Matty Longstaff capped an impressive Premier League debut with the winning goal as Newcastle moved out of the relegation zone and continued Manchester United’s troublesome season.
Longstaff, 19, drilled home a lovely, low finish from outside the box to leave the Red Devils just two points above the bottom three and with two wins this season.
Longstaff, playing in midfield alongside brother Sean, could have scored in the first half but rattled the crossbar with a thunderous 25-yard drive, while Fabian Schar flicked a header narrowly over from a corner.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side looked bereft of ideas in front of goal: Andreas Pereira’s curling strike was comfortable for Martin Dubravka, while Harry Maguire nodded a free header wide from four yards.
The visitors’ tally of nine points after eight games is their lowest since the 1989-90 season, when they were a point worse off.
Toothless Reds hit new lows
These two Uniteds had some tremendous title tussles during the 1990s, but the situation is much different these days with both sets of fans deeply unhappy with their respective owners.
Though big money was been spent in the summer – Newcastle signing striker Joelinton for a club-record £40m and their opponents bringing in defender Maguire for £80m – both face the prospect of a difficult season.
The Magpies are fighting to remain in the top flight and while the Red Devils are attempting to claim a European place at the end of the season, they find themselves in 12th place in the table.
They last won away from home in the league in February and extended that run to eight games with another lifeless and uninspiring showing.
Their defence has improved from last term, conceding eight times so far which is the third-best record in the division, but it is in attack where the major problems lie.
Solskjaer’s men failed to get a single shot on target against AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League on Thursday and again struggled to carve out clear-cut chances in the final third, the best opportunity falling to Maguire, who should have converted his close-range header in the first half.
Playmaker Juan Mata contributed little, while in attack Marcus Rashford received no service in a side that has not scored more than one goal in a game since hitting four against Chelsea on the opening weekend.
Magpies much improved
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce had tried and failed to beat his old employers as a Premier League manager on 21 previous occasions… but that all changed with this result.
His job was under scrutiny after a 5-0 capitulation at Leicester in their previous game, but Newcastle’s first home win of the campaign moves them up to 16th place.
The Englishman gave a first top-flight start to Matty Longstaff and his impressive showing was rewarded with a delightful goal.
Longstaff did not look out of place alongside his older brother, making more passes (39) than any team-mate and contributing in defence by winning the ball back four times.
The lively Allan Saint-Maximin dragged a shot wide, Miguel Almiron continues to seek his first goal for the club as a low shot was brilliantly blocked by Maguire, and substitute Andy Carroll steered a diving header over the bar.
In other news – Wolves 2 – 0 Manchester City
Champions Manchester City fell eight points behind Liverpool in the title race after suffering a shock home defeat against Wolves. Adama Traore scored twice in the final 10 minutes as Wolves won in the top flight at Manchester City for the first time since 1979.
Traore scored the first 10 minutes from time as the visitors capitalized on a mistake from Joao Cancelo. He added a second on the break deep into injury time. continue reading