The Red Devils are on cloud nine with Ole Gunnar Solksjaer in charge. They have won 3 of their previous games scoring 12 and just conceding 3. The Norweigan has done a fantastic job, but could he extend his terrific managerial career at Manchester United by winning against Newcastle United at St James’ Park. There were 2 changes for Manchester United- Phil Jones for the suspended Eric Bailly and Mata for Lingard. Newcastle were 15th on the table and 3 points from the relegation zone.
The United attack all were entertained with the ball a lot in the opening 10 minutes. Rashford and Martial were enjoying their time, dribbling past the Magpie defenders. However, to no significant impact. Atsu was the first Newcastle player to have a chance at De Gea but he squandered his shot far from the post. Newcastle started gaining momentum. Rondon snatched the ball off Jones near the half-line and dribbled past Lindelof before Jones tackling him cleanly in the box. Rashford had a few opportunities later in the half but to no cigar. It was an even first half where United’s attacking dominance overshadowed Newcastle’s small openings. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer knew he had to introduce changes to impact the game.
The second half began with a Newcastle attacking flourish- Perez and Rondon were presented with good chances, but Victor Lindelof rescued United. With the game getting dull, Solksjaer brought on Lukaku and Sanchez for Martial and Mata respectively. Rashford took a free kick to which Dubravka couldn’t gather and Lukaku took advantage of his spill, scoring a goal only after 40 seconds from the bench. He reminded the United faithful of Solksjaer- the super sub. Newcastle pushed for an equalizer calling on Jonjo Shelvey for Diame, but the substitution backfired. Rashford took possession of the ball after a lose pass by Atsu back which he passed to Lukaku and a little exchange between the two presented the ball to the Chilean Sanchez who cleverly, cheekily clipped the ball in between the Newcastle defenders for Marcus Rashford to score. The manager’s substitutions were liquid gold. Manchester United went on winning the match 2-0 keeping the pressure on both Arsenal and Chelsea for the Champions League spot. They were 3 points behind the gunners and 6 behind the Blues.
But for Newcastle, it meant trouble. They are now 2 points from the relegation zone. They face Man City and Chelsea in their next 2 fixtures. Salvaging anything from that would be precious.