United v Newcastle: Talking Points
Manchester United enjoyed a number of positives with the 4-1 win over Newcastle United at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team demonstrated a real attacking intent on Thursday and managed to net four at home for the first time since the opening weekend of the season.
After our convincing showing, here are six of the major talking points from the match…
150-UP FOR POGBA
Paul Pogba made his 150th United appearance during the Boxing Day clash. The Frenchman was named on the bench, with Ole feeling he needs to be eased back into the side after recently recovering from a long-term injury. However, the midfielder was introduced at start of the second half, and he received an excellent reception from the home faithful. Much like last week against Watford, Pogba gave an encouraging performance and his movement, speed and range of passing drove United on in the latter phases. It was also a very welcome return to the Theatre of Dreams for the no.6, having not played a home match since September.
The Reds were dealt a real hammer blow in the 17th minute, when Matty Longstaff put the hosts ahead. However, United couldn’t have responded in a better fashion and managed to grab three goals in the remaining 28 minutes of the half. Unsurprisingly, they came courtesy of three of our regular goalscorers: Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford - and the spirited fightback was an example of the determination and resilience in this United side.
Tony got us back on level terms in the 24th minute, before he grabbed our fourth in the second period. Our no.9 really was unplayable at times, and was inches away from grabbing his first senior hat-trick, but, sadly, his left-footed effort from distance struck the inside of the post and rebounded out. It proved to be the Frenchman’s last chance to score, with Ole replacing him in 68th minute for Juan Mata, with one eye on the game at Burnley on Saturday night.
Greenwood bagged his eighth goal of the season in the first half of the Boxing Day battle, but his strike against the Magpies is probably his best yet for the first team. The 18-year-old got the ball out of his feet and unleashed a bullet of an effort that left Martin Dubravka helpless in the away goal. The youngster’s two Premier League goals to date had both been equalisers, so it was great to see him celebrate with joy in front of a jubilant Old Trafford.
United v Newcastle gallery
Presenting the standout images from our Premier League outing on Boxing Day.
Last weekend’s results were far from ideal for our Champions League aims, but, at the end of Boxing Day, our position looks a lot healthier. United are now just four points off Chelsea in fourth place ahead of the next round of fixtures on Saturday. Ole will also know our trip to Burnley presents an opportunity to reduce the deficit even further, with the Blues facing a tough test away to Mikel Arteta's Arsenal in a London derby.
With so many fixtures at this time of year, it’s vital to pick up three points. Not only did we do that against the Magpies, but, as United were three goals ahead with just under 40 minutes remaining, itmeant most of the second half was played at a slower pace. As a result, the Reds should hopefully be slightly less leggy in two days time at Turf Moor. The comfortable nature of the scoreline also allowed Ole to withdraw Rashford and Martial earlier than he must have planned before the game.
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