Newcastle United convincingly beat Manchester United 2-0 at St James Park.
52,268 fans saw Newcastle manager Eddie Howe’s team dismantle a disappointing United side.
St James Park was rocking throughout the game, creating an atmosphere where intimidating is an understatement.
This big three points sees Newcastle move up to third place in the table, level with their visitors today, but ahead considerably on goal difference.
With just 11 Premier League games left for both sides, the race for third will be an exciting one.
As United still have 8 games to play in April alone, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag cannot reflect too much on the defeat, and must look to the minefield of fixtures ahead.
Newcastle United missed more big chances (2) and hit the post more times (2) than Manchester United had shots on target (1).
One-sided. 💥 pic.twitter.com/rKERRBzFP2
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 2, 2023
The Crucial Moments in Newcastle’s impressive victory
Newcastle immediately dominated the ball in the first 10 minutes, starting the game on the front foot.
Although, the first big chance of the game fell to the red devils, after inform Scott Mctominay won the ball back giving Antony the chance to slip Weghorst in. The six foot seven forward was unable to covert, and instead smashed his effort into the side netting.
In the 16th minute, David de Gea, with shades of his historic performance against Arsenal in 2017, made a great double save to deny Newcastle from taking the lead. Jacob Murphy found himself in a good crossing position after Kieran Trippers progressive pass. The Englishman dinked his delivery in towards the near post, where Swedish international Alexander Isak headed towards goal. De Gea saved, but it fell to Willock, who shot straight back at the Spanish goalkeeper, who made his second save, before it was eventually cleared.
Ten Hag’s men massively got away with one there.
A minute later, danger man Allan Saint-Maxamin tried his luck from distance, but his effort was tame and De Gea was able to claim comfortably.
Antony was one of the only United players making any sort of impact offensively in the first half. He tried one of his trademark curlers, but this time got it very wrong and struck very wide.
Saint-Maxamin continued to threaten, jinxing around defenders. The Frenchman did such, before whipping in a cross to Matty Longstaff, who’s header was just wide.
In the 25th minute, Murphy had a long range half volley, but this went well over the bar.
In the first 30 minutes, Ten Hag’s men looked like they hadn’t had an international break at all, the players lacked any intent or threat on goal, playing in a lacklustre style.
This was completely contrasted by Newcastle, who combined with the atmospheric crowd, were electric.
In the 38th minute, Saint-Maxamin was causing problems again, driving at the United defence. The Frenchman cut back and laid off Longstaff, who took a touch and had a go from just outside the box. The English midfielder’s effort looked to be arrowing into the top corner, but it just flew past the post.
An Antony flick set Diogo Dalot away on the right flank. The Dutch international crafted a teasing ball into the corridor of uncertainty, but Marcus Rashford was unable to get on the end of it at the back post.
Newcastle launched a long ball up to Isak, who expertly took it, and set Saint-Maxamin away on the counter attack. The frightening winger drove at United’s backline again, before switching the ball across the box to an oncoming Willock with loads of time. However, the English midfielder thumped the ball wide.
Antony had a half chance from a corner after Shaw’s deep delivery fell to the Brazilian. However, the former Ajax winger could only send his shot over the bar.
A minute of added time was awarded at the end of the first half.
The scores remained 0-0 going into half time. Newcastle dominated what was a promising first half from them, United looked completely off the pace.
Saint-Maxamin started the second half as he ended the first, lively.
Antony tried his specialist move again, but his strike was tame and easily collected by Nick Pope.
In the 57th minute, Newcastle defender Fabian Char found himself in space and fired from distance. The Swiss internationals shot was narrowly wide.
Controversially, in the 62nd minute, Ten Hag took the only real threat in Antony off. Jadon Sancho replaced him. Antony Martial also made his return from injury, replacing Wout Weghorst.
Just three minutes after, Willock broke the deadlock. Isak slid Bruno Guimaraes in behind, before the Brazilians first time dink found a leaping Saint-Maxamin at the back post, who squared it back to an open Willock, to practically head into an open goal.
