Manchester United have lost to Newcastle 1-0 at St James Park. It was one of those days for United, as they had a goal called off and had two chances cleared off the line. Newcastle were able to steal a goal in the second half, and held on for a massive win in their relegation scrap.
Mourinho restored Pogba to the starting XI, as he replaced McTominay. There were two changes to the defense, with Jones and Young coming in for Rojo and Shaw. Jesse Lingard returned to the starting lineup, with Juan Mata making way.
David De Gea proved yet again that he is the best goalkeeper in the world early on in the match. Newcastle had a free kick in a dangerous area, but the shot went straight into the wall. However, the ball bounced right to Jonjo Shelvey on the edge of the area. The Englishman smashed a shot, but De Gea was quick to react and get a hand to the effort.
Newcastle controlled the early stages of the match, playing a high press that flustered Mourinho’s side. They were helped by a sluggish United side who were unable to link up any passes.
United slowly got into the flow of the game, mainly playing through Alexis. The Chilean dropped deep to pick the ball up at times, which opened up space in behind for Lukaku and Martial.
The Red Devils had some half chances, getting into dangerous positions out wide. However, Newcastle were able to clear away any crosses.
United had the first clear cut chance of the afternoon, and should really have taken the lead. Matic won the ball in the midfield, before carrying the ball up the pitch and playing Martial through on goal with an exquisite pass. Martial was 1-on-1 with the Newcastle keeper, but had his low shot kicked away out for a corner.
Newcastle had a decent shout for a penalty soon after the missed chance. Gayle cut across the corner of the penalty area before being taken out by Smalling. The referee kept play going, thinking the United defender won the ball in the challenge, and United were able to clear the ball away. Upon further review, it became clear that it was a foul, and it seemed that Gayle was just in the penalty area.
United came close to grabbing the lead in the final minute of the half. Pogba clipped a ball to Alexis, who headed it down to Lukaku. The Belgian cut inside on his favoured left foot, and looked to curl a shot to the back post, but his effort was blocked by a lunging Newcastle defender.
Newcastle would feel hard done by the officials yet again at the start of the second half. Matt Ritchie was played through on goal, but play was whistled dead when the sideline official called for offside. Replays showed that Ritchie was even with the last defender, and United were lucky that the call had gone in their favour.
United thought they had taken the lead, but saw the goal called back. A cross was headed to the back post by Smalling. Lukaku won the second header, and headed it past the Newcastle keeper. However, the referee called the play back, deeming that Lukaku had shoved his marker in the penalty area.
Alexis came close to scoring one of the goals of the season when he picked up the ball on the edge of the area and danced around the Newcastle defence in the penalty area. He seemed to have gone by everyone, but had his shot blocked away at the last second.
The game really came to life as United kept coming closer and closer to scoring. Lukaku played Alexis through on goal, and the Chilean rounded the Newcastle keeper. However, Sanchez had gone too far wide, and needed another touch to settle himself. By the time he got a shot off, a Newcastle defender was able to slide and block the shot off.
Chris Smalling then got a yellow card for diving, which might’ve been the best moment of the season – up until Newcastle ended up scoring as a result of the free kick. Shelley whipped in a cross to the back post, and Gayle brought the ball down. Ritchie was first to react, and he smashed a finish past De Gea to give Newcastle the lead.
Mourinho made a double change, taking off Pogba and Lingard for Carrick and Mata.
United began throwing numbers forward in an attempt to get something out of this game. Martial found Lukaku on the left wing, who crossed it to the back post. Mata was there, but couldn’t win the header.
McTominay came on for Matic.
United were then denied a goal twice from the goal line. A corner fell to the feet of Martial, who got a quick shot off. It was cleared off the line, but fell right back to Martial. The Frenchman got another shot off, but that attempt was cleared off the line as well.
Antonio Valencia went to clear a high ball, but missed, and ended up kicking Atsu in the face. In all honesty, the Ecuadorian was lucky to not have been sent off.
United lumped the ball forward at every chance, but just couldn’t make the breakthrough. It was one of those days at the office for the Red Devils, but Newcastle deserved to get something out of the game.
Manchester United’s next match is on Saturday when the Red Devils face Huddersfield away from home.