Manchester United returned to winning ways after a 4-1 win over Newcastle United on Saturday evening. After a slow start United reverted to their explosive form that we saw so much of in the opening weeks of the season.
Manchester United fell early on behind to a Dwight Gayle goal, yet responded with two late goals to take a lead into the second half. The reds were much more effective and controlled the game in the second period. Paul Pogba got himself on the scoresheet and was the standout performer, here are our player ratings.
David De Gea: 7
The Spaniard had no chance with Newcastle United’s opening goal; Dwight Gayle placed the ball superbly off the post past the outstretched palm of De Gea. He made some big saves to keep Newcastle from getting a second. He blocked a shot from Hayden in the dying moments of the first half to make sure United went into the break with a lead. Never looked too troubled in the second half. Good performance.
Antonio Valencia: 6.5
A solid performance from the skipper this evening. He picked his moments when to go forward and offered United an outlet in the first half that was much needed. His second half was more subdued, with United easily in control of the game, he seemed happy to sit back in a deeper role.
Victor Lindelöf: 6
The Swede replaced the injured Phil Jones and looked susceptible in the opening moments of the first half. It was a nervous start from United who looked sluggish and slow against a high pressing Newcastle side and Lindelöf struggled at times. He could have been at fault with the first goal, losing his feet and allowing Gayle the time to slot the ball away. Performed better in the second half and looked far more composed.
Chris Smalling: 6.5
Almost let Hayden score in injury time in the first half. Apart from that minor slip, he was fairly solid, controlling the young Lindelöf effectively. Newcastle’s offensive threat was almost non-existent in the second period but Smalling and the backline dealt with any danger well.
Ashley Young: 7
Another excellent performance from the veteran left-back, who’s delivery for Chris Smalling’s goal was fantastic. He was defensively solid and knew when to get forward and when to stay back.
Paul Pogba: 9 (Man of the Match)
After missing the past two months with a hamstring injury, Pogba returned with an inspiring performance. He had a huge presence on the field and ran the show, constantly looking to get on the ball. Pogba excellently assisted Martial to get United level, before getting himself on the scoresheet in the second half. Wonderful showing and promising going forward into the tricky winter period.
Nemanja Matić: 8
Matić will love having Pogba back in the team, taking some of the pressure off the Serbian. He was solid as usual, breaking up play and allowing the more creative players to shine.
Juan Mata: 7
Although the Spaniard didn’t have an end product in this game, he was a constant creative outlet for Mourinho’s side. Always influencing the game.
Marcus Rashford: 8
The young forward again adapted his game to play out wide, a role that he may have to get more used to now that Zlatan Ibrahimović is back. However, he excelled and was a constant menace. Grabbed an assist for Pogba’s goal.
Anthony Martial: 8
Another great performance from the Frenchman. With two pacey wingers, Newcastle struggled to deal with United and Martial epitomized that. His fast footwork and tricky skills were entertaining to watch throughout. Martial’s header was the catalyst for United’s emphatic response.
Romelu Lukaku: 8
A bounce-back performance from Lukaku after some less than impressive showings recently. His goal characterized his recent frustrations as he blasted it past Elliot from close range. Great work-rate throughout the game and gave Newcastle multiple problems, especially in the second half.
Marouane Fellaini (Sub, 70’): 6.5
Came on for Paul Pogba with 20 minutes left, almost scored in the dying moments of the game.
Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sub, 77’): 6
Great to see the legend that is Ibrahimović back at Old Trafford. His first few touches and passes were slightly off as expected, yet he attempted a wonderful volley late on that tested Elliot. Rapturous response from the crowd.
Ander Herrera (Sub, 83’): N/A
Came on in the last 10 minutes for Mata.
José Mourinho: 8
His decision to throw Pogba back into the starting line-up paid off after the Frenchman repaid him with a man-of-the-match performance. A solid choice of line-up and great to see him give Ibrahimović game time.