Menu

Ratings: Marcus Rashford was the MOTM in the victory over Newcastle United as David De Gea kept a clean sheet

Manchester United beat Newcastle United 2-0 at St James’ Park on Wednesday evening, the first match of 2019. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has now won all four of his matches leading the club, matching Sir Matt Busby, the only other manager to do this, back in 1946. Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring in the 64th minute with Marcus Rashford doubling United’s lead in the 80th minute.

Marcus Rashford was tonights Man of the Match. He has kicked on this season after Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho. His free-kick paved the way for Romelu Lukaku to score his second goal in two matches. Alexis Sanchez, returning from injury, got himself back into the fold, coming off the bench and grabbing an assist, in which Rashford scored the goal. Victor Lindelof is another player who has risen to the occasion. The Iceman has grown in confidence this season.

Solskjaer has certainly risen the confidence level of this United team at a period whereby it could not get much worse. The attack power of this team is great when all of the players are fully fit. This will give the manager a headache, for the right reasons. United needed to attack with confidence and that seems to be what is happening right now. The Premier League will have a break for just over a week now with the Emirates FA Cup third round against Reading now on the horizon. Spurs after that.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Hardly had much to deal with from Newcastle. United have not had many clean sheets this season, this one was well earned. Newcastle, with all their chances, especially from Atsu, will be upset that nothing really caused problems.

12345

25 Antonio Valencia

The Ecuadorian had many problems in this game, Atsu was just one of them. Never ventured forward much and seemed out of his depth. Not sure his time at United is suited to the style of play coming forward under Solskjaer.

12345

2 Victor Lindelof

The iceman is growing in confidence this season. A good performance from the Swede. His reading of the game is a lot better. Got involved with blocks and interceptions throughout the game. It could be hard for Smalling, Rojo and Bailly to get back in this team this season.

12345

4 Phil Jones

Solid at the back against Newcastle. United were outplayed in the opening stages with Atsu having many chances. United and Jones stood firm. Stopped Rondon with a last-ditch challenge which could have seen United concede a goal.

12345

23 Luke Shaw

Got forward a lot of the time and saw plenty of the ball. No crosses or or chances created though, which will need to start happening consistently. Defensively, Shaw and United were fine most of the time, even in the early stages of the game. Took one for the team and got booked.

12345

21 Ander Herrera

Played well at times. He was not seeking to be the star in the game. Did what he needed to do most of the time. He did his bit when Newcastle had the ball in the middle of the pitch.

12345

31 Nemanja Matic

United dominated possession and that was largely down to Matic. He won many battles on the pitch. Regained possession at times. Good to see him play well.

12345

8 Juan Mata

Manchester United need a right-winger in this team. Mata struggled in this position. United scored moments after he was replaced. Mata is a good player but not in this position.

12345

6 Paul Pogba

Could have suffered a nasty injury after a poor challenge by Shelvey, which went unpunished. He was very quiet in the game, based on his last two. Needs to raise his game consistently. A win is a win though.

12345

9 Anthony Martial

Not the best performance from the Frenchman. United seemed stale at times. Needed a change and he was one of them.

12345

10 Marcus Rashford

MOTM. Played a perfect free-kick which set up Lukaku's goal, which separated the two teams. Worked hard, as has been seen in his last few performances. Looks a different player now. Full of confidence and beans. Got another goal after a good ball from Sanchez.

12345

Substitutes

Romelu Lukaku

Replaced Mata 63'. Second goal in two games. Came off the bench to add more firepower to this side, who were lacklustre for most of the game. Could he be back?

12345

Alexis Sanchez

Replaced Martial 63'. Got a good assist on his return from injury. Good to see him back and hopefully hungry to achieve after a turbulent year at the club.

12345

14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Rashford 87'. Came on late in the game. Never really got involved in the game. It was won before his introduction.

12345

Goals: Romelu Lukaku 64′, Marcus Rashford 80′

Assists: Alexis Sanchez 80′

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Jones, Shaw; Herrera, Matic; Mata (Lukaku 63′), Pogba, Martial (Sanchez 63′); Rashford (Lingard 87′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Young, Darmian; Fred

Bookings: Jamaal Lascelles 28′; Victor Lindelof 46′, Luke Shaw 75′

Confirmed Starting XI: Rashford leads the line, supported by Mata and Martial; Pogba masterclass against Newcastle?

