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Report: Paul Pogba inspired Manchester United to beat Newcastle United 4-1 at Old Trafford

Manchester United beat Newcastle United 4-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday evening. Dwight Gayle put the Magpies ahead in the 14th minute of the match with celebration galore from the away corner at the Theatre of Dreams. United struck back via Anthony Martial and Chris Smalling before the end of the first half then with Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku in the second half, sealing the victory against that ‘wee club from the North East’.

Jose Mourinho made four changes to his side which was beaten by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge ahead of the international break. Victor Lindelof made his first Premier League start, Paul Pogba has recovered from his hamstring injury, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial both returned to the starting XI. On the bench, Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are involved and could play their first competitive match since suffering their knee injuries in April.

United started well, aiming to create something to hit that ‘wee club from the North East’. Paul Pogba was obviously going to be rusty after two months out of contention, but it was good to have him back. In the seventh minute, United have an opportunity to strike with Romelu Lukaku firing over the crossbar after Antonio Valencia put in a low cross for the Belgian forward who is looking to end his goal drought for United.

Isaac Hayden was booked for a callous foul on Mata in the 12th minute with United winning a free kick, Hayden’s fifth booking of the season meaning he will be suspended for the next domestic match. The free-kick by United amounted to nothing special with United still pressuring this ‘wee club’. The pressure turned against United with Newcastle breaking forward and Dwight Gayle scoring the opening goal, which was poor from United and a slip by Lindelof who has a long way to making the grade at United so far.

United aimed to get one back as soon as possible after going behind, conceding the first Premier League goal at Old Trafford this season. Mata took a corner with Marcus Rashford’s shot rolling wide of the target. The Magpies broke forward from the goal kick, trying to pressure United into submission, which was possible with this calamitous defence. Mourinho will not be happy if his side is still behind at the break.

In the 19th minute, Jacob Murphy saw his effort on goal head wide of the far post, which meant United were off the hook, in that instance at least. A minute later, Rashford saw his fierce strike flash past the post, which could have been United’s reply. United seemed to be trying and getting nowhere, winning corners and being dispossessed in the final third and gaining the ball closer to their own half.

Newcastle have attacked when they can but defended everything United have thrown at them, which so far has not been anything of note. United eventually got what they needed against their opposition with Anthony Martial scoring the equaliser from a header, assisted by Pogba. United were back in the game and that wee club were not wondering if there was an onslaught coming.

United were giving Newcastle as much as they had received in the final eight minutes of the half with United nearly capitalising from an own goal in the 40th minute of the match. Thre minutes of added time came at the end of the first half with one-way traffic since United scored the equaliser. United won a corner, taken short with Ashley Young getting the ball and crossing it in with Chris Smalling scoring a header with United 2-1 ahead.

The second have gave no changes for either side from the restart and United seemed just as determined to continue where they left of with Newcastle fighting for the ball. United could have scored their third goal in the 50th minute of the match with Martial in the box and the ball being delivered to his feet, seemingly, but unable to stretch and find the back of the net.

United scored the third goal nine minutes into the second half with Pogba getting his goal, a simple tap in which was assisted by a well-times header across the face of the goal by Rashford. Pogba has an assist and a goal on his return to action, showing just what United have been missing. Newcastle made their first substitution with Rolando Aarons replacing Matt Ritchie coming off in the 66th minute.

Newcastle had a speculative effort on target through Murphy in the 67th minute which De Gea saved, giving away a corner. Smalling was booked for a challenge on Hayden, which has delayed proceedings ahead of Newcastle’s corner. Jonjo Shelvey took the corner, which was cleared initially and Valencia had to be strong near the far post. United gathered the ball and went on the attack.

In the 70th minute, Mourinho made his first substitution with Pogba making way for Marouane Fellaini. A goal and an assist for the Frenchman on his return from injury will impress the manager, who will be watching Pogba after his return for a few weeks to ensure he is fresh for the Festive period.

After the change, United scored their fourth goal of the match with Romelu Lukaku getting his name on the scoresheet, slamming his shot into the roof of the net, assisted by Mata – another game with four goals for United. Rafa Benitez made his second change with Aleksandar Mitrovic replacing Joselu. Mourinho made his second change with Zlatan Ibrahimovic making his return from injury, with Martial coming off for the big Swede.

Ibrahimovic got a rousing reception from the Old Trafford faithful. Mourinho was readying his third and final change with Ander Herrera receiving his instructions before coming on, replacing Martial the 83rd minute. Ibrahimovic could have scored a stunning goal from the left with a bicycle-like shot towards goal, with the Newcastle keeper denying United from scoring their fifth goal. Fellaini had a chance minutes later too.

It was an important three points for United, who restore themselves to second place in the Premier League, eight points adrift of Manchester City. Next up for United is Basel in Switzerland in the UEFA Champions League with Mourinho’s side a point away from securing a place in the knockout stages of the competition.

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′

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