|Image from BBC Sport|
Another disappointing result for Manchester United away from home as a superb strike from Matty Longstaff sank United’s injury-hit side. Here’s how it happened:
Manchester United made a host of changes to the side that draw to Alkmaar with only De Gea, Dalot and Fred keeping their places. Newcastle made five changes to the side that were demolished by Leicester with Hayden, Muto, Atsu, Krafth and Dummett all out and M. Longstaff, Saint-Maximin, Willems, Clarke and Yedlin coming in.
De Gea, Dalot, Tuanzebe, Maguire, Young (c), McTominay, Fred, Pereira, Mata, James, Rashford
Dubravka, Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles (c), Clarke, Willems, S. Longstaff, M. Longstaff, Saint-Maximin, Almiron, Joelinton
The game began with an early chance for Newcastle on the counter and set a precedent for the game with the Magpies defending deep and countering with their pacy forwards. United attacked infrequently but when they did, it did build up well with good link up play. Newcastle almost scored three times in the first half with Fabian Schar flicking a header just over the bar, Matty Longstaff hitting a superb strike onto the crossbar and Almiron one-on-one hesitated and allowed Maguire to make an exceptional block to deny the Paraguay international. It was United that could have opened the scoring late on in the first half with Pereira’s curling effort clasped by Dubravka but finally a good set piece when Young curled the corner in from the left and gave Harry Maguire the best chance of the game from six yards out but the England defender failed to head the ball on target as the first half drew to a close.
Early in the second half, Joelinton came off for Andy Carroll and provided more aerial presence in the box. Not long after, Diogo Dalot pulled up injured and was swapped off for Marcos Rojo to add more height against Carroll and Juan Mata also came off after an absent performance for Mason Greenwood in an attempt to grab the win. But it was Matty Longstaff who grabbed the opener with a thunderous effort from outside the box which was his first Newcastle goal. It was all Manchester United after that and United had enough chances to win the game let alone equalise but failed to make them count.
Here are the player ratings:
David de Gea 7/10
Calm and composed on the ball and tried to get things going with kicks into the pockets and yelling his teammates on. Nothing he could have done with the goal and you have to feel sorry for him as he sounded broken in his post-match interview. A big win is needed against the Reds in a fortnight.
Diogo Dalot 6/10
Dealt with Saint-Maximin well enough but came off injured after an hour of play. He has become one of those injury prone players United don’t need in their rebuild. He needs to sort himself out or he may face the axe.
Axel Tuanzebe 7.5/10
Solid, composed and attack-minded play from the youngster. He looked like a proper United defender and with time will only become better.
Harry Maguire 6.5/10
Yes he was composed at the back and did create chances but he missed such a big one that it decreased his rating. Needs to be better at taking his chances in a side that have only scored one or less goal in every game bar the opener.
Ashley Young 6/10
Solid in defence to be fair but was poor in attack yet again. His crosses rarely found the mark and so I don’t understand why he is still taking corners and deep freekicks. Personal pride should never come before the team.
Scott McTominay 7/10
Tried to get things going as usual and is gradually cementing his position in the midfield over Matic and Fred.
Really poor again from Fred. I did want him in the side over Matic and I don’t think that is a bad opinion but the Brazilian has not performed in the last two games and should make way for Pogba when the Frenchman returns which unfortunately can’t do much for his confidence.
Andreas Pereira 6/10
He did very well against Arsenal but struggled today. He created two good chances but failed to make them count. He should be on corners and freekicks as he offers more than Young.
Juan Mata 4/10
I actually feel sorry for Juan Mata. I think he was promised a smaller role this season as an impact player or a Europa League regular but he is being forced to play a lot more due to injuries and a failure to secure another no.10. He does not have the legs anymore for a full 90 and needs backup ASAP.
Daniel James 5/10
Quiet game for the Welshman and although he tried to get into the game he just couldn’t. He should do better against a back four and one with more attacking intent, like Liverpool’s.
Marcus Rashford 4/10
Didn’t get into the game and while it is not all his fault, his off the ball movement is awful. He makes runs for over the top balls but in the box he is static, waiting for the ball to come to him instead. If he wants to be a regular number nine, he needs to improve that part of his game.
Marcos Rojo 5/10
Decent in defence but missed a golden opportunity to score. Don’t think he should be playing regularly and is certainly worse than the other five defenders.
Mason Greenwood 6/10
Quiet game but good linkup throughout. Had one chance but it was not a good enough cross for him to really score.
Tahith Chong n/a
Not sure why he came on instead of Gomes. The u23’s captain offers more right now.
A toothless display again from United and while some of the reasons can be found due to the injuries to Pogba and Martial, it is also due to the lack of signings that were clearly needed in the no.10 and right wing positions. Can you blame the manager? To a degree, yes. Set pieces have been a serious weakness and United have not scored from a corner since the 3-1 win against Crystal Palace last season and honestly, with Maguire and McTominay in the side, there is no excuse for not solving these problems. What’s more is the attacking movement in the box is not good enough. Rashford should know where to move to get the easy strikers’ goals and so should James, Pereira, Mata and Greenwood if they are playing in a fluid attacking three or four. It seems Anthony Martial is the only one who gets in attacking positions to score those goals and as they are training under a man who relied on those goals for most his career, this should have been lesson one. United have a ten day international break to sort themselves out and gain their injured players back before a huge game against Liverpool.