Manchester United face Newcastle United in the Premier League at St James’ Park this evening. The two sides last met in October at Old Trafford with Rafa Benitez’s side going 2-0 up in the first half with United eventually winning the game 3-2 with Alexis Sanchez scoring the winning goal. It was a match which the media suggested would be Jose Mourinho’s last if his side lost but when are the media right about many things?

United have been playing the United way since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took charge of the team, which will last until the end of the season, with the Norwegian reportedly one of the contenders for the job on a permanent basis, although speculation suggests Mauricio Pochettino is the man the club want as the permanent successor to Jose Mourinho, however, this just seems to be media speculation too.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Valencia, Lindelof, Jones, Shaw;

Herrera, Matic;

Mata, Pogba, Martial;

Rashford

Substitutes:

Romero; Young, Darmian; Lingard, Fred; Sanchez, Lukaku

Solskjaer could be only the second United manager to win his first four matches as manager of the club, which is currently something only held by Sir Matt Busy which goes as far back as 1946. United have won their last three matches, scoring 12 goals and conceding just three. This United team may have had a poor season so far but the momentum which has now been built will need to continue so they can right their wrongs.

United and Newcastle United have played 166 times in the history of both clubs. United have won 85 times, drawing 39 times and losing 42 times. United were beaten in this fixture last season, losing 1-0. Prior to that, the last defeat was back in 2013, losing by the same score line. I am sure Solskjaer and his side will be fired up to send this ‘wee club from the North East’ packing, even though they are playing at home.

Ratings: Chris Smalling shows that he’s not good enough for Manchester United

Manchester United were beaten by Newcastle United at St James Park in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. It was a deserved defeat for a poor all-round performance by Jose Mourinho’s side. Matt Ritchie scored the only goal of the game in the 65th minute of the match, beating United’s defence and David De Gea.

Key Moments:

65′ Matt Ritchie opened the scoring in the game after beating United’s defence and David De Gea to break the deadlock, despite United scoring early in the second half but the goal being ruled out for a series of fouls in the box leading up to the goal. Newcastle United deserved their lead as United just do not look like the team they should be with the players they have.

Man of the Match: Jonjo Shelvey

United were undeserved of anything in this game. Shelvey was named Man of the Match by the Sky Sports panel and it was deserved. He played the game and led his side to victory, despite United rising from the ashes a few times to take charge of the game. United need to learn that they need to play to beat their opposition, not put a poor performance together then rue the defeat.

The players will now be readying their statements on the defeat for social media. We are sorry for the defeat and we will go out to win our next game. Enough. The summer needs to see a clear out of all the dead wood, and there is a lot of it still. Playing Ashley Young as the left-back over Luke Shaw is becoming a joke now.

Match Statistics:

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish number one made a good save early on to deny Newcastle from scoring. Had little to do for large spells of the game.Unablt to deny Ritchie from scoring the winner.

12345

25 Antonio Valencia

Did well defensively for much of the game. Booked for a high foot late in the game. Did not have the attacking presence he usually has in games.

12345

Chris Smalling

Petulant performance today.Could have conceded a penalty, booked for diving and just not good enough for the Premier League, not just United. Needs to be sold in the summer.

12345

4 Phil Jones

Not the best performance by Jones, not the worst either. Did a lot of shouting and complaining, not enough getting stuck in and winning the game as a team.

12345

18 Ashley Young

I'd rather see Luke Shaw play as the left-back. Young attacked and threatened and came close to scoring once.

12345

31 Nemanja Matic

Solid in midfield. Played a sublime through ball. Did what he needed to do. Replaced by McTominay in the 77th minute.

12345

6 Paul Pogba

Didn't seem 100% on the day after seemingly receiving a knock or injury in the warm up. Tried to play it off though.

12345

Alexis Sanchez

The Chilean played his socks off and looked to orchestrate something for United. Failed to score after rounding the keeper.

12345

14 Jesse Lingard

Inconsistent performance by Lingard. Used his pace to run at players and tried to help his team get a victory, but seemed out of the game, along with most of the team.

12345

9 Anthony Martial

The Frenchman could have scored a few times today. Unlucky not to have at least one goal.

12345

Romelu Lukaku

Had little service and dropped back to create himself, which didn't work. United seem to have lost all attacking threat despite the players they have. Worrying times.

12345

Substitutes

8 Juan Mata

Replaced Lingard 66'. Helped United gain ground and attack, not that the attacking came of much. United were beaten before the double substitution.

