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Ratings: Edinson Cavani and David De Gea saved United’s blushes against Newcastle with the points shared; Ralf Rangnick has a big job on his hands

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Manchester United drew 1-1 with Newcastle United at St Jame’s Park on Monday evening. It was the first match in 16 days for United after the clashes against Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion were both postponed. Allan Saint-Maximin opened the scoring with a fine finish in the seventh minute of the match, which was a shambles defensively for United. A double substitution at half time saw United find their feet with Edinson Cavani scoring his second goal of the season to put United level. Burnley travel to the Theatre of Dreams on Thursday evening and United will need to be in much better form then.

United had a beak of 16 days between matches and that should have been an advantage for them, but from the moment the match started, it was a massive disadvantage. United looks lacklustre, out of form and out of sorts against the team that has won one match prior to this one, this season. In the seventh minute of the match, after many defensive errors, Allan Saint-Maximin, assisted by Sean Longstaff, opened the scoring which saw United’s defence unable to avert any damage and David De Gea left to watch the ball hit the back of his net. This was a terrible start for United. Rangnick needed to instil some discipline in this team.

The Magpies had the ball in the back of the net in the first half for a second time through Callum Wilson, but the flag was raised almost instantly, which would have been relief for United’s players. It was still a shambles that United did not hit the Magpies back and based in for performance in tis match, you could believe that United were the team that were threatened with relegation at this stage of the season with Newcastle playing their 19th match of the season this evening and United on their 17th match of the season after the Brentford and Brighton and Hove Albion matches were postponed earlier this month.

In the first half of the match, United had almost 70% of the ball, having four shots on goal – one of those on target. The Magpies, with less of the ball, had four shots on goal – two of those on target. United just did not seem to be on the same planet as the home side in the first half and perhaps Rangnick will create his own hairdryer-like discipline in the dressing room to get this team awake for the second half. 16 days between matches will create rustiness, but it should not have been like this. These players were criticised by Gary Neville on Sky Sports during the break, which says a lot about har far the club has fallen.

At the start of the second half, Rangnick made a double substitution with Jadon Sancho and Edinson Cavani replacing Fred and Mason Greenwood, who were both not quite making the grade in the first half. The Magpies almost had the ball in the net for the third time, with United lucky with it not hitting the back of the net because of De Gea. Almost immediately after that, Marcus Rashford had a chance on goal, which could have seen United level but the shot not testing the goalkeeper enough to level the tie. United would need to be more clinical, which could happen with the changes that were made at the start of the second half.

United showed more promise in the second half than they did in the first but the Magpies were still the team that was battling for the win with United having more than one mistake in them. De Gea made a fine save to deny Newcastle from going 2-0 up. In the 71st minute, Cavani equalised for United, having two chances to find a goal, taking his second and making it count. It was a great finish for the Uruguayan, scoring his second goal of the season on his return from a tendon injury when was sustained during an international break. United needed to find a second goal to take all three points from this match.

Rangnick made his final substitution in the 78th minute with Nemanja Matic replacing Scott McTominay. United needed to find some steel to add to the midfield with Newcastle pressing to find a second goal to win the match. They had been testing United since the equaliser, and after the substitution, still did so. The Magpies has a great chance in the 87th minute of the match which saw De Gea make a diving save to deny them from what could have been the winning goal of the match. United might have to settle for the point from this match as there was not much opportunity for them to get the winner, at this point.

Six minutes were added at the end of the second half, with the game still level and all to play for. United had the ball in the midfield but they were unable to get anything going before Newcastle regained possession again. Martin Dúbravka almost copy Newcastle with a shambles of an error but United could not get any damage done to win the game, despite given a solid gold chance to. As the half was coming to an end, it was certain that United had earned just a point from this match. They will be back in action against Burnley at Old Trafford on Thursday evening, which is a must win match for United, who need the points now.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

His second half performance was much better than the first half. He made a number of saves to keep United in the match. If he had not been in this form this season, United would be in dire straits.

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20 Diogo Dalot

Started poorly with Saint-Maximin getting the better of him at times. He's an attacking right-back, which is what United need and he showed that in the build up to United's equaliser.

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19 Raphael Varane

Seemed rusty after his injury layoff, which was to be expected. He did not seem to add any steel to the defence, which was worrying.

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5 Harry Maguire

Exposed in defence against Newcastle. Overcommitted himself at times and did not have the ability to make it pay off. Booked in the second half. Needs to find some improvement as he should be better than this.

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27 Alex Telles

Seems to have lost the form that kept him in this team ahead of Shaw. He struggled to break through Fraser and seemed to get caught in possession a number of times.

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17 Fred

It was not a great performance from the Brazilian. He did make two key passes, completing three of five long balls but in terms of adding steel to the midfield, which is needed, he added nothing. He was replaced by Sancho at the start of the second half.

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39 Scott McTominay

His passing was a positive but United were not able to control the midfield, which is one of the major problems at the club this season. He had a shot blocked and lost the ball 13 times. He was replaced by Matic in the 78th minute of the match.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Had one shot on target in the first half, which was blocked. It was a big chance that he had, and he should have scored it. Did not seem to be in great form, which is understandable after 16 days between matches. He was replaced by Cavani at the start of the second half. Perhaps was unlucky to come off at this time, he was the best of a poor bunch of attackers in this match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Might be at risk of losing his starting place if his dire form continues. He did well in the run up to Cavani's goal. But that was all he had to offer on a bad night at the office for United. He should be better than this. But that can be said for a lot of these players.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Seemed to be hungry to make things happen for United, but he could not do that. He has been out of form for a while now and it does not look like things are going to get better anytime soon.

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7 Cristiano Ronaldo

Had little service in this match. This 4-2-2-2 formation is not working for United with the players that they have. He was booked for a clumsy foul on Fraser, which need not have happened. He won't be happy with this team performance this evening.

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Substitutes

25 Jadon Sancho

Replaced Fred 46'. Should have started. Was lively on the right as soon as he came on. Created a chance for Cavani, which is what was needed, especially in the first half.

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21 Edinson Cavani

Replaced Greenwood 46'. Should have started the match with Ronaldo, but his fitness might not have allowed that in this match. His ability as a striker is second to none. He scored his second goal of the season to earn a point for United.

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31 Nemanja Matic

Replaced McTominay 78'. Came on with 12 minutes plus added time to stabilise the midfield. He did what was needed on a frustrating evening in the North East.

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Goals: Allan Saint-Maximin 7′; Edinson Cavani 71′

Assists: Sean Longstaff 7′

Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Maguire, Telles; Fred (Sancho 46′), McTominay (Matic 78′); Greenwood (Cavani 46′), Fernandes; Rashford, Ronaldo

Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Jones, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka; Van de Beek; Elanga

Bookings: Emil Krafth 66′, Joelinton 70′, Javier Manquillo 90+5′; Cristiano Ronaldo 58′, Bruno Fernandes 66′, Harry Maguire 68′

Written by John Walker

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