Manchester United smashed Newcastle United 4-1 in their much-awaited return to Premier League action featuring old favorite Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo’s brace followed by goals from Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard gave United an impressive win to continue their unbeaten form. Newcastle equalized through Manquilo but United’s attacking prowess eventually overpowered the Magpies.
Home Debuts for Cristiano and Varane
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer fielded close to the strongest possible United side against the Magpies. David de Gea was the goalkeeper behind Maguire and Varane. Wan-Bissaka and Shaw continued in their roles as the wingbacks. Nemanja Matic, Pogba, and Bruno were in the heart of the midfield, and the front three included Sancho, Mason, and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Magpies Defense Holds Firm but Ronaldo Comes Through
Manchester United were in full control of possession in the first half, controlling upto 75% of the ball during most periods. Newcastle were sitting deep and defending with 5 center backs, 3 defending midfielders, and two forwards. If possible, Steve Bruce would’ve joined his team on defense himself. Newcastle carved out a few fast counter-attacks but were negated by composed defending from United’s backline. Although United were controlling possession, they were unable to create many clear-cut chances. Ronaldo’s position and movement were excellent as he got in behind the defense on multiple occasions. Unfortunately, the quality of crosses was lacking as the wingers and wingbacks were dwelling on the ball for too long. Raphael Varane came close off a corner when his header went agonizingly wide off the far post.
Newcastle looked to find a foothold in the game but United gave them little room. Jadon Sancho had a shot deflected out for a corner that also went marginally wide. The hosts were successful in cutting out the early pass and putting Newcastle under pressure. Mason Greenwood, who looked lost for a majority of the first half burst onto the stage in the final few moments of the first 45. In the 2nd minute of injury time, Mason fired a shot at goal. The shot took a slight deflection and was palmed away by the Newcastle goalkeeper. Unfortunately for the visitors, the first person to pounce on the rebound was the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo who promptly tapped the ball into the back of the net sending not only Old Trafford, but the whole world into raptures.
Slight Hiccup but Ronaldo Rescues
Newcastle United started the second half with plenty of intent and equalized shortly. In the 56th minute, Manquilo fired the ball into the far post after a fast counterattack from Almiron and Saint-Maximin. It looked like Newcastle had come and spoiled the return party for Cristiano as the hosts were forced to do it all over in order to regain the lead. Ronaldo decided to take things into his own hands and ensure that no one ruined his return home. In the 62nd minute, Shaw played an excellent through ball into Cristiano’s path in the box. The five-time Champions League winner took a fantastic first touch and rifled the shot right in between the goalkeeper’s legs to make it 2-1 at the Stretford End. A long-time coming to see Ronaldo’s trademark celebration followed by a “SIUUUUUUU” from the Old Trafford crowd.
Shortly after, Jesse Lingard came on to replace Jadon Sancho. United put Newcastle to the sword in the final 10 minutes of the game. An exchange in the final third between the midfield and defense allowed Bruno to find space on the edge of the box. Our Portuguese Magnificio fired a glorious shot into the top left corner giving the Newcastle goalkeeper absolutely no chance! 3-1 and job surely done. Donny van de Beek and Anthony Martial came on in the 86th minute to replace Bruno and Mason respectively. While both sides knew what the result of the game was going to be, Lingard added a delightful cherry on top with a fourth goal. Pogba’s pass into the box found Lingard who took a great first touch and curled a great effort just inside the post. 4-1 done and dusted!
Cristiano Ronaldo marked his return to the Premier League with two goals as the hosts marched to the top of the table. Defensively the team looked shaky at times, especially during fast breaks. United also missed McTominay or Fred in their trademark holding midfield roles although Matic performed admirably. Luke Shaw struggled for periods as his crosses were below-par, as was the case with Wan-Bissaka. United will happily take this win, however, and prepare for their Champions League encounter with Young Boys on Tuesday.