12345

16 Michael Carrick

Replaced Pogba 66'. Had a calm presence and Matic can now see some rest coming. United were beaten before he came on.

12345

39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Matic 77'. Got involved in the game but could not help his side earn a point or a win. This will help aid his development.

12345

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Young; Matic (McTominay), Pogba (Carrick 66′); Sanchez, Lingard (Mata 66′), Martial; Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Lindelof, Rojo, Shaw

Bookings: Chris Smalling 64′, Antonio Valencia 88′

Report: Ritchie stuns United as the Magpies march on to victory

Manchester United were beaten by Newcastle United at St James Park in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. It was a deserved defeat for a poor all-round performance by Jose Mourinho’s side. Matt Ritchie scored the only goal of the game in the 65th minute of the match, beating United’s defence and David De Gea.

It was not the best of starts for United at St James Park. In the second minute of the match, Mohamed Diame tackled Anthony Martial, who went down clutching his face after Diame caught him in the face with his arm. Martial has to go off for some treatment and the referee gave nothing in favour of United, seemingly not seeing Diame foul on the Frenchman.

United had to make the first save of the game in the opening five minutes after Jonjo Shelvey capitalised from a free-kick, which initially hit the wall with the ball falling kindly for Shelvey allowing him to strike from about 12-yards out with David De Gea making a comfortable save to thwart the former Liverpool midfielder from opening the scoring in this game.

Just a few minutes later, Newcastle were up for challenging United again, this time with Ayoze Perez lashing his shot wide of the target from 20-yards. Newcastle were pressing United well and seemed to control the match in the early stages. The Magpies had five shots on goal in these opening stages, something Rafa Benitez would be proud of – even if it does end up short-lived.

Embed from Getty Images

United started to get themselves into the game in the 15th minute after Alexis Sanchez collected the ball on the left, playing a clever pass into the box for Martial, who was on the run. The Frenchman then looked to cut across the goal for Romelu Lukaku, but the ball did not reach the Belgian striker. Sanchez had another good play moments later, seeing of a challenge from DeAndre Yedlin.

At the half hour stage of the game, United had taken control of the last 14 minutes of the tie with Sanchez orchestrating most of the play. United did seem to be lacking the final pass which was stopping them take advantage of the home side. On the 32nd minute, Sanchez and Lukaku linked up well, slipping the ball to Jesse Lingard, whose shot was palmed away by Martin Dubravka.

In the 36th minute, United looked to capitalise after Nemanja Matic slid his perfectly weighted pass through for Martial, who was one-on-one with Dubravka, who came out on top after sticking his leg out to make the save. At the other end of the pitch, Phil Jones seemingly put the ball out of play with Dwight Gayle wanting a corner, a goal kick was given.

In the 39th minute, Martial had another chance to score after rising to meet a left-wing cross but the Frenchman was unable to direct his header on target from 12-yards. There was some more controversy moments later after Chris Smalling was adjudged to foul Gayle in the box, seemingly winning the ball and the referee not giving Newcastle anything.

Embed from Getty Images

In the 42nd minute of the match, Yedlin was clumsy bringing down Lingard and was seemingly lucky not to have been booked for it. United ended the half looking the more attacking team in the game, despite the opening chances of Newcastle. The Magpies also managed to get back into the game after United took control. It was 0-0 at the end of the first half and all to play for.

There were no changes for either side at the start of the second half. United got straight back to where they were at the end of the first half, looking to advance in the hosts half of the pitch and press for that opening goal of the game. United looked to break through in the game before the 50th minute but a poor pass into the box denied United from taking advantage with Dubravka picking up the ball.

United found the opening goal in the 54th minute of the match but it was ruled out for two fouls with Smalling all over his player and Lukaku pushing his before heading across the line. It was the right decision in the game though. United did not stop there, Sanchez, on the ball in the box, tried to break the deadlock once again, hitting the side netting and winning a corner – which came to nothing.

United almost took the lead in the 57th minute of the match with Sanchez being played in by Lukaku, rounding the keeper, who was taken out by Yedlin, hesitating to fire into an open goal which saw Newcastle clear their lines before the referee blew his whistle for the keeper, who was injured – seemingly recovering seconds later. United should have been one goal to the good at this stage of the match.

