Manchester United are in dire need of a win against Newcastle United after that nightmarish loss to Tottenham Hotspur before the international break. They had to work hard, but eventually got a big 4-1 win, giving the Red Devils a huge boost in momentum & taking some pressure off Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s back.
But they began the game in horrific fashion, going behind after Luke Shaw’s deflected a cross into his own net in the 2nd minute to gift Newcastle an early lead. The Red Devils were awoken by that and quickly gained control of the game before getting the equalizer in the 23rd minute through Harry Maguire’s emphatic header. United then found help from VAR and won a penalty in the 58th minute, which was wasted by Bruno Fernandes – who saw his first penalty saved after joining the club!
Bruno turned from villain to hero in the 86th minute, linking up brilliantly with Marcus Rashford before finishing off a terrific counter-attack for United to put them in the lead. The Red Devils put the game to bed in the 90th minute, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka popping into the box and powering in a strong effort to make it 3-1!
Rashford then got his deserved goal in the dying moments with a clever finish from another quick-break, getting a brilliant 4-1 win which will serve as a much-needed confidence booster for United to hold their own in the daunting games in the next two weeks.
Manchester United Player Ratings
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (7.0) –
Ole makes 5 changes from the team that lost to Spurs, but still many questions linger around. Why Van de Beek isn’t starting remains the biggest. But it ended up being exactly the adrenaline shot in the arm everyone needed, as United played much better than they have in recent weeks. Playing Rashford in the #9 role also worked well, as did playing the experienced Mata – who dictated a lot of their attacks.
Ole’s subs worked perfectly today and played a part in the late goals, while his ability to peg his side to get the win despite nervy moments are appreciable. With questions raised on his jobs, this win will help Solskjaer regain some self-confidence ahead of a flurry of ‘big games’ ahead.
David de Gea (8.0) –
De Gea was caught surprised for Shaw’s own-goal but denied Newcastle a second in the 30th, making a strong save off Saint-Maximin’s shot and even hurting him in the process. Fortunately, he carries on. Makes another insane save to deny Wilson in the 50th, showcasing insane reflexes to deny a sure goal. Parries out Shelvey’s attempt in the 68th superbly.
Had shades of ‘Superman Dave’ in him today and his clutch saves motivated the players to get a pretty solid win in the end.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (7.5)-
Wan-Bissaka seems to be primed to face the dangerous Saint-Maximin today, but remains bit nervy going forward. His cross/shot almost resulted in a goal in the 36th, forcing a strong save off Darlow. Takes another swipe at goal around the hour-mark, only to see it saved. It was third time lucky for Spider-wan, who played a clever one-two with Rashford before blasting in his first United goal in emphatic fashion.
He dealt pretty well with Saint-Maximin, making 2 tackles and 2 interceptions. But it was his much-improved attacking output that was the brightest thing about his compelling performance.
Harry Maguire (8.0) –
Maguire gets the start despite a poor run of form. But he looks determined to silence his doubters and started the game well before getting the equalizer with a super header from Mata’s corner. Has another impressive header cleared off the line after Bruno’s penalty. Mauraded forward before taking an ambitious shot in the 80th, only to see it zip wide.
Defensively, Maguire rarely put a wrong foot in and made Wilson’s life pretty difficult by winning almost every duel. Made a few brilliant interceptions to drive his side forward and led from the front. A proper captain’s performance & more of what is needed from him.
Victor Lindelof (6.5) –
Back into the starting XI today after being benched for the Spurs game. Lindelof looked really comfortable with an inspired Maguire in the backline and ensured Newcastle didn’t cause any nerves. Made some clutch challenges and clearances in the backline, while moving the ball forward pretty well. A much more composed performance than before.
Luke Shaw (6.0) –
With Alex Telles gunning for his spot, Shaw might’ve made things easier for him with a horrible start to the game, scoring an own-goal due to his lazy defending of Emil Kraft’s cross. After that, he put in a more assertive performance by ensuring not many attacks through his side and not making more mistakes.
But still lacked that cutting edge going forward, despite making some good runs. Needs to improve or risk losing his place.
Fred (6.5) –
Fred looks really sharp in midfield today, pinging some nice passes forward and helping keep things fluid in midfield. Holding things together for United in the middle. Had a big chance to take a proper shot at goal in the 52nd, but his attempt went horribly wide. The Brazilian worked really hard, regaining possession and hassling Newcastle’s defenders with his energetic style.
Scott McTominay (7.0) –
Pressing Newcastle’s midfielders really well early on to help United keep hold of possession. Making good use of his physicality to win duels and denying Newcastle from romping forward. Put a stop to many Newcastle attacks, making key ball recoveries, interceptions and shaking up the opponents with crunching tackles. McTominay created a few good chances with clever passes and inspired his teammates with his bubbling energy.
Bruno Fernandes (7.5) –
Bruno needs to perform well for a United win today and he almost got them the equalizer in the 19th minute, scoring a brilliant strike into the top-corner but only to see it ruled out by VAR. Plays a beautiful through-ball for Mata’s chance in the 23rd. Poor lead-up to the botched penalty, even though it was saved really well.
Just like it seemed this was his worst performance in a United shirt, Fernandes showed his character by not giving up and marauding forward with Rashford before finishing off the counter-attack in superb fashion with a top-corner finish. Picked up a late assist for a pitch-perfect long-ball for Rashford’s strike. Brilliant recovery after that penalty miss to inspire another win for United.
Juan Mata (7.0) –
Mata gets a rare start after his brilliant work in United’s Carabao Cup games recently. Showcased some impressive movement and link-up play with Fernandes in the 19th, but his assist was chalked off after he was caught in an offside position. Almost scored in the 23rd, but his shot was saved. Sets up Maguire’s strike with a gorgeous set-piece.
Played his part in the winner with a wonderful pass to send Rashford forward. Added that extra spark with his clever forward passes in attack and unlocked Newcastle’s backline repeatedly. He should start more PL games for United.
Dan James (6.0) –
James gets a start in his natural left-wing position and looks eager to make an impact, running at Newcastle’s defenders with malicious intent from the get-go. Got in few promising areas and made some good forward runs in the first half but his final product lacked the cutting edge. Flustered out in the second-half and subbed for Van de Beek.
Marcus Rashford (9.0) –
Rashford’s playing in a no.9 role today, where he last played against Liverpool almost a year ago! Took a few swipes at goal early on but only to see both go well wide. Troubling Newcastle’s defenders with his clever movement & direct style. Had a deflected shot cleared off the line around the 37th-minute.
Takes another whipped shot at goal in the 43rd, only to see it saved. Makes a brilliant forward run resulting in a slight foul from a Newcastle player, leading to the penalty. Very unlucky to see it missed though. But he linked-up superbly with Bruno for his goal, running rings around the defenders before playing in his teammate for his goal. Gets another assist b playing in Wan-Bissaka for his strike! Topped off a brilliant performance with a well-deserved goal in the dying moments.
Paul Pogba (6.5) –
Looked much, much better than he did against Spurs and marched United forward with his clever passes. Helped them dominate the late part of the game and see off a comfortable win.
Donny van de Beek (6.5) –
Showcased impressive awareness to get the ball forward and find Mata, kick-starting the counter-attack leading to Bruno’s goal. Looked very good with his off-the-ball movement & link-up play again. Deserves more minutes.
Nemanja Matic (N/R) –
The Serbian helped see off the last few minutes of the game.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Rashford was an absolute terror to Newcastle’s defenders today and came up big when United needed him the most, with 2 assists and a goal! Definitely deserves the MOTM award for his superb performance.