Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks like a dead man walking as Manchester United fell unceremoniously, thanks to a winner from Newcastle United debutant Matty Longstaff.
Things have been looking gloomy for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United of late. The away side needed all three points at Newcastle United. Manchester United had the lion’s share of the ball all through the game but found it tough to crack open a well-structured Newcastle lineup.
The best chance of the first half fell to Harry Maguire from the corner. Probably three or four yards out, Maguire had an open goal gaping in front of him. But, the English international somehow unchallenged, still headed it wide when it seemed harder to miss the goal.
United would go on to repent for the crime Maguire committed. On a break in the second half that was led Allan Saint-Maximin, the ball was squared to debutant Matty Longstaff, who finished and how, scoring on his debut and handing Newcastle all three points.
With this defeat, Manchester United find themselves languishing in the bottom half of the Premier League, with no wins away from home since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became the permanent manager. Let us take a look at how the individuals fared.
David de Gea – 6.5
An average outing for de Gea. The Spaniard did not have much to do and was adept when called upon. The Longstaff strike was too sweetly hit for de Gea to be able to stop it, especially with his vision obstructed by players in front of him. De Gea rushed forward to join the last kick of the game from a free kick.
The move not only showed desperation but a damning statement that perhaps, the Spaniard has lost faith in his outfield players to provide the goal.
Diogo Dalot – 5
Did nothing noticeable or anything to influence the game apart from one dangerous cross in the first half. Lost the battle in convincing manner to Allan Saint-Maximin, who was the cream of the crop for Newcastle on the day. A bad outing for the Portuguese, who looks no closer to fitting into the setup as a regular. Suffered an injury and had to be subbed off in the second half.
Axel Tuanzebe – 7
The only player who looked like he was trying. To shine in a centre-back pairing that has Harry Maguire in it is a big task. But, Tuanzebe was up to it. Never looked out of place and the Tuanzebe-Maguire partnership looks to have better potential than Lindelof-Maguire. Would be gutted to concede on what was a fulfilling display.
Harry Maguire – 5.5
Honestly, Maguire did not put that much of a foot wrong and was adept defensively. Lost his marker in the first half but recovered to tackle Miguel Almiron to avoid a shot on goal. But, it was his near miss on the other front that costs him the rating for me. Very very poor from the man who is known for his heading. Looks like the finishing curse is spreading to everyone.
Ashley Young – 4.5
People should wonder just how Ashley Young starts every game and manages to screw up United every time in recent games. Failure to trap the ball, giving away possession cheaply, pathetic service from dead-ball and a non-existent threat going forward; Manchester United are looking ordinary and Ashley Young is a major major reason for it.
Scott McTominay – 6
In a team that has so many experienced personnel and expensive stars, it is Tuanzebe and McTominay that are found to be the ones that want it the most and are proving themselves on the pitch. While it was a quiet evening for McTominay, he did his job and was always found wanting to cover other’s tracks more often than not.
Doesn’t look out of depth but needs someone to handle the creative impetus.
Fred – 4.5
Honestly, Fred has done nothing yet to justify being at Manchester United, let alone justify his ginormous price tag. The midfielder was brought in surely to amp up the creativity, instead of Matic, who provided more assurance at the back. But, we did not see a single Fred run from the deep and not a single splitting pass from the Brazilian. So much for the Samba flair.
Andreas Pereira – 5
From one Brazilian to another; there is one thing that Andreas Pereira does well and it is his ability from dead-ball situations. Alas, he wasn’t even taking them. What he provides apart from it remains a mystery to date. Probably the most ordinary regular in attack Manchester United have seen in ages and that will be an understatement.
Pereira loses the ball in crucial situations, never provides a good enough end-product and in the one chance he had of playing Daniel James through, the Brazilian shot straight from long-range at the Newcastle goal. Promoting youth is one thing. But, Solskjaer is putting his faith behind the wrong one in Pereira.
Baffling how Bruno Fernandes was deemed not good enough for Manchester United when they have players like Andreas Pereira starting regularly.
Juan Mata – 5.5
Given the ability to roam freely, Mata tried his level best to provide runs for his teammates to pass the ball to and break the Newcastle barrier. But, most of the time, his teammates failed to find him and the other times they did play a ball, Mata was too slow to get to it first.
The Spaniard looked like he was trying but it almost seemed like it isn’t good enough anymore. Cannot be a regular anymore but that can be said for 4 of the players that started on Sunday.
Daniel James – 5
A very quiet evening from Daniel James by the standards he has set. Just did not get going on the day. But, it is difficult to come in from a tier below and be asked to be the one to lead the attack at Manchester United. Big things are expected from James, but he cannot shoulder the entire burden of carrying the attack just yet.
Marcus Rashford – 5.5
Just looks out of his depth, doesn’t he? Rashford at times, seemed static, which is very unlike him. A much improved second half saw Rashford get on the end of the ball and run at defenders, creating half-chances only for others to screw him over. His teammates did not do him any favours as far as passing the ball or noticing his runs is concerned.
But, it is what you have come to expect from an ordinary midfield that has no creative impetus. Rashford has too much expectations on him and it seems to be wearing him down match by match. Needs a break but sadly, Solskjaer cannot afford him that at the moment.
Marcos Rojo – 5.5
Wasted a couple of opportunities with his over-enthusiasm. Was decent otherwise since coming on.
Mason Greenwood – 5
Cannot expect Greenwood to come on and change the game. But, he was invisible on the pitch and hardly ever got on the end of the ball. Needs more time.
Tahith Chong – N/A
Another youngster who cannot be expected to change things as a substitute. No calmness or composure in his game yet, which was evident in how he lunged and fouled near the Newcastle box with just minutes left on the clock, especially with the opposition player already under pressure.