Embed from Getty Images

Newcastle United took the lead in the 65th minute of the game, just after Smalling was booked for a dive, simulating a foul by Shelvey, then Matt Ritchie pounced, beating De Gea, to put his side in charge of the fixture. Jose Mourinho made a double change after the goal with Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard being replaced by Michael Carrick and Juan Mata in the 66th minute of the match.

This was starting to show as a poor team performance for United with players looking uninterested in getting back into the game. United had two chances to equalise in quick succession with Martial in the box the first time with nobody in the area with him to help before Lukaku arrived late. Mourinho made his third substitution with Scott McTominay replacing Matic in the 77th minute.

United then had a chance to equalise again but with Newcastle having more players in the box to thwart the effort. It was going to be one of those days for United, possibly one they deserved as the fight to win just did not seem to be there from the players on the pitch. Newcastle made their first substitution in the 80th minute with Gayle coming off for Joselu.

In the 84th minute, Newcastle made their second change of the game with Kenedy coming off and Christian Atsu coming on. United were leaving it late if they were going to take command of this tie, which seems unlikely right now. There was a stoppage in the game with just over three minutes to play after Antonio Valencia kicked Atsu in the head, the Ecuadorian booked for the challenge.

Embed from Getty Images

United had some late chances to get something from the game but did not take them. This United side have been deservedly beaten. There is no passion, no urgency to win and the attacking was not as you would expect from the players who started the game. Newcastle took all three points in this game, which was deserved as they fought for the victory. United need to look at themselves.

United will face Huddersfield Town in the Emirates FA Cup next Saturday and after seeing Mourinho’s sides performance this weekend, and the fact Huddersfield beat Bournemouth 4-1 at home, they will be confident of getting the win over United, who last at their stadium earlier in the season. Mourinho’s season could be falling apart right now with all to play for still.

Key Moments:

65′ Matt Ritchie opened the scoring in the game after beating United’s defence and David De Gea to break the deadlock, despite United scoring early in the second half but the goal being ruled out for a series of fouls in the box leading up to the goal. Newcastle United deserved their lead as United just do not look like the team they should be with the players they have.

Man of the Match: Jonjo Shelvey

United were undeserved of anything in this game. Shelvey was named Man of the Match by the Sky Sports panel and it was deserved. He played the game and led his side to victory, despite United rising from the ashes a few times to take charge of the game. United need to learn that they need to play to beat their opposition, not put a poor performance together then rue the defeat.

The players will now be readying their statements on the defeat for social media. We are sorry for the defeat and we will go out to win our next game. Enough. The summer needs to see a clear out of all the dead wood, and there is a lot of it still. Playing Ashley Young as the left-back over Luke Shaw is becoming a joke now.

Match Statistics:

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Young; Matic (McTominay), Pogba (Carrick 66′); Sanchez, Lingard (Mata 66′), Martial; Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Lindelof, Rojo, Shaw

Bookings: Chris Smalling 64′, Antonio Valencia 88′

Confirmed Starting XI: Lukaku, Sanchez, Lingard & Martial lead the line – Rashford not involved

Manchester United will face Newcastle United at St James Park in the Premier League this afternoon. Manchester City beat Leicester City 5-1 on Saturday evening, opening up a 16 point lead at the top of the league, something United will be seeking to cut back down to 13 points later today. Jose Mourinho is still without Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Daley Blind. Both Bailly and Ibrahimovic have been involved in training this week but Blind is still out of action.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Young;

Matic, Pogba;

Sanchez, Lingard, Martial;

Lukaku

Substitutes:

Romero; Lindelof, Rojo, Shaw; Mata, Carrick, McTominay

Manchester United and Newcastle United have played 164 matches in the history of both clubs, the first being played on the 6th April 1895 – a 5-1 victory for Newton Health in the Old Football League Division Two. United were last beaten by Newcastle on the 7th December 2013 – a 1-0 defeat with Yohan Cabaye scoring the only goal of the game. In the six matches played since the defeat, United have won four and drawn twice. The last match between the two sides was played at Old Trafford on the 18th November 2017 – a 4-1 victory for United which saw Dwight Gayle take the lead for his side in the 14th minute, then United score four consecutive goals with Anthony Martial, Chris Smalling, Paul Pogba, and Romelu Lukaku securing the points for United.

