Manchester United came away with a 4-1 win at St. James’ Park after an early defensive error. It was a good display from players and a club who needed a boost after a firestorm of negativity. It wasn’t their best display, and the scoreline is perhaps flattering considering the context of the goals, but it’s a good win nonetheless.
United got off to a dreadful start. The usual back four kept their starting spots, but were spread out very quickly. A cross (or maybe shot? who knows) by Krafth was deflected by Luke Shaw and sent right past a speechless David De Gea in just the second minute of the game.
United’s attacking shape was perhaps predictably a bit out of shape with the midfield and wide roles changed up. Marcus Rashford clearly more used to his wide role, and didn’t really make runs when he needed to in the box. He played centre forward for a time under Interim manager Ole, and with Martial suspended he was once again called to the middle of the forward line.
Newcastle United looked content to sit on their lucky lead, sitting back and allowing United to press them and possess in their own half. United looked a bit out of sync however, playing with a rotated lineup. Still chances started to come fast, and players grew into the game.
Daniel James, starting on the left wing, had a couple looks at goal deflected, and had some decent inter-change with Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford. A chance set up for Bruno Fernandes by Juan Mata, who started on the right wing, wound up in the top corner. Unfortunately VAR overturned the goal because Mata was well offside when he played it back to Bruno.
A few minutes later United scored another equalizer, and this one actually counted! Harry Maguire, who needed a confidence booster perhaps more than any other player, hammered home a header off of a corner kick in the 22nd minute.
The rest of the first half played out about the same, with United having the most of the possession and creating some good chances. Marcus Rashford created a few good opportunities for himself and teammates, but Darlow was up for the challenge. Wan-Bissaka even had an audacious attempt from a wide angle, but Darlow was up for that too. The two teams went into the locker room level at the break.
The second half picked up where the first left off, and United again tested Darlow and the Newcastle defense. They were awarded a penalty in the 57th minute after Craig Pawson reviewed video footage of a foul on Marcus Rashford. Unfortunately Bruno chose this moment to not convert a penalty for the first time at United, Darlow guessing correctly and punching away the attempt from the spot.
Maguire followed up the ensuing corner with another good header on frame, but Jonjo Shelvey was there to head it off the line. Rashford too had a chance after being sent through, but Darlow did just enough to deny the chance.
Paul Pogba entered the game with about 20 minutes to go, replacing Fred, who had not had a great game. His passing and presence had a positive effect quickly, and United began another siege of the Newcastle area. Though goals didn’t come immediately, the pressure certainly mounted.
However, despite the talent in possession, it was a counterattack that finally got United in front. Donny Van De Beek and Juan Mata kickstarted it in midfield, and Marcus Rashford made a good cut inside before playing Bruno on the overlap. Bruno didn’t hesitate from a tough angle, and placed a perfect shot past Darlow to make it 2-1 in the 86th minute.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka followed it up with another well placed strike a few minutes later to make it 3-1, and Rashford placed another in garbage time to make it 4-1 and seal a much needed 3 points for the Red Devils. It wasn’t a classic performance, but a strong one nonetheless as Ole’s men came from behind to get a win. They didn’t linger on their early error and finished strong with their best players ahead of a very tough run-in that features PSG, Chelsea, and Arsenal.