This gave Newcastle a crucial 1-0 lead.
In the 68th minute, likely to everyone in red’s relief, Howe took off Saint-Maxamin and brought on Joelinton. Anthony Gordon also replaced Murphy.
In the 76th minute, a great De Gea save kept United in it. A deep corner was met by a rising Joelinton, who headed high towards goal. However, the elite shot stopper was able to tip his header onto the bar. The ball fell to Schar, who could only hit the post with his header.
Newcastle countered again with Willock driving at Varane. However, his strike was well wide.
Isak was brought off in the 80th minute, Callum Wilson replaced him.
A rare United chance saw Bruno Fernandes dink Martial in. The French forward cut back and shot but his strike deflected just wide.
Ten Hag then gambled. He made a triple substitution taking off Scott McTominay for Fred, Lisandro Martinez for Facundo Pellistri and Raphael Varane for Victor Lindelof.
Howe and Ten Hag were spotted arguing.
Dan Burn had an effort on goal from a deep cross following a corner, but his header didn’t trouble De Gea.
In the 88th minute, Newcastle cemented their victory after super sub Wilson doubled their lead. A wide Kieran Trippier freekick was expertly met by the English striker, who nodded his header towards goal into the bottom left corner, past De Gea.
Five minutes of extra time was awarded.
Guimaraes was awarded player of the match.
Cher had one last chance, just before the end, but his effort was wide.
As a result, the game ended in a 2-0 victory for Newcastle.
3 – Manchester United have failed to score in three consecutive Premier League games for a seventh time, and for the first time since February 2020. Blunt. pic.twitter.com/o0iQbZ8XPp
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 2, 2023
How the game was won and lost
Firstly, attitude. No matter the quality in a team, if the hunger and desire isn’t there, then they will struggle. This was evident today.
United lacked any real passion and willingness to go above and beyond for the three points. You could forgive such a performance before the international break, however, for it to continue happening after time off is alarming.
This was completely contrasted by Newcastle’s illustration of passion and belief when playing. With the addition of the crowd, Howe’s men always looked dangerous. They looked far more up for it, and the only side likely throughout the 90 minutes to win the game.
The battle between Saint-Maxamin and the United defence was another game definer. The French international is known to be dangerous, but today he was another level. Every time the winger got the ball, he causes various problems. From the first minute, to his substitution, Saint Maxamin was a disaster for the United defence. This ultimately contributed to a lot of Newcastle’s best attacks, and inevitably the opening goal in which he assisted.
Casemiro’s absence was another big issue. The drop off between when he plays and doesn’t is damning. Without the five time Champions League winner, United fundamentally lack the ability to progress the ball through midfield, and get their attackers into dangerous positions. Thus, today, the McTominay, Marcel Sabitzer pivot just didn’t work. United’s attackers rarely got the ball in threatening positions because of the inability to win the ball and progress it forward quickly.
Subsequently, Rashford, who thrives off space to drive into, was a shadow of his own ability, and for many weeks United have relied on their number 10 to provide the spark needed to score that crucial matchwinner. Thus, United subsequently struggled today without his influence. In addition, the forwards were starved off such service that Weghorst only made seven touches in the first half.
Nick Pope (15) has more touches on the ball than Wout Weghorst (7) in the match so far. #NEWMUN pic.twitter.com/8IU5PALXD9
— Football Talk (@FootballTalkHQ) April 2, 2023
Finally, something which has rarely occurred this season, Ten Hag got it wrong. The Dutch coach has been pivotal in United’s recent success, but today he got it wrong. Ten Hag brought off Antony, who was the one dangerous United player, whilst taking off his two centre halves, when the game was still salvageable. This massively backfired as Newcastle subsequently got the second.
Ultimately, Ten Hag will be very concerned with what he saw his side produce today.
Who’s up next
United head back to Old Trafford on Wednesday, as they host Brentford in the Premier League.
Newcastle take a trip down to London to face West Ham at the London Stadium.