What We Learned: Paul Pogba is the player Manchester United have been waiting for

Manchester United beat Newcastle United 4-1 in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday evening, despite going a goal down which was scored by Dwight Gayle in the 14th minute of the match after Victor Lindelof, making his Premier League debut – form the start, slipping and allowing him the space to score. United fought to find an equaliser, eventually doing do in the 37th minute of the match through Anthony Martial with the Frenchman set up with a precise cross from compatriot Paul Pogba, making his return from a two-month absence due to injury. Chris Smalling put United ahead at the bear with a headed effort, assisted by Ashley Young as United looked to spoil the Magpies’ ‘cup final’.

United took less than ten minutes to score again, doing so through Pogba, who was assisted with a sweet header across the goal by Marcus Rashford, who had a good match despite not getting on the scoresheet himself. Romelu Lukaku ended his seven-match goal drought in the 70th minute of the match, thundering his effort into the roof of the net. Marouane Fellaini replaced Pogba just before United’s fourth goal, then Zlatan Ibrahimovic replaced Martial seven minutes later, with Ander Herrera replacing Juan Mata six minutes after that. It was a near-perfect three points for United, a clean sheet would have made it much better. United are now back in second place in the league, still eight points adrift of league leaders Manchester City.

Embed from Getty Images

Victor Lindelof may take some time to reach the speed of a Manchester United defender

The Swedish international played both legs against Italy in the play-off for a FIFA World Cup place next summer. Sweden scored in the first leg, drawing 0-0 in the second. Lindelof played well in both matches, showing that he has what it takes to play football at the highest level. Playing in the Premier League is a different kettle of fish for the Swede and despite some poor errors of judgement, he has not hit it off at United, yet anyway. Those knowledgeable about football will know that players do not always hit it off straight away – Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra for instance – both became greats of Manchester United, showing there is hope for Lindelof.

The Swede maintained possession with 97% of his passes reaching a teammate, also creating two key chances – neither found a goal. Lindelof won one of two aerial duels, also putting in six clearances, fouling a Newcastle player once. There are positives to his performance. He slipped to help Newcastle take the lead, some of the best have done that and worse. Give him time, Jose Mourinho has seen something good in him – we need to let that come out in a United shirt. In time, I am sure it will come. Today was a step in the right direction for Victor Lindelof.

Embed from Getty Images

Paul Pogba is the man for Manchester United – when he is not playing, he is missed – greatly

The last two months have shown some good football, but with Marouane Fellaini on the sidelines through injury, United did not have the depth in midfield that they had with both player fit and raring to go. Pogba’s recovery from a hamstring injury came at the right time, just as United needed a win and boy did they get a big one. Defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge before the international break was tough and may not have been avoided with Pogba in the side, but you never know. United were eight points adrift of Manchester City, 11 after their 2-0 victory over Leicester City this afternoon and it was important United kept that to eight points.

Pogba put the effort in form the start of the match, not that it was telling after conceding the opening goal in the 14th minute, but with United’s resurgence, domination and determination to find the equaliser, which was not present when he was not in the team at Chelsea, United dug deep and eventually found the equaliser, scored by Anthony Martial and assisted by Pogba. In the 54th minute, his tap-in showed his class, and the strength-in-depth within the team. United were happy Pogba was back today, the fans were happy and most importantly, Jose Mourinho will be happy as the Frenchman inspired something at the Theatre of Dreams, also sending that ‘wee club from the North East’ packing after losing their cup final.

Embed from Getty Images

Romelu Lukaku back on a goalscoring run

Romelu Lukaku had scored 11 goals for United by the time the international break in early October had started. He scored for Belgium during that break but after returning to United endured a seven-match goal drought, in which United were seeking other players to step forward. United had been free-scoring in many matches before this time, but that ‘luck’ had now worn off. Injuries were causing problems, there was no strength-in-depth at the club and United seemed so one-dimensional. Lukaku was frustrated and tried to get the better of his longest drought at a club after his career had taken off. Nothing was coming for the Belgian striker.

During the last international break, Lukaku scored three goals for his country, becoming the top scorer for Belgium, despite it not being recognised by FIFA. The confidence found whilst playing for Belgium seems to have paid off as Lukaku, despite having some chances, eventually scored that elusive goal in the 70th minute of the match. Paul Pogba had returned to action on the same day, becoming the driving force behind United’s success on the day, beating Newcastle United 4-1, which could have been more. Lukaku needs to use that inspiration and the fact the club has Zlatan Ibrahimovic back too, which will mean the club will not be so reliant on one striker, using one or the other, perhaps even both for some matches this season.

