Two talking points from Newcastle United 1-4 Manchester United

Manchester United left it late but ran out deserved 4-1 winners away at Newcastle United yesterday evening. 

The Red Devils arrived at Newcastle upon Tyne still smarting from the thrashing they received against Spurs a fortnight ago. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was looking for a good response from his players, and he made five changes to the side that lost 6-1 two weeks ago.

United went behind after just two minutes in the worst possible fashion, an own goal which resulted from horrid defending. This time however Ole got his response.

United rolled up their socks and went at Newcastle over and over again and eventually got their just rewards.

A hard-fought win, but a comfortable scoreline, here are the talking points from the game.

Mentality Monsters

It’s quite easy for players to shrivel up and want to disappear after taking a thrashing like the one Spurs dished out two weeks ago, especially when the performance levels are atrocious. The United players, however, made sure they stood up and were counted.

Everywhere you looked across the entire team they played with steel reminiscent of a chip on one’s shoulder, and it was all kickstarted by skipper Harry Maguire rising to power home a Mancunian equalizer from a Juan Mata corner.

Maguire and co. kept pushing at the Magpies, refusing to back down. Bruno Fernandes put his never say die attitude on full display all evening.

He scored a peach of an equalizer which was ruled out for offside, then bizarrely missed a penalty for the first time in 1659 days.

He kept pushing towards the end and linked well with Van de Beek to orchestrate a counter-attack which he himself finished brilliantly for the go-ahead goal. He then played in Rashford in the last moments of injury time to seal what was a truly gritty performance.

Playmaking The Difference

United might have turned it around late but it was no coincidence that they did it with maximum creativity available.

Juan Mata was deployed wide right on the day and his presence made a huge difference to United’s dynamics. The crisp passing, link-up play and selfless running were a stark contrast to what wide strikers like Mason Greenwood provide.

It once again highlighted the need united have for multiple final-third playmakers, a role Jadon Sancho should have been signed to play. Mata’s presence made Fernandes’ job as a playmaker easier as well, as the Portuguese maestro created six chances with his Spanish teammate’s assistance.

The introduction of Paul Pogba and Donny Van de Beek made huge differences, and Solskjaer should take credit for it. Jonjo Shelvey, the heart of the Newcastle midfield, was taken out of the game as he was stuck on Pogba marking duty. This afforded the other United playmakers a lot more space and they used it intelligently.

United wrapped up the game with three brilliant late goals, Rashford scoring the last and being provider for two other, one for Fernandes, and yes you’re reading this right, an absolute peach of a finish from Aaron Wan Bisakka.

It was exactly the sort of response Solskjaer required, and he’ll be hoping to use this victory to kickstart their so far stop-start season.

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