Anthony Martial was excellent while Mason Greenwood impressed as Manchester United survived an early scare to beat Newcastle United 4-1 on Thursday.
The game started on the worst possible note for Manchester United, as after failing to break down a stubborn Newcastle United defence, they fell down to their visitors, courtesy a close range strike by Matty Longstaff. However, the Red Devils were not licking their wounds for long, scoring four times in 26 minutes to complete their comeback.
Anthony Martial first scored for Manchester United with a powerful drive midway through the first half, before Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford struck before half-time to make it 3-1. Early into the second period, Martial completed his brace and rounded the win off with a delicate dink over Martin Dubravka. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
David de Gea: 6/10
A largely quiet game for de Gea, with Manchester United dominating the proceedings. Had just one save to make and had the best seat in the house to watch his side complete a fantastic turnaround. Could not have done anything to stop Matty Longstaff’s precise finish. Without a clean sheet in 14 Premier League games, de Gea will be desperate to keep a shut out soon enough.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 7/10
A game in which he oddly impressed more in the final third than in the defensive phase. One of those who left a lot to be desired for Newcastle’s only goal, as he chased the ball instead of holding his position. However, he made up for it with a superb assist for Marcus Rashford, his first in Manchester United colours. Needs to build on an excellent attacking display.
Victor Lindelof: 6/10
Like Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof was guilty of following the ball instead of covering his space, as he was turned by Joelinton in the lead-up to Longstaff’s strike. Thereafter, he was barely tested, with Newcastle struggling to get into Manchester United’s defensive half. Did well to build up from the back, moving the ball along quickly.
Harry Maguire: 6/10
For quite some time now, Maguire has been underwhelming when it comes to keeping the backline organised. For a player who has been donning the armband for Manchester United, he really should be doing more instead of creating a huge pocket of space that Matty Longstaff pounced on.
A wonder how he still hasn’t scored from a set-piece, with a tame header easily collected by Martin Dubravka, although the Newcastle defender needed to do stay alert for Maguire’s long range effort. However, for all his aerial prowess, Maguire rarely does anything of note in the opposition box.
Luke Shaw: 7/10
Shaw was not tested one bit at the back, which meant he could concentrate most of his efforts into making an impact in the final third, which is exactly what he did for the equaliser. Stretched the Newcastle defence brilliantly leading up to Anthony Martial’s goal. Only Fred had more touches than him and he saw two late efforts being blocked as well.
The last month and a half have seen Fred come of age at Manchester United and he continued his upward trajectory on Thursday. After a slow start to the game, which included being overrun in the build-up to the opener, Fred settled down and took charge of the proceedings.
Fred’s game by numbers vs. Newcastle United:
most passes completed (115)
most final third passes (28)
joint most ball recoveries (9)
most attempted crosses (6)
most chances created (3)
Complete midfield display. 🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/igMyiBMMyf
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 26, 2019
The ball always went through him whenever Manchester United bombed forward for wave after wave of their attacking moves. Indeed, Fred had the most touches (136), completed the most number of passes (115) and to complete an all round performance, no one made more recoveries (9) or created more chances (3) than him. Just goes from strength to strength.
Scott McTominay: 6/10
McTominay was always going to be under the pump after receiving an early booking. The Scot, though, held his nerve and did well to contain Newcastle apart from the moment that led to the opening goal. Won the ball before starting the move for Rashford’s strike.
Taken off at half-time and it later emerged that he has sustained a knee injury, which will be quite concerning for Solskjaer and Manchester United fans, especially at a time when games are coming thick and fast.
Mason Greenwood: 8/10
Making only his second Premier League start of the season, Greenwood was slow off the blocks, but did not look back after settling into the contest. Initially a peripheral figure due to his tendency to drift wide, the teenage prodigy started looking much more menacing when he moved infield.
It was on one such occasion when Greenwood scored a thunderbolt of a goal, unleashing a driven shot from just outside the box. Greenwood continued posing a great deal of threat for the remainder of the game and played in his natural position for the final quarter of the game.
Already up to eight goals for the season, this is turning out to be a memorable season for Greenwood, who, on Thursday, became only the fourth Manchester United player to score in back-to-back home Premier League games while still in his teens.
Andreas Pereira: 6.5/10
Back into the side in place of Jesse Lingard, Pereira produced a decent performance. Wasteful yet creative in the early exchanges, Pereira lost the ball in the lead-up to Newcastle’s goal. Improved after the error, with his touch for Martial’s goal being decisive. Forced Dubravka to make an agile stop with a free-kick. Needs to become more incisive with his passes now.
Marcus Rashford: 8/10
A game that saw Rashford’s fine run of form continue and a game that showed that the last two displays were but mere blips. Could have netted early on, but shot just wide of target and went close with a free-kick as well. Linked up well with Shaw in the build-up to Martial’s first goal.
Slowly grew into the game and showed that he has added new elements to his arsenal, when he rose high up to nod in from Wan-Bissaka’s precise cross. Up to 15 goals for the season, Rashford can do very little wrong at the moment and is set to enjoy his most productive senior campaign till date.
Anthony Martial: 9/10
Martial, too, was coming off two sub-par performances and needed to deliver. Looked to be in his elements pretty much from the get-go, linking up well with Rashford and Pereira. Showed good awareness to take a first-time shot from Pereira’s lay up. Somewhat critical for Greenwood’s goal, pressing aggressively before Fabian Schar passed the ball straight to Greenwood.
Completed his brace early into the second half when he was sent through on goal by an erroneous pass by Sean Longstaff. On another day, he could have had his first hat-trick in Manchester United colours, with only the woodwork denying him a treble. Nevertheless, a top class display this by Martial.
Paul Pogba: 7/10
Introduced at half-time, this was the perfect game for Pogba to get his sharpness and match fitness back. Just moments after coming on, the Frenchman came close with a long-range effort. In what was a complete performance, Pogba put in the hard yards and made 4 recoveries, linked up well with Martial and Greenwood and made two key passes. Getting back to his best.
Jesse Lingard: 6/10
On for Rashford for the final half hour, Lingard kept things simple and ensured Manchester United continued in cruise control mode for the remainder of the game.
Juan Mata: 6/10
Mata replaced Martial and showed good understanding with Greenwood and Pogba. Helped see the game out without much of a fuss.