Embed from Getty Images

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is ready to make the headlines again

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has taken nearly seven months to recover from the knee injury he sustained in a UEFA Europa League match back in April, which could have ended his career – the honour of playing the Europa League final in his native Sweden was missed, despite the appearance of the Swede in the final. He signed a new contract with United in the summer, wanting to continue what he started last season, firing United to a league title, needing to get the better of Manchester City first. The lion who does not heal like a human was back, albeit in a cameo appearance – which could have seen him score a sublime bicycle-kick goal from the left flank, but the goalkeeper thwarted it.

The return of the ‘lion’ will give United and Mourinho other options, which will help the side be less predictable, especially in the fact he can play as a striker, or even a number ten, as has been talked about in the media over the past week. Ibrahimovic could even play alongside Lukaku, which would be good to see as that could be a devastating front line for United, not a good thought for the opposition. Mourinho will need to manage the return of Ibrahimovic, using him right so that he does not see a recurrence of his injury, Pogba will be the same. This will boost United though, as the confidence starts to return after the injuries hit, the scorelines could be much better for United, especially if Lukaku and Ibrahimovic hit it off.

Embed from Getty Images

Conclusion

Manchester United have a lot to do in order to gain ground on Manchester City. The best thing Mourinho and his side can concentrate on doing is winning their matches. City will fall fouls of a team soon, they are not that untouchable. Look at Tottenham Hotspur, the favourite of the media. They were Premier League challengers during the last two seasons, finishing third and second – not having what it takes to prevail and take the glory. Now they have been beaten by three of the top six teams from last season, which shows they are not untouchable. City will be there at some point. I don’t believe they are such a special side bust because of their manager and the way they have played recently. If/when City come unstuck, United need to pounce and take advantage. The Manchester derby on the 10th December is a must-win match for Mourinho and United, which could see the eight-point gap decrease if it has not already lengthened or decreased at that time. If United keep on winning their league matches, they are heading in the right direction.

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

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.

12345

Substitutes

27 Marouane Fellaini

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

12345

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.

12345

21 Ander Herrera

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

12345

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′

Confirmed Starting XI: Pogba returns, Lindelof starts; Ibrahimovic on the bench

Manchester United will return to action in the Premier League this evening taking on Newcastle United at Old Trafford. It has been more than two years since both sides last played a game at the Theatre of Dreams and almost two years since the two sides last faced each other – both draws; 0-0 at Old Trafford and 3-3 at St James’ Park. Jose Mourinho will be looking to get back to winning ways in the Premier League, losing to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge before the international break which saw Manchester City seal an eight-point cushion at the top of the league.

Mourinho confirmed during his press conference on Friday that Marcos Rojo, Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic would all return to the squad to face Newcastle at a time where United have been lacklustre in their approach with some players losing their form and needing some time out to regain their form and concentration. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial have both been dropped from today’s squad – presumably in view of travelling to Switzerland for Tuesday’s penultimate UEFA Champions League group stage match with Basel.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Young;

Matic, Pogba;

Rashford, Mata, Martial;

Lukaku

Substitutes:

Romero; Rojo, Shaw; Lingard, Herrera, Fellaini; Ibrahimovic

Manchester City are currently beating Leicester City 2-0 at the King Power Stadium, which means United’s bitter rivals have opened up an eleven point lead at the top of the Premier League, which would add the importance of United doing the business today and earning the three points they need. In Saturday’s early kick off, Arsenal beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0. Chelsea are also beating West Bromwich Albion 3-0 which sees the West London club leapfrog Spurs and United to take the second place in the league two points ahead of United.

A victory for United this evening will see the Old Trafford outfit return to second-place in the league, one point ahead of Chelsea and three points ahead of Spurs. Not the cushion United may have been seeking, but certainly a cushion to keep and extend when there is a chance to do so.

Preview: Manchester United to send that ‘wee club’ back to the North East!

Manchester United -v- Newcastle United

Premier League 2017/18

Old Trafford, Manchester

Saturday 18th November 2017; KO 17:30 BST

Live on BT Sport HD in the United Kingdom

Manchester United face Newcastle United at Old Trafford on Saturday evening, the first game back after the final international break of 2017. It has been more than two years since Newcastle last travelled to the Theatre of Dreams. That match was a letdown, a 0-0 draw which has seen five of the starting players from that match leave the club. United started the season in good stead, beating their opposition but with injuries to the side, United lost a lot of oomph which has seen the squad struggle to put their opposition at bay, finish them or even get involved in matches. With injuries ending, which is boosting United this weekend, the return of Marcos Rojo, Paul Pogba, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be welcomed, at least by the Old Trafford faithful.

