Manchester United have returned to Premier League football after more than a fortnight of hiatus, following the two postponed matches. But after the coronavirus outbreak has ended in their team, Man United faced Newcastle United at St James’ Park, where they were unable to salvage more than a single point.
The match ended 1-1, as the Magpies surprised United with an early goal from Allan Saint-Maximin, just seven minutes into the match. Throughout the game, the Devils were not so good in getting back in it, but Edinson Cavani’s goal 20 minutes from the final whistle was enough for them to at least secure a point in a poor performance from Ralf Rangnick’s side.
Here is what we learned from this draw.
Man United Far From Getting Used To New System
There has been a lot of time between the 1-0 win at Norwich and this game, with Man United fans hoping that will help the team get more accustomed to the new style of play Rangnick is expecting of his team. But the game in Newcastle proved that such thing is still far down the road, as United struggled throughout. Man United were playing directly, too often losing the ball all too easily. They were inviting pressure which Newcastle brought in front of their goal.
With the 4-2-2-2 system, United were expected to press high, but they did not do so. They were also far from being an organised unit going forward and there were not many opportunities throughout the match. Also, the performances of Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford especially had shown their struggles to adjust to their new roles.
De Gea Saves United
In some ways, it is easy to summarise this match. When David de Gea is by far United’s best player and the one that keeps them winning a point against a struggling Newcastle side, you pretty much know what kind of match that was. De Gea was often left do his thing, as United allowed eight shots on target throughout the night. He made seven saves, one of them remarkably spectacular. If it was not for him, United would have comfortably lost this match…
Newcastle Startle The Red Devils
Rangnick insisted on a 4-2-2-2 to try to beat Newcastle, but it was opposition’s 4-5-1/4-4-1-1 that brought a lot of problems to disoriented United. It was especially the case of Joelinton, who has been amazing ever since moving backwards from the starting striker position to the more of an attacking midfielder role. Him and Saint-Maximin especially made United struggle, showing a performance that will make Newcastle fans hope better days in their fight against relegation are just around the corner.
Fight For Top Four Will Not Be An Easy One
Manchester United’s draw means they have just 28 points from 17 matches and are getting further behind in the race for top four and Champions League football. They have a couple of matches yet to play, which could propel them higher up the standings, but not if they keep showing performances as this one. Arsenal, West Ham and Tottenham are all in front of Man United, meaning this might be a very tough battle for the Devils. There is still way too many matches to be played, but United need to start showing improvements in their performances for that to happen.