Manchester United vs Newcastle United Match Analysis and Player Ratings

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Image Source: The Busby Babe

Manchester United have beaten Newcastle United 4-1 at Old Trafford with goals coming from Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford. After an embarrassing performance against Watford a few days ago, United have bounced back with a strong commanding win on Boxing Day.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lined the team up in a 4-2-3-1 with the usual backline of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, and Luke Shaw playing in front of David De Gea. In midfield, Fred and McTominay played in a double pivot with Paul Pogba only fit enough to start on the bench. Marcus Rashford, Andreas Pereira, and Mason Greenwood started in attacking midfield and Anthony Martial spearheaded our frontline. 

It felt like it was going to be another one of those days after United went 1-0 down to Matty Longstaff who scored the winning goal against us in the reverse fixture as well. Despite dominating possession and mostly playing in Newcastle's half, we somehow found ourselves trailing after the first 20 minutes. Manchester United hit back through Martial's near-post finish after being set up by Andreas.
Manchester United's relentless high press was rewarded when the Newcastle defence was forced into a series of mistakes that resulted in Greenwood receiving the ball a few yards outside the box. The 18-year-old smashed the ball into the roof of the goal after a deflection but that was a brilliant strike nevertheless. This takes him to 9 goals and 3 assists in all competitions at senior level for this season in 23 appearances.
Marcus Rashford sealed the first half 4 minutes from half time after heading in a pinpoint cross from Wan-Bissaka. The England striker now has 15 goals and 5 assists in 25 appearances this season. He also has 11 goals in the Premier League, which is already more than his personal best of 10 goals in a season. 

Pogba replaced McTominay at half time to give the Frenchman some minutes before he can be deployed for the entirety of the game. For me, personally, Pogba makes a huge difference when he's on the pitch and his passing range is much needed for a team that has no creativity in midfield. Martial buried the game very early in the second half with a cool finish after cleverly capitalising on another Newcastle mistake. The game was pretty much a stroll in the park after that and three points were in the bag. So let's head onto the player ratings!


Player ratings:

First team:

David De Gea: 7/10
After his blunder at Watford, he just had to make a few routine saves today. We didn't need the services of "Super Dave" and there wasn't much he could do about the goal either. I hope he regains his confidence soon though.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 8/10
Again, there wasn't much he could do to stop the Newcastle goal as well. He did, however, provide a beautiful cross to Rashford which gave us our third goal, thus registering his first goal involvement for us. I hope he works on his crossing more because there is a very crosser of the ball in him.

Victor Lindelof: 7/10
Pretty blameless throughout the game and did his job well. In the beginning, Dwight Gayle did get behind our defence a few times and our centre backs should have done better there. However, after the second goal, there was no threat from the Newcastle attack.

Harry Maguire: 6/10
He was one of the reasons we conceded the goal. Gayle spun him around in the box before setting up Matty Longstaff for the opening goal. He did do well getting ahead during the second half and had a long-range effort saved by Martin Dubravka.

Luke Shaw: 6/10
Another average performance by our left-back. He got turned by Matty Longstaff before that first goal. He should've blocked the shot. Even going up front he wasn't much use. We need to be in the market for a better left-back either in January or in the summer.

Scott McTominay: 5/10
Probably one of his worst performances in a United shirt. He got booked within 15 seconds and wasn't really up for the game in general. He was second to most tackles and had to be subbed off at half-time, partially due to an injury he picked up and he was seen leaving Old Trafford in crutches. He did win the ball for the third goal but that could've been flagged as a foul.

Fred: 7/10
He had a rather decent game. The only positive I saw was that Fred is far more tolerable as a midfielder than he was before. Seems like he's getting his act together and working hard to fit into life at United. Though it was his dispossession that led to the first Newcastle goal, the defence could've done better at stopping it.

Andreas Pereira: 7.5/10
I'm usually the first to criticize him but he played quite well last night. He grabbed the assist for our equalizing goal with a beautifully weighted pass to Martial. He also came close to scoring a freekick from a tight angle but Dubravka was equal to it. With McTominay having damaged his knee ligament, it looks like Andreas gets more time to prove his worth to the United faithful.

Marcus Rashford: 7.5/10
What a season this man is having. 15 goals and 5 assists in 25 appearances is very good for a left-winger. He seems to be scoring in every game he plays in. Long may it continue because we have lacked a consistent goalscorer for a long time now.

Anthony Martial: 9/10
A near-perfect performance for the Frenchman who bagged two goals. I really wished Solskjaer had kept him on so he could get his hattrick. I understand that we have another game as soon as Saturday but these are professional footballers. They can withstand that kind of strain.

Subs:

Paul Pogba: 7/10
Paul Pogba makes the United midfield far better. He adds that extra dimension to it and he also came close to scoring a couple of times. Since the game was all but done, he was probably just looking to get more minutes under his belt before he could start playing 90 mins. I think he's ready to start against Burnley.

Jesse Lingard: 5/10
Barely had any impact on the game and was brought on just to give Rashford a rest.

Juan Mata: 5/10
The same can be said for Mata. He was brought on just to give Martial a rest. I do feel that instead of giving these pointless minutes to a player like Mata, we should be handing them out to the likes of James Garner.

That's been the match analysis and player ratings for this game. Let's hope for a similar result against Burnley over the weekend!

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