During the time Pogba has been out of action, United have struggled in midfield, a bit like they did before he arrived at the club. Ander Herrera has not been able to fill the void and the injury to Marouane Fellaini, which ended before the international break, saw United struggle immensely. With Pogba, United had a 75% chance of winning matches, which was reduced to 57% without the Frenchman. If you ask a rival supporter about Pogba, they will still mock the transfer fee for the player, ignoring what he does for United – deep down wishing he wore their clubs shirt. I would not swap that for the world though. When Paul Pogba gets praised, rival fans hate him and United even more – something which has been lacking for around five years now!

When you look at the stats above, you see the influence Pogba has on matches, which Jose Mourinho has effectively confirmed, albeit in his own way, during his press conference on Friday afternoon. The Manchester United manager said:

“You can clearly see Manchester United this season before Paul [Pogba’s] injury and after Paul’s injury. It’s as simple as that.”

Previous Matches:

Manchester United and Newcastle United have played 163 matches in the history of both clubs – the first on the 6th April 1895, a 5-1 victory for Newton Heath in the old Football League Division Two. United have won 83 times, losing 41 times and drawing 39 times. United are in the best form going into this match, but as that ‘wee club from the North East,’ they will see it as their cup final and probably try to be the first team to travel to and win at Old Trafford in 14 months. United are unbeaten in their last five matches against Newcastle, winning three and drawing two – the last two times both clubs have faced each other. Newcastle last beat United at Old Trafford on the 7th December 2013 with Yohan Cabaye scoring the winner in the 61st minute of the match. Nine of the starting XI players in that match are no longer at United.

Form: United the better of the two teams this season but they need to show Manchester City they are not afraid

Manchester United started the season in good stead, winning their first two matches by the same 4-0 scoreline. The 0-0 draw at Anfield against Liverpool was the start of the lacklustre approach for United, which came and went at times with high scoring victories in the UEFA Champions League and the Premier League following. With injuries taking the creativity and experience from the squad, United have been playing terribly recently, losing 2-1 away to Huddersfield Town and recently losing 1-0 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. United will be boosted with the return of Paul Pogba, Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – something which could inspire them to victory.

Newcastle United have not had a great start in their first season back in the Premier League. Rafa Benitez’s side have won just four matches of the eleven played, drawing twice and losing five times. This Newcastle side may have what it takes to remain a Premier League team this season, but against a strong United team, they may not have a chance. Newcastle were the champions of the Championship last season, but winning trophies is not something they will achieve in the league this season, seeming far from a side capable of challenging for a European place, let alone a place in the top four. Stranger things have happened though, but I doubt my words will come back to haunt me.

Team News: Marcos Rojo, Paul Pogba, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic all fit to face Newcastle United

Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Marcos Rojo (made his comeback for the U23’s this week), Paul Pogba, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are all fit to return against Newcastle United at Old Trafford this weekend. United have missed the creativity of Pogba, having a 75% chance of winning with the Frenchman which reduces to 57% without him. Ibrahimovic is a player United have missed also, which has seen Romelu Lukaku being relied upon, failing to score in any United matches between the two international breaks. Mourinho, speaking in his press conference on Friday, confirmed:

“He made a full recovery. Now you cannot expect him to be ready to play 90 minutes or to be ready to play consecutive matches like he did all his career. Now he needs time to be back to his level, his fitness, his confidence, his sharpness, his everything. But, from the clinical point of view, to be good and ready is fantastic.”

Mourinho also confirmed that Ibrahimovic will not be thrown into the action, starting him on the bench first of all:

“As a start, I see him on the bench and it’s where I see him. It’s where he’s going to be tomorrow [Saturday], on the bench.”

Predicted Starting XI: Romelu Lukaku boosted after becoming Belgium’s highest ever scorer at 24; Ibrahimovic to boost him too!

Match Prediction: United out to show Old Trafford is a fortress once again, hopefully humiliating Rafa Benitez and that wee club in the North East

Manchester United 3-0 Newcastle United

copyright: JW