Playing for the first time in 16 days, United struggled against a very game Newcastle United side. Newcastle was full of confidence Monday night and it showed with Allan Saint-Maximin bagging an early goal in the 7th minute. Despite United having the lions share of possession for most of the match, the visitors were unable to create any real attacking threat. Having no competitive matches in 16 days added a lot of ring rust for everyone on the field save David De Gea.
De Gea continued his lights out performances, stopping two would-be goals for Newcastle. De Gea made an important save on a Miguel Almiron strike pushing the ball over the crossbar. De Gea appeared to be the only player on the pitch for United who looked like he actually came to play. The whole team looked disjointed and unable to play together. Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay, and Fred all had terrible games. Each gave the ball away with almost every touch and seemed unable to complete even the simplest pass. It was a really poor showing for everyone in a United shirt.
In the second half Ralf Rangnick took off an inept Fred and an ok Mason Greenwood for Jadon Sancho and Edinson Cavani. For most of the second half Newcastle were able to create chance after chance on the break every time a United player gave the ball away. St James’ Park was loud and energetic throughout the match making it really difficult for the visitors. Newcastle would rue their missed chances earlier in the match in the 71st minute when Cavani makes it 1-1.
The one decent pass Fernandes made was the one that got things started for the goal. The Portuguese midfielder hit a ball over to the right for Diogo Dalot. Dalot crosses a knee high ball to the wide open Cavani who sees his first time shot blocked. The rebound falls right back to him and makes no mistake the second time putting the ball in the back of the net.
United looked completely off the pace in the match and absolutely did not deserve to get a point from this one. Everyone except De Gea was poor and did not deserve to be playing in a United shirt. Rangnick needs to make some tough decisions and bench some players who shouldn’t be anywhere near the first team right now. The upcoming Burnley match is a perfect time to give some hungry players some minutes and bench under performing ones (I’m looking at you Rashford, Harry Maguire, and Fred).