Newcastle United 1-0 Manchester United

Premier League: Newcastle continue hoodoo over Jose Mourinho, stun Manchester United

Jose Mourinho’s long wait for a win at St. James’ Park continued as a blunt Manchester United side slumped to a 1-0 loss at the hands of Newcastle United to leave the door open for the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool to close the gap in the race to make the top-four in the Premier League. The Red Devils trotted out in their standard 4-2-3-1 formation, with Paul Pogba restored to the starting lineup with January signing Alexis Sanchez, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku all featuring. United’s big guns were all there, but it was the Magpies who would display real attacking instinct, much to the surprise of many. Must read: Harry Kane paints London white as Tottenham Hotspur edge Arsenal Winless at home since October, Rafael Benitez’s men were in a hurry to find the opener and had it not been for a brilliant save from David de Gea, Jonjo Shelvey would have done the job early on. It’s not a stretch to say that at times United were hemmed inside their own half but with the pace they possessed on the counter, there was always a chance that they would hit the relegation-threatened hosts on the break. And Nemanja Matic sought to do just that, splitting the Magpies wide open with a precise through-ball for Anthony Martial but the Frenchman was stymied by Martin Dubravka. United on the other hand, were riding their luck as well for Dwight Gayle was brought down by a clumsy Chris Smalling tackle just inside the box but match referee Craig Pawson waved away any appeals for a penalty, despite having a clear view of the incident.

At half-time, Newcastle were on top but with little to show for it and as the match restarted, the Red Devils seized the initiative. Mourinho clearly had told them to up the tempo in the second-half and United responded by surging forward at every opportunity but the hosts were defending deep and kept their fancied opponents at bay without much fuss. Then, near the hour-mark came a definitive moment as Lukaku slipped in Sanchez and as the Chilean rounded Dubravka, nothing was between him and the goal but United’s No.7 delayed in pulling the trigger, allowing the recovering Newcastle defenders to cover and block his effort. A clear goalscoring opportunity spurned and one United would rue missing for soon after they would find themselves trailing. Chris Smalling conceded a free-kick in his own half for an embarrassing dive and the ensuing set-piece sparked panic in United’s defence as nobody seemed to be marking properly and Matt Richie arrived at the right time to steer home a 65th-minute winner. Pogba, for the second time in three games, was hauled off as Mourinho sought to throw everything he had on the Magpies, but thanks to the brilliance of Dubravka, Newcastle held on for an invaluable three points. The Magpies climb to 13th in the league table with the win and they next travel to Bournemouth on February 24 while the Red Devils, still in second place, take on Huddersfield in a FA Cup fifth round clash on February 17 before turning their attentions towards a continental clash with Sevilla.
Newcastle United 1-0 Manchester United Newcastle United  1-0 Manchester United Reviewed by Comr Richard on Monday, February 12, 2018 Rating: 5

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