Manchester United suffered another defeat in the Premier League on Saturday evening, with Anthony Gordon making the difference in a 1-0 win for Newcastle United at St. James’ Park. United looked truly bleak on the night, and without identity against a Newcastle team that is anything but.
Erik ten Hag opted for a change at the back, with Luke Shaw moving to LCB alongside Harry Maguire, and Dalot and Wan-Bissaka starting on the flanks. McTominay and Mainoo were paired in midfield again too.
Onana silenced the jeers a bit with a nice save to his low right in the 17th minute. Newcastle worked the ball into Almiron, whose shot was denied.
Trippier nearly found the breakthrough just a few minutes before halftime with a curling free kick. It seemed destined for the top left corner of the net in the time where everyone was frozen still watching the shot, but luckily for the Reds, it bounced out off the underside of the crossbar.
Anthony Gordon broke the deadlock in the 55th minute, capping a dominant period of play that extended back into the first half, and the inevitability of it emphasized how dominated United looked. The defense did well to cling to life with almost no help from the midfield and forwards, but a poor pass out from Aaron Wan-Bissaka turned into their undoing.
In truth, it was Maguire and Luke Shaw doing the work in the heart of the defense, with each getting stops and clearances at key moments, but there was a mess all around them.
There was a chance for things to get uglier on a VAR check for handball on Wan-Bissaka which at first glance appeared to be more bad news for United, but the replay showed it was actually just a good block on the attempt.
United found a little more life late on, and with Nick Pope withdrawn to injury there seemed an opportunity to take a few shots at substitute Martin Dubravka. Antony had one such shot on a rebounded cross, but it was ruled out for offside after hitting Harry Maguire on the way in.
Nine minutes of added time followed the Pope injury, but if anything it felt like more of a punishment than a chance to scrap together an equalizer. United’s desperation ball gave them more up front than anything they tried earlier in the match and it still wasn’t enough to challenge the Magpies at the back.
It may be panic time soon at Old Trafford with the schedule heating up and United still having no semblance of identity or form. Chelsea, Bayern Munich, and Liverpool are all up soon in the next four matches as well. If Erik ten Hag is the man for the job he has quite a job to do.