Manchester United’s woeful season continues as they drop points once again in the Premier League. United’s season so far has been a never-ending tale of disappointments, with the opening win against Chelsea the only bright spot.
Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United stunned the Red Devils at St. James Park, as 19-year-old Matthew Longstaff scored on his Premier League debut to claim all three points for The Magpies.
The Red Devils has again lacked ideas going forward, and their best chance of the encounter fell to Harry Maguire in the 44th minute, with his header just missing the mark from six yards out.
Both sides had a couple of opportunities, but few hit the target. However, in the 72nd minute, a counter-attack led to Jetro Willems passing to Longstaff who blasted the ball into the bottom left corner from 20 yards out.
Newcastle recorded their first home victory this season in what was Steve Bruce’s 400th Premier League match as a manager.
Manchester United fell to 12th, one point ahead of Newcastle who rose to 16th on eight points. In this article, we analyse the reasons why Man Utd fell short in the encounter.
3 Sluggish display from Manchester United
It’s been a familiar sight all season, with Manchester United failing to break down teams when given ample time on the ball. In this game, the Red Devils once again seemed clueless in possession, with a lot of misplaced passes and tame efforts on goal.
Marcus Rashford, in particular, seemed disconnected for much of the game, with little or no urgency in his play. There was a glaring lack of creativity in the middle of the park, with Man Utd’s attacking manoeuvres predictable more often than not.
United had a total of 12 shots, with just three on target. They also had a lot of possession, as they had the ball for 69 per cent of the game but couldn’t capitalise on those numbers.
2 Notable absences
The Red Devils began the season with a paper-thin squad, as marquee players like Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku were shipped out of Carrington, and Manchester United failed to buy suitable replacements. They are now suffering the effects of that blunder.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer went into the encounter without the likes of Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial, two players integral to United’s attacking manoeuvres.
United struggled to carve out opportunities in the absence of Pogba, and Marcus Rashford failed to lead the attack properly in the absence of a natural centre forward.
1 A brilliant finish from Matthew Longstaff
“I found out I was in the team after training yesterday. Your belly starts to turn a bit, you get a bit nervous and then you don’t sleep much.
“Last night you go to bed dreaming of it but you never really think it will happen. I’m over the moon.”
- Matthew Longstaff
It was a fairy tale debut for 19-year-old Mathew Longstaff, as he started alongside his big brother Sean Longstaff at the heart of the Newcastle midfield. The youngster had a pretty decent game, with commendable offensive and defensive contributions.
However, his most notable impact was a scorcher in the 72nd-minute, with the youngster at the tail end of a swift Newcastle United counter-attack, as he fired home a shot from 20 yards out beyond the long-suffering David De Gea and into the bottom left corner of the goal.