If there was ever a time where Manchester United needed a win badly, it was the match against Newcastle United at Old Trafford. Every so often Manchester United have struggled to beat teams at the bottom of the table and Newcastle United were no different. However, goals from Rashford, James and Bruno Fernandes secured a 3-1 win over the Magpies. The win over Newcastle United puts United back in to the 2nd place in the table. Here are five things we learnt from the match at Old Trafford:
Daniel James proves his worth
Daniel James had a great start to his United career. And then the form dropped. And immediately afterwards he was almost written off by everyone. Dan James doesn’t have the skills or techniques of United’s other attackers. So it was easy to think he can not contribute to this United team’s attacking talents. But he has shown he has something to offer to this United team in consecutive matches now. He was brilliant against Real Sociedad midweek and he was very good once again on the weekend, neatly finishing the chance to put United 2-1 ahead. One can only hope for more of this from the Welshman.
Anthony Martial is in a slump
It is hard to pin point why Anthony Martial is in such a poor form. Manchester United’s top scorer from last season has scored just 7 goals this term and the signs are worrying. Martial has missed big chances throughout the season but he was still contributing a lot to United going forward. However, in recent weeks that has disappeared. His performance was so poor against Newcastle that Solskjaer had to remind him to offer some movement up front. Solskjaer hasn’t been afraid to take bold decisions in the past. And Martial simply needs to pick up form to avoid being in the wrong end of one of those.
Defense is still an issue
Manchester United conceded 36 goals in the whole of last season. This season, they have conceded a staggering 32 goals in just 25 matches. And almost in every other match, the defense looks vulnerable. The center back pairing seems to be the most problematic area for United. Apart from the Spurs match early in the season, the partnership of Bailly and Maguire has looked as solid as ever. However, Lindelof and Maguire seems to be Solskjaer’s prefered pairing at the back, even though they have looked very shaky recently. It’s an area that United need to work on and must fix if they are to close out matches more comfortably.
Luke Shaw’s amazing form continues
If we leave out United’s forwards, there is only one player in that squad who can be relied upon in terms of creating chances. Luke Shaw’s rich vein of form was in display once again. He looks every bit the player United thought they were getting when they signed him from Southampton as a teenager. Injuries have not helped Shaw but it does seem like he has got his career back on track. He is easily one of the best full backs of the league nowadays. It will be stupid of Gareth Southgate to leave Shaw out of England reckoning and he should be one of the first name’s on the team sheet for the Euros.
Rashford and Fernandes to save the day, again!
Marcus Rashford has scored 18 times this season and assisted 9 goals. He has featured in every single match United have played. Rashford sometimes does miss the odd easy chance or his decision making is questionable at times. But still he is having a stellar season, perhaps even better than the last one. Consistently putting up around 20 goals in a season from the wide position is not everyone’s cup of tea. Rashford is gaining the consistency as he continues to mature. Rashford was the best of United’s attackers, scored a wonderful solo goal and then also won the penalty to secure the points for United.
One of the great debates of the modern football world could very easily be “Where would Manchester United be without Bruno Fernandes?”. Bruno Fernandes was not at his best against Newcastle United. However like all great players, he has a knack of coming up with key moments in matches. Fernandes is simply invaluable to United.
Manchester United did win against Newcastle but it did not come without its struggles. After dropping points against both Everton and West Brom, this was a match United had to win. United also need to go on a winning run if they are to stay where they are right now. United are the top scorers in the league but that will all be in vain if they don’t fix that defense. Injury issues are not helping but its all part and parcel of the season. And United have to improve and they themselves will be the first ones to tell you that.