Manchester United rue missed chances to draw 0-0 with Newcastle United
Manchester United drew 0-0 with Newcastle United at Old Trafford as the Red Devils dropped their first points of the 2015/16 Premier League season. Bastian Schweinsteiger was handed his first start in a United shirt as the German midfielder paired up with Morgan Schneiderlin at the base of midfield. Although the Red Devils came close on a number of occasions, they were unable to find a way past Tim Krul and the Newcastle defence.
Man Utd: Romero; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw; Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger; Mata, Januzaj, Memphis; Rooney.
Newcastle: Krul; Mbemba, Taylor, Coloccini, Haidara; Anita, Colback; Perez, Wijnaldum, Obertan; Mitrovic
First half: Manchester United fail to make chances count
Wayne Rooney almost opened the scoring in the fourth minute when he was released down the middle by Adnan Januzaj, but the linesman raised the flag for offside after he put the ball in the back of the net. But replays showed the English striker may have been onside and the goal should have counted.
United were awarded a free kick in the 11th minute when Ayoze Perez fouled Matteo Darmian and Juan Mata stepped up to take it. The Spaniard managed to avoid the wall and get the shot on target, but Tim Krul had it covered and made a comfortable save. Mata and Depay were combining well to create opportunities on the right, but the Newcastle defence were up to the task. Mata then managed to get another low shot on target only for Krul to dive to his left and make a reaction save near the post.
The Red Devils controlled the game for the first 15 minutes with a majority of the action taking place in Newcastle’s half. The Magpies then started making inroads into United’s half, particularly down the left flank. In fact, Darmian was booked in the 18th minute when he fouled Massadio Haidara immediately after he received a warning for petulantly bringing down Perez. But by the 20-minute mark, United had six shots on target with Krul making easy saves after efforts from Rooney and Memphis.
Newcastle then came close to scoring themselves when Aleksandar Mitrovic’s header from a Chancel Mbemba cross hit the crossbar. Romero was beaten easily on this instance. United then messed up on the counter-attack when Rooney and Memphis failed to combine after the Dutchman had rounded Krul on the far side of the box.
Bastian Schweinsteiger was visibly struggling after Newcastle’s Gabriel Obertan stepped on his foot. The midfielder was hobbling around the centre of the pitch and only looked lively if the ball came his way. Both sides created chances towards the end of the half but did not make any real threats on goal. The closest they came was when Newcastle pounced on a loose pass and Perez’s effort from range went just wide of the post and when Coloccini snuffed out a United counter-attack with a timely tackle.
Half-time: Man Utd 0-0 Newcastle
The second half started much different from the first with both teams launching attacks. Five minutes in, Darmian made a run by the goal line only for Ayoze Perez to make a tackle inside the box to concede a corner. Darmian then did the same at the other end, playing safe and not going in for the tackle since he was already on a booking.
Obertan was then booked for a foul from behind on Memphis to give United a free kick on the left side, but Memphis’ free-kick hit the wall. A pass after the rebound then found Chris Smalling offside. Schweinsteiger then made way for Carrick who slotted in beside Schneiderlin.
Januzaj escaped a booking when he went to ground without any contact from left back Mbemba in the 64th minute. That was his last contribution to the game as Javier Hernandez replaced him, forcing Rooney to drop into an attacking midfield role. Hernandez has had a good record against Newcastle, scoring 3 goals in five games.
Florian Thauvin then made his Newcastle debut when he came on for Obertan. The 22-year-old Frenchman made an instant impact as he got Luke Shaw booked for a foul when he clipped the winger. But United started to get back in the game with Mata initially denied a foul at the edge of the box before a Rooney cross was skied over the bar by the Spaniard.
Ex-Southampton boys Luke Shaw and Schneiderlin then tried to combine with a one-two near the edge of the box but Shaw’s feeble shot was easily saved by Krul. Louis van Gaal then took off Darmian and brought on Antonio Valencia. Perez was also replaced by Cheick Tiote in the 78th minute.
Hernandez then had United’s best chance when he took a shot off a rebound after Mata’s attempt. The Mexican was denied by Krul who managed to get in the way and uses his trailing leg to block the shot.
Coloccini then made another crucial block as he stood in the way of a stinging volley from Valencia to deny the Red Devils. It was all United in the final minutes with Newcastle sitting deep in the final third to avoid conceding a late goal. But Steve McClaren took a late gamble and brought on Papiss Cisse for Mitrovic in search of a goal.
In the 90th minute, Chris Smalling came close to scoring from a header only for it to be cleared. But Newcastle launched a counter-attack where they outnumbered the United defence with Cisse almost setting up Thauvin who missed the ball by inches. Carrick also had a long-range chance which was deflected wide.
Ultimately, four minutes of stoppage time wasn’t enough for either team to come away with all three points.