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Ratings: Pogba on MOTM performance to lead Manchester United to victory

Manchester United beat Newcastle United 4-1 at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday evening. It was the Magpies who scored the opening goal in the 14th minute of the match after Dwight Gayle took advantage of a slip by Victor Lindelof, scoring the first Premier League goal against the club in over ten hours of football.

United persevered for an equaliser, and despite trying, it was not coming anytime soon. Anthony Martial struck home in the 37th minute after a precise cross from Paul Pogba, who returned from injury in this match, with the French winger heading across the line to level the score.

United did not give up at that point as it was one-way traffic from the equaliser and United, taking advantage of a short corner, took the lead in the first of three minutes of added time with Ashley Young providing the cross and Chris Smalling scoring the goal which put the Red Devils ahead for the first time in the match.

There were no changes from either side at the start of the second half but United were picking up where they left off – dominating. It took less than ten minutes for United to score their third goal, which came from the foot of Pogba who was set up with a sublime header across the goal from Rashford.

United, after making a change – Pogba off for Marouane Fellaini, scored their fourth goal through Romelu Lukaku, who was back on the scoresheet for United. Another change was forthcoming with Zlatan Ibrahimovic making his return from injury, Anthony Martial making way for the big Swede. United made their third and final change in the 83rd minute with Ander Herrera replacing Juan Mata.

It was a comprehensive victory for United, especially after going a goal down, and sets them up nicely for their fifth UEFA Champions League group stage match with Basel in Switzerland, needing a point to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition next year – with a game spare to blood in the youth, should it all go to plan.

Goals: Anthony Martial 37′, Chris Smalling 45+1′, Paul Pogba 54′, Romelu Lukaku 70′

Assists: Paul Pogba 37′, Ashley Young 45+1′, Marcus Rashford 54′, Juan Mata 70′

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Young; Matic, Pogba (Fellaini 70′); Rashford, Mata (Herrera 83′), Martial (Ibrahimovic 77′); Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Rojo, Shaw; Lingard

Bookings: Chris Smalling 67′

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

There was little he could do to stop Gayle from scoring. He made up for it was a sublime save later on though. Shame he could not have had the clean sheet, but a win is a win.

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25 Antonio Valencia

Valencia played his part defensively and in attack, gettinf forward a lot of the time as Newcastle rarely created anything which needed him to react. United dominated the game, moreso after conceding.

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2 Victor Lindelof

I was not convinced by the Swede who unfortunately slipped which allowed Gayle in to score the opening goal, not that it got Newcastle far. His passing was good at 97% and he created two chances, so it is not all doom and gloom for Lindelof.

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Chris Smalling

Did well defensively, despte conceding, but when a teammate slips, you can't gain much ground in so little time to avert what was coming. Scored a sublime header to put United ahead and helped United control the game in the second half.

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18 Ashley Young

Assisted for Smalling with a great cross into the box for the defender to head into the back of the net. Played well in the left-back role and casts more doubt on Luke Shaw and his future at the club.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Did what he needed to do in the centre of the pitch. Showed his worth without trying to get too much attention, the way he wants it to be. Helped his side get the win they deserved, despite going 1-0 down in the opening 15 minutes.

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6 Paul Pogba

Man of the Match for me. Made an impact from the start of the match, showed United what was missing. Scored a simple tap in and assisted, so did what he needed to do to get his team the three poimts. Glad he is back. Just needs to remain fit throughout the busy Festive period.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Was the creator for many chances, including some of his own. Played in a great headed assist for Pogba's tap in. Played the team game, not getting on the scoresheet himself.

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8 Juan Mata

Started off in the number ten role, then moved into the flank. Created a lot of the play for United. Mata is back to his best. Assisted Lukaku's goal in the 70th minute, before coming off himself.

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9 Anthony Martial

Scored United equaliser with a great header which beat the keeper, assisted by Pogba. Played his part in the victory and Mourinho will be proud of him.

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Romelu Lukaku

Got his goal after a drought sandwiched between two international breaks. Back with his best friend on and off the pitch which will benefit United a lot more.

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Substitutes

27 Marouane Fellaini

Replaced Pogba. Did what he needed to do and stood in well for Pogba.

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10 Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Replaced Marial. Made his return a day short of seven months out. Could have scored a volleyed bicycle kick goal. Unlucky not to get on the scoresheet. Glad to have him, his experience and that inner lion back.

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21 Ander Herrera

Replaced Mata. Helped United maintain control of the game. Did what was needed at the time.

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copyright: JW

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