Having drawn their last 2 Premier League games, Manchester United need to win their clash against Newcastle United to reclaim their 2nd place spot in the table. They were able to do so with a 3-1 win after a rather topsy-turvy performance. After a flat start, the Red Devils took the lead in the 30th-minute after Marcus Rashford’s powerful attempt went through Karl Darlow’s grasp.
But Newcastle kept asking questions of United’s defence and hit back six minutes later, when Allan Saint-Maximin blasted in the equalizer with an emphatic strike. Despite looking cagey all game, United woke up in the second half regained their lead in the 57th minute when Dan James slammed the ball into the back of the net from close range.
United then sealed the deal with a penalty from Bruno Fernandes in the 75th – taking his PL goal tally to 15! That was enough to give the Red Devils a win – meaning they get to keep their place in the 2nd spot for the time being – with big games against Chelsea & Man City ahead.
Manchester United player ratings vs Newcastle
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (7.0)–
Solskjaer saw his side start in extremely flat, lethargic fashion and was lucky to see them not go a goal down in the first half. But his pep talk at half time worked wonders, with United playing much more positively in the second half and looking more like themselves in that half. His decision to start James worked well, as did playing Matic.
But he still needs to stop blindly trusting some of the underperforming stars for United to consistently win games going forward. Still, a good win for his side after weeks of frustrating results that takes pressure off him & the lads before some big games.
David de Gea (6.5) –
De Gea makes a brilliant instinct save in the 2nd minute itself after failing to hold onto an awkward cross. Then grabs onto Almiron’s powerful attempt pretty well in the 27th. Pulls off a stunning reflex stop to parry away Saint-Maximin’s stinging shot in the 34th.
Only to concede minutes later. Looking back at it, he should’ve done better to intercept that cross even before Maguire could head it straight to the Newcastle man. But his shot-stopping ability was unquestioned as he made some good saves to help keep his side in the game. Still needs to be braver in collecting crosses going forward.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (6.5) –
AWB scored his first PL goal against Newcastle and tried repeat that in the 28th with an ambitious left-footed drive that went straight into the keeper’s arms. Didn’t have to do much in the attack because of James, but held his own defensively. Kept Saint-Maximin as quiet as possible after his strike, nullifying a big Newcastle threat.
Harry Maguire (6.5) –
The United captain gets a very fortunate assist for Rashford’s goal. Maybe he got too overconfident of that and played the ball straight to Saint-Maximin for his strike. Nearly made up by almost scoring in the 83rd, but his strong header was saved well. To his credit, apart from that (possible) error leading to the equalizer, Maguire was very solid defensively and played some great forward passes to orchestrate attacks as well.
Victor Lindelof (6.0) –
After his error last week, Lindelof still looks weary against Newcastle’s pacy attackers. After a sloppy start, he picked up rather decently by keeping Joelinton quiet and then dealing with some attacks well. Not really challenged much in the second half and had it easy for majority of the game.
Luke Shaw (7.0) –
With assists in his last 3 games, Shaw looks to continue his creative form today as well. To his credit, Luke did everything right trying to get his assist and put in some lovely crosses, creating 5 scoring chances!! Nullified Newcastle’s threat through the left and looked an energetic presence going up & down the left.
Nemanja Matic (7.0) –
Matic starts today with every other CM injured today and is operating at a frustrating, pedestrian pace. Woke up in the second half and showed more encouragement going forward, playing the ball in to force James’ strike. Defensively he was great, broke up multiple attacks and helped United control the game – and more importantly seeing through the win in the end.
Fred (4.0) –
Having shined in the game vs Real Sociedad, Fred really needs to be more creative to drive United forward today with no McTominay or Pogba playing. Looks nervous and slow today and really should’ve done better to stop Saint-Maximin from taking the shot for his goal. Takes a surging shot from long in the 40th but only to see it saved.
To make things worse, he AGAIN takes a shot with his right-foot in the 77th that soars into the rafters. Struggled to make any difference in the attack and looked flat creatively. Can’t be trusted in this #6 role anymore.
Bruno Fernandes (7.5) –
Bruno will aim to boost his pursuit for the Golden Boot against a vulnerable Newcastle side today. Could hardly get in the box in the first because of his fellow sluggish midfielder forcing Fernandes to drop back and try creating chances. Gets the luckiest assist of his season when his flick off Matic’s pass went through for James to score.
And then gets the goal he was looking for with a smart penalty. He’s now scored+assisted for United in 9 PL games this season – the most managed by any player in this league over the LAST 9 SEASONS! Not his bestest performance, but what an absurdly good player.
Anthony Martial (4.0) –
Just finish your chances today, Anthony! Just looks so rusty up front, not being able to control passes properly to get at the end of any chance. Finally gets a scoring chance in the 60th, but his powerful drive was saved well. Apart from that, he looked lacklustre all game long and tried being fancy in situations he didn’t have to. Looks shot of confidence as well.
Dan James (7.0) –
After having gotten a goal+assist on Thursday, James gets a deserved (?) start in the Premier League. Probably United’s most energetic attacker in the first half, but his predictable work in the final third keeps holding him back. But he didn’t miss when he got a prime scoring chance, blasting the ball in from close range to put United back into the lead.
Worked tirelessly hard and got his reward in the end. His final product still needs a bit of glistening, but the promising performance proves he should play more going forward.
Marcus Rashford (8.5) –
Rashy absolutely Emile Kraft today and darted forward with vigour. Nutmegs Kraft and then scores a brilliant strike to open the scoring. Moved through the left-wing with utmost confidence and then tried to get another in the 64th, but his attempt from long-range was saved.
Earned the penalty for Bruno too! He was just unplayable today with his work on the left, doing (almost) everything right. Proved why he shouldn’t really play anywhere but on the left with an excellent shift today.
Mason Greenwood (6.0) –
Got a decent scoring chance after Fernandes’ goal but powered a shot over from outside the box. Drifted away from goal despite playing as a centre-forward and couldn’t get into as many goal-scoring areas as he’d like to have late on.
Juan Mata (N/R) –
Made a few decent passes after coming on late into the game.
Shola Shoretire (N/R) –
The 17-year-old highly-rated youth academy product makes his United debut. Only got a few touches, but what a day for the young lad! Hope he gets more opportunities going forward.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Rashford was simply unplayable today. Yeah, some will talk about him ‘diving’ (it wasn’t) for the penalty, but he was just too good today. Definitely the MOTM for today.