The fourth matchday is now done and dusted for the Mags and we are officially in the relegation zone of the Premier League.
Saturday’s opponents were by far the toughest we’ve faced this season and only the most optimistic fan would have hoped for more than one point.
However, in my opinion two points were lost today and the culprit was none other than our valued and excellent manager Steve Bruce.
Here is my brief review of the game:
Performance in the first half
Fairly solid defensive performance until a goalkeeper howler allowed CR7 to add another tap-in to his collection. Before that, we had reasonably decent chances and things could have turned out differently if Joe Willock had received the pass that Longsaff collected in the pits.
Second half performance
Graeme Jones’ counterattack and half-height pressing football paid off pretty early … and what a finish Manquillo’s was for his first black and white goal.
Unfortunately, after a weak defense during the break and more amateur goalkeepers, we conceded a second.
Nevertheless, the boys were in a good mood and played on pride until the end.
Two late goals – a screamer from Bruno (again bad goalkeepers …) and a team goal completed by Lingard made the game look rather one-sided in the end; a little unfair if you ask me.
Master class for managers
Steve Bruce decided to put Freddie Woodman in goal for Ronaldo’s return home despite Darlow being fit. He also chose to play Hayden as the center-back while Schar and Fernandez kept the bench warm.
With an even game of 2-1 and one point to play for, the first change was made: Steve Bruce took away the brilliant Manquillo and replaced him with Murphy. Thus the right side of our defense was left without a natural defender.
After a poor challenge from Murphy, Manchester United counterattacked and Bruno did the rest, 3-1 and game over.
At 3-1 the boys held their heads up and played as positively as possible.
Then came the second substitution: Jamal Lewis for Ciaran Clark at LCB. I’ll keep an eye out in the comments for anyone who can explain this.
On the last change, Willock came in for … Hendrick.
Despite the final score, it was a good performance against a Manchester United team that never got going (until their last goal) and, to be honest, was there.
There was a lot to admire, but still a lot to be desired.
The positives were the guys’ serenity when they got off the defensive, the patience to try those long balls, and the hard 90 minute run.
On the other hand, we need a game plan and an actual manager.
The substitutions slowed the team’s rhythm at the back and did not help the attack. We played again without midfield, threw the ball from the back to the front.
If we had faced a better coordinated team, we could have conceded six or more goals today.
After the fourth game day
19. – 1 point
W0 / D1 / L3
5 goals, 12 goals against.
We really have a very long season ahead of us.
Howay the boys.
Statistics from BBC Sport:
Manchester United 4 Newcastle United 1 – Saturday 11th September 3pm
Ronaldo 45 + 2, 62, Fernandes 80, Lingard 90 + 1
(In brackets the statistics of the first half)
possession was ManU 65% (70%) Newcastle 35% (30%)
Total number of recordings were Man Utd 21 (15) Newcastle 12 (6)
Shots on target were Man Utd 7 (3) Newcastle 3 (0)
Corners were Man Utd 7 (4) Newcastle 3 (1)
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Woodman, Manquillo (Murphy 77), Hayden, Lascelles, Clark (Lewis 84), Ritchie, Sean Longstaff, Almiron, Willock (Hendrick 85), Saint-Maximin, Joelinton
Darlow, Schar, Krafth, Fernandez, White, Gayle
Steve Bruce refuses to answer the vacation question Newcastle United fans are asking after the last pounding – read HERE
Manchester United 4 Newcastle United 1 – Ronaldo takes the top of the Reds as Bruce has NUFC in the relegation zone – Read HERE
Manchester United 4 Newcastle United 1 – Immediate response from NUFC fans / writers to Saturday’s hammering – Read HERE