Man Utd 3-2 Newcastle: Player ratings as Red Devils keep European hopes alive

Manchester United may yet avoid their lowest ever Premier League finish after securing a 3-2 win over Newcastle United in their final home game of the season at Old Trafford.

An entertaining match full of high quality goals was a great advert for the competition, as Kobbie Mainoo drew first blood for those in red and Anthony Gordon cancelled it out to leave things finely balanced by the early stages of the second half.

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But the home United eventually pulled ahead through Amad Diallo, for whom it was a maiden Premier League goal, and Rasmus Hojlund, who actually began the game on the bench in order to preserve his fitness ahead of the FA Cup final later this month.

Lewis Hall gave Newcastle late hope of mounting a stoppage time comeback, but his great strike proved to be a consolation and no more in the end.

How the game unfolded

Newcastle began the stronger of the two sides, pushing early on. Within the first few minutes, only a last-ditch sliding tackle from Sofyan Amrabat and then a brave block from Jonny Evans prevented the visitors from testing Andre Onana inside the penalty area.

It took around ten minutes for the hosts to stir, first as Casemiro sent an ambitious overhead kick clear of the crossbar, followed by a precise but tame Scott McTominay header and then a powerful effort from Amad Diallo that was poorly parried by Magpies stopper Martin Dubravka.

Erik ten Hag had changed up his system, initially resting Hojlund and playing Bruno Fernandes up top. But the skipper didn’t operate like a ‘number nine’, instead moving all over to make it difficult for Newcastle to pin him down. That movement and his vision served to play Alejandro Garnacho through in the left channel, with Dubravka quickly out to spread himself and block.

The visitors were fully in the game, but there was a sense that the opener from Mainoo had been coming. The teenager drifted too easily through the middle unmarked and, played onside by the slow to react Kieran Trippier, kept his cool to literally to pass into the bottom corner.

Casemiro, widely slaughtered for his culpability in the Crystal Palace defeat earlier this month, came up big twice in the closing stages of the first half. The Brazilian hooked the ball away from Anthony Gordon on the slide, although the Magpies wanted a penalty for Amrabat’s involvement from behind, and moments later cleared off the line with his head to keep his team in front.

There was a warning sign from Newcastle just minutes into the second half as Casemiro squared up to block Gordon’s attempted finish. But the winger grabbed the equaliser quickly after, latching onto a teasing ball into penalty area from Jacob Murphy on the right.

Eddie Howe’s would have then taken the lead but for a flying last-ditch sliding block from Amrabat to deflect Alexander Isak’s strike onto the top of the bar after a three-on-one counter attack. Newcastle were made to rue that missed opportunity when Amad restored the lead four minutes later, thumping the ball past Dubravka in a flash as it invitingly fell to him on the half volley.

Both goalkeepers were then in action as Diogo Dalot stung the palms of Dubravka from distance, before a towering header from Joelinton was acrobatically tipped behind by Andre Onana. United were also living dangerously when Onana gave the ball away cheaply and Miguel Almiron was only inches away from connecting with Gordon’s cross.

But Ten Hag’s side got the two-goal cushion they were searching for in the closing stage when Hojlund came off the bench. It mostly all his own work, found by Fernandes but then running at Dan Burn to make the space for a shot and then firing low back across goal beyond Dubravka’s reach.

Newcastle ensured there would be no cruising to the finish line when Hall scored only the second goal of his senior career – the first having also come at Old Trafford – with a precise but powerful shot from just outside the box after a partially cleared corner.

Kobbie Mainoo took his goal well

Kobbie Mainoo took his goal well / OLI SCARFF/GettyImages

GK: Andre Onana – 6/10 – Made saves – including an excellent one – but his passing was a little sloppy at times and put pressure on his team.

RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 5/10 – A mistake in possession risked gifting Newcastle a go-ahead goal at 1-1 until Amrabat spared his blushes.

CB: Casemiro – 7/10 – All-action at the heart of the defence after much recent criticism. Made a few big interventions and brushed himself off after an awkward fall. Not perfect but much, much better.

CB: Jonny Evans – 6/10 – Careful with the ball and had no problem repelling aerial threats.

LB: Diogo Dalot – 6/10 – Made sure to get forward in support of the attack.

CM: Sofyan Amrabat – 7/10 – Kept his starting place from the weekend but there’s a chance this was his last Old Trafford game as his loan nears its conclusion. At fault in the equaliser build-up but then stopped Newcastle going ahead with an incredible block almost straight after. Mixed.

CM: Kobbie Mainoo – 8/10 – Regularly getting his head up and driving forward to link defence with attack. Got himself into the box too and was rewarded with a well-taken goal. It’s a good thing he finished it off, through, because it looked as though he assumed he was offside.

RM: Amad Diallo – 8/10 – Forced the first meaningful save of the match out of Dubravka and later thumped a beauty of a strike past the Newcastle goalkeeper. Assisted the opener too.

AM: Scott McTominay – 6/10 – Operated really far forward to both support Fernandes and provide a focal point when the skipper went searching for the ball.

LM: Alejandro Garnacho – 6/10 – Limited involvement. Has played a lot better this season.

ST: Bruno Fernandes (c) – 8