Manchester United were able to salvage a 1-1 draw against Newcastle United at St. James’ Park. The performance was, at times, shockingly bad from the Red Devils. They may be struggling to recover from their Covid outbreak, but they looked clueless for most of the match.
The game started really poorly from United, who looked like they’d not trained regularly or played in weeks, and Newcastle took full advantage. Allan Saint-Maximin cut in past Maguire to strike in the 7th minute for the home side, punishing a sloppy defensive recovery from the Reds. In all fairness to the Frenchman it was a lovely taken goal off balance, but the defense left a lot to be desired in their attempts to deal with the situation.
Newcastle didn’t let up for most of the first half, and Saint-Maximin had acres of space down United’s right hand side. The set up from the Reds left Dalot high up the pitch nearly the whole game, meaning Varane had a lot to cover for. The structure
The second half saw Ralf Rangnick make two changes immediately, bringing on Jadon Sancho and Edinson Cavani for Fred and Mason Greenwood respectively. The switch put Rashford back in the more familiar LW role and Bruno in a deep role alongside Scott McTominay. Though the Reds found some more chances they still struggled to establish the sort of control that you expect from a Rangnick side. Newcastle found plenty of chances to break and catch United in transition, but some spectacular saves from David De Gea and better recovery work kept them from finding the scoresheet again.
United finally equalized in the 71st minute through Cavani, who placed it in the bottom corner on a follow up after his first attempt was blocked. He should have put the Reds in front just a few minutes later, but his attempt to put the ball over Dubravka left Lascelles too much time to locate and clear the ball off the line.
The match ended 1-1 despite 6 minutes of added time, and it probably deserved to end as such. A relegation side and a shambolic top end side, both transitioning to new managers and new systems. United also likely rusty with players recovering from Covid, missed training sessions, and isolated/interrupted training, but the performance was shockingly bad still. Has to be better.