Close but no cigar. That was probably the best way to sum up the game. Both the Uniteds, Manchester as well as Newcastle had their chance at glory, neither could get the ball over the line to send their set of fans into raptures.
While the home side dictated terms with possession, visiting Newcastle had probably the best goal-scoring chances in the game. The game was brought to life when Aleksander Mitrovic’s ferocious header from about 12 yards out rattled Sergio Romero’s crossbar. Manchester Untied controlled most of the game, enjoying the lion’s share of possession in both halves.
But, it was not till the 91st minute that they really threatened to take all three points aways as Newcastle (who have conceded three headed goals this campaign already) were nearly undone from an aerial threat again only to see Vurnon Anita scramble the ball off the line. The ensuing 30 seconds saw Newcastle go to the other side of the field on a 3 on one break only to see Florian Thauvin come a stud away from clinchin an unlikey winner.
So, how did every player fare in this game? Let’s get to it then. Here are the player ratings.
Sergio Romero (6/10): Zero shots on targets from the toon meant that the Argentine didn’t really have much to do Saturday afternoon. Had a pretty unnecesary hear in mouth moment when he decided it was necessary for him to go and close Ayoze Perez on the the left-side of the box. Didn’t have a prayer with Mitrovic’s attempt if it had been on target.
Matto Darmian (7/10): The Italian still doesn’t know what it feels to concede a goal in the Premier League. The ex-Torino defender looks an even more shrewd signing with every appearance he makes. He bombed forward ar every opportunity but to deliver any thing worth remembering. An early yellow card might got the Manchester United feeling a little comfortable whenever the ball came towards the Newcastle left, but he acclimatised well after that.
Chris Smalling (7.5/10): Sheperded the defence well with Daley Blind alongside him. Kept a t tight leash on Mitrovic for most of the game. Could andprobably should scored from one of their corners.
Daley Blind (7/10): Did well again playing in his not so usual Centre Back role. Was outmuscled by Mitrovic as his header struck the crossbar but not many regular defenders could have done better.
Luke Shaw (7.5): Worked tirelessly at both ends of the pitch. His maruding runs down the left, combining with Memphis Depay or even the cute one-two right down middle gave the Newcastle defence food for thougt. Held his own against Gabriel Obertan but Florain Thauvin had his body going in all direction in an embarassing moment for the Englishman late on.
Bastian Scweinsteiger (6/10): Stayed back more today than he normally does. His parnership alongside Schneiderlein looked solid but devoid of any crative force. Still needs more game time under his belt. Tended to slow down the play on many a ocassion.
Morgan Schneiderlein (6.5/10): Sprayed the ball around given the license to roam forward a bit more but didn’t thave the ye for that killer ball. What Manchester United fans would give for the Frenchman to have a functional left leg as well.
Juam Mata (6.5/10): Looked to control the pace and pull the string from the middle of the park. Tested Krul with a low shot to the nearpost early on in the game. Jack Colbakc and Vurnon Anita really did well to cut most passing lanes for the Spaniard.
Memphis Depay (6.5/10): Gave Chancel Mbemba fits with his running and movement early on in the game as many thought the right-back position would be Newcastle’s achilies heel for the second game running. However, the Congolese defender got back into the game and dominated their duel for most of the game after that. Should have had a more telling impact.
Adnan Januzaj(5/10) : Ineffective for the majority of the proceedings. Didn’t catch an eye in the number ten role as well.
Wayner Rooney(5.5/10) : Except for the early disallowed goal, hardly popped up in any dangerous position. Faded badly as the game wore on and tempo dropped. Coloccini had the better of him for most of the proceedings.
Michael Carrick (6.5/10): Sprayed the ball around in the most Michael Carrick fashion possible as he seamlessly replaced Scweinsteiger in the middle. Helped Manchester United build real pressure at the back end of the game.
Antonio Valencia (6/10): Afforded the last ten minutes, the South American’s only moment of note was smacking the ball straight at Coloccini in a penalty box scramble.
Chicarito (5/10): Had one of the best opportunities on the game for Manchester United. However, couldn’t get the better of Tim Krul in a one on one situation.
Tim Krul (8/10): Saved the game for Newcastle late on with a spectacular save to deny Chicarito a late winner. His kicks. however, still leaves a lot to be desired. Was comforable in handling all the ling punts thrown at by Manchester United players througout the game.
Chancel Mbemba (7.5/10): Playing as a make-shift right-back, was given a torrid time in the opening minutes by Memphis Depay. The Congolese was however unperturbed and quitely and confidently got back into the game, snuffing out the Dutchman completeky in the second-half.
Fabricio Coloccini (8.5/10): Lead the line brilliantly and attacked everything. The Argentine had come under lot of flack from the Newcastle fans in recent weeks for his weak displays but no one can associate the word “weak” with his performance on Saturday. Two brilliant tackles on Adnan Januzaj and Matteo Darmian on either side of the half on one on one situations epitomized the skipper’s grit.
Steve Taylor (7.5/10): A typical old school fearless centre-back performance from a player that Steve McClaren himself considers coming form the old school of defenders. Superb in the air, committed and marked Wayne Rooney out of the game.
Massadio Haidara (7/10): Always willing to provide an outlet going forward, Haidara had a much better day in the office than the previous two. Contained Januzaj on the left well with some help from Ayoze Perez.
Vurnon Anita (6/10): Not really sure if the Dutchman even crossed the half-way line in the game. His task was to provide his defenders with cover and he stuck to that.
Jack Colback (6/10): Quite like Vurnon Anita, stuck to his defensive tasks. But was poor on a few ocassions, giving the ball away cheaply.
Georginio Wijnaldum (6.5/10): He will have his days when he let his skills on the ball and his pace and movement do the talking. The talent is evident. This was just not the stage where he could show it all.
Ayoze Perez (7/10): Was Newcastle’s best player of the second half as he heped Massadio Haidara snuff out any danger coming in from Matteo Darmian’s maverick runs on that side.
Gabriel Obertan (5.5/10): Gave us the reason why Manchester United fans were so delighted to offload him to Newcastle. Seemed disinterested coming back to help out Mbemba in the early goings and didn't even produce a real outlet going forward. This might just be last chance saloo
Aleksander Mitrovic (7.5/10): Made a name for himself in his first start in the Premier League. The Serbian was inches away from stealing the show as his thunderous header made Romero's crossbar vibrate to a new tune. Not only was he a handful in the box but, his commitment lead him to help out the defence on many a ocassion.
Cheick Tiote (6/10):Provided even more defensive cover as Steve McLare looked to shut uo shop.
Florian Thauvin (6.5/10): There will be more game to pass a judgement on the young Frenchman. However, his sublime skills to get the better of Luke Shaw would have alrady endeared himself to the toon.
Papiss Cisse (6/10): Could have won the game late for the magpies if his touch on the ball was better.