especially with the game being at Old Trafford, but I was looking forward to putting up a fight and possibly even humbling the entitled “big six” member.

The team news was fairly unsurprising, given the recent news of setbacks for Isak and ASM, with the only change seeing Joelinton and Willock switch places between bench and starting 11. Shelvey back on the bench might give a different dynamic in midfield late in the game and the bench itself looking a lot healthier than it has done in previous seasons.

The first half started as expected, with pressing from NUFC, whilst Man U dominated possession in the first few minutes. First dramatic moment of the match on 10 minutes as Varane stuck an arm out to stop Wilson’s run into the box (tripped him as well for good measure) not a penalty apparently. Jared Gillett on VAR, if you’re wondering…

Following that, a couple of corners not really testing De Gea too badly, and on the 21st minute a Trippier free kick led to Joelinton hitting not just the bar or the post, but the bar, AND then the post! Hearts in mouths time all round but score remaining 0-0.

More confusing VAR non-usage as Varane again involved, almost having Burn’s shirt off his back in the box, followed by a few handbags between Wilson and Martinez. Pope tested in the 38th minute with a low shot from Sancho, Man United’s first shot on target. All in all a pretty even first half, Newcastle edging the chances but Man U having the better of possession.

The second half started with the same frantic pressing, a turnover leading to a shot from Wilson being sent narrowly wide within the first couple of minutes. Ronaldo putting the ball in the net a few minutes later but an absolute country mile offside. To compound his petulance, he was then yellow carded for ignoring the rules of how free kicks work, taking the ball from Pope and smashing into an empty net as if the rules of the game don’t apply to him.

Sean Longstaff getting away with one as he trips Antony in the box- one for one – a rare occurrence.

Getting a bit bitty as various fouls committed on both sides, changing the flow of the game, but chances still few and far between, with Longstaff’s tame effort not challenging De Gea on the 70th minute.

Triple changes made in the 77th by Newcastle to try and force the issue, with Wood, Targett and Willock on for Wilson, Bruno and Burn.

Willock immediately winning a corner, a clear shooting chance blazed high by Almiron.

Moving into the final 10 minutes and a Rashford free kick blazed over the bar, followed by more midfield battles and another effort wasted, this time by Willock.

At the death and a teeth clenching moment as Rashford beats Pope, only for his cutback to Fred to be skewed horribly wide a lucky escape.

Five minutes of desperate defending and a Rashford header inexplicably wide of the post, but we did enough to see the game out and that was that, a fair point given each team’s performance.

Here are my three key points that I am taking from the game:

Press, press press

The pressing system was really on show today, with pressure being put on the Man U defence from minute one, even away from home.

They got lucky a few time but this level of pressure on every opposition in every game, goals will come from it.

Professional display

Everyone played their part today, enduring a game that was frustrating in parts, but giving their utmost to help the team to a decent result and performance.

Contrast that with a certain Man U player, stropping over being substituted, trying to steal goals then complaining when he has to abide by usual rules.

Say what you like about certain of our players but they’re all pulling in the same direction.

Strong defence the key

One thing that we could not be accused of this season is allowing a lot of goals and our defensive solidity was on show again.

Botman, Schar, Burn and Trippier were all fantastic, meaning that Pope was hardly called into action, especially in the first half.

Longstaff also put in a great defensive display, his workrate on show just as other midfielders are coming back to fitness, to try and keep his place in the team.

A positive display and onwards we go to Wednesday.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Manchester United 0 Newcastle United 0 – Sunday 16 October 2pm

Goals:

Newcastle United:

Man U:

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Man U 63% (62%) Newcastle 37% (38%)

Total shots were Man U 15 (6) Newcastle 9 (7)

Shots on target were Man U 2 (1) Newcastle 2 (2)

Corners were Man U 4 (3) Newcastle 4 (3)

Referee: Craig Pawson

Newcastle United:

Pope, Trippier, Schar (Lascelles 90+1), Botman, Burn (Targett 78), Longstaff, Bruno (Willock 78), Joelinton, Murphy (Fraser 59), Almiron, Wilson (Wood 78)

Unused Subs:

Karius, Shelvey, Lewis, Anderson

(Manchester United 0 Newcastle United 0 – The instant NUFC fan / writer reaction – Read HERE)

(Manchester United 0 Newcastle United 0 – A great point but Joelinton holding his head (twice!) and penalty on Wilson? – Read HERE)

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