Premier League 2018-19: Newcastle United 0-2 Manchester United, 5 Talking points
Manchester United faced the Magpies at St. James' Park in their first game of 2019. Still unbeaten under new coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Red Devils came into the fixture with 35 points. Newcastle United came into the game desperate for a win to keep clear off the relegation zone. Last season the Magpies had defeated the Manchester outfit by a solitary goal.
Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia was handed his first start in almost three months. Phil Jones was also handed a start due to Eric Bailly's suspension. Manchester United started the game very much on the front foot, keeping possession and looking to attack. Their defense was troubled on multiple occasions by Newcastle on the counter. Christian Atsu got two to three good opportunities to fire Newcastle in front but failed to do so.
The first goal came in the second half from the Red Devils. Romelu Lukaku scored one minute after his introduction on the pitch following a blunder by Newcastle keeper Dubravka. Marcus Rashford doubled the advantage in the 80th minute from Alexis Sanchez's assist.
The Red Devils stay at the 6th spot in the points table trailing Arsenal by three points. They will next face the Spurs away from home. The Magpies are at the 15th spot in the points table owing to their superior goal difference but they are still only two points clear, off the relegation zone.
Here are five talking points from the game.
#5 Newcastle in deep waters following a game full of mistakes
The Magpies came into the game as second favorites due to the red-hot form of Manchester United. But as the game progressed Newcastle were able to exploit the spaces in the Manchester defense to good effect. Christian Atsu had good opportunities to give Newcastle the lead on more than one occasion. The Magpies just wasted all good opportunities to take the lead.
Even in the second half, Newcastle had their opportunities despite Manchester dominating possession. Goalkeeper Dubravka made a fatal error as he failed to hang on to Rashford's freekick only for Lukaku to finish the rebound. Looking back, the Magpies have to think that they were in with a chance to keep well clear from the relegation zone. The failure to make opportunities count hurt Newcastle and now they are still looming just above relegation zone, two points clear off the 18th spot.