Manchester United returned to winning terms in the Premier League as they thrashed Newcastle United 4-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday. Dwight Gayle opened the scoring for the visitors, but subsequent goals from Anthony Martial, Chris Smalling, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku condemned Rafa Benitez’s men to third consecutive league defeat.
Here are the Major Talking Points from the win at Old Trafford:
United Finally Concede at Old Trafford
Manchester United hadn’t conceded at Old Trafford in the league since April, but Dwight Gayle’s superb goal meant that United failed to keep a clean sheet at home for the first time this season. The early goal, which was a result of a terrifyingly swift counter down the right, threatened United’s 37 game unbeaten home record, but Mourinho’s men finally showed their quality with four goals later on.
Pogba is Back with a bang
Paul Pogba, who was sent straight into the starting line up, was superb tonight, and it’s no surprise that his return coincided with United scoring 4 goals in a game yet again. His assist for Martial’s equaliser was simply majestic, while his goal highlighted his positioning skills. He’s shown United what they’ve been missing, and obviously it’s always great to watch players like him who can turn matches on their own. The star midfielder, however, could sit out the midweek Champions League game against Basel, since United are almost already in the knockout stages.
Ibra and Rojo return
Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his long-awaited return tonight, coming on the field for the final 15 minutes. He looked a bit rusty, obviously, but still showed that he has finally recovered with a bicycle kick that was punched away by Rob Elliot.
Apart from the Swedish superstar, another player who made a return tonight was Marcos Rojo. The Argentinian defender, who was an unused substitute, played his first game in seven months when he stayed on the pitch for 45 minutes in the U23’s game against Athletic Bilbao three days ago.
Martial and Rashford cause Problems
Martial and Rashford, who’ve rarely played together this season, were absolutely superb today. And Mourinho admitted after the match that both players want to play on the left, which is causing him headaches. And with the two in super form, it’s clear that players like Mkhitaryan and Lingard will stay out of the starting eleven, maybe even the squad, which could cause a few problems for the boss. He could be forced to take Mata out as well when Zlatan gains complete match fitness. Looks like the duo’s good form will be bad omen for the manager.
Lukaku back on the score sheet
Romelu Lukaku, who had scored 11 goals in his first 10 games for United, was looking like a bargain buy even at £75m. However, an eight game drought meant that doubts had started to creep in. With this goal, he not only ended his drought but also got a much needed confidence boost ahead of a busy winter schedule.
Things are looking bright for United
Paul Pogba’s return with a bang, Zlatan’s long-awaited return, Rojo’s full recovery, Lukaku’s return to the score sheet and Martial and Rashford in amazing form- there’s no way United aren’t in red hot form right now. And with the team back in confidence, it’s highly likely that United will resuscitate their title charge. After all, they’ve still got time on their side. Even the next two league fixtures are facile. What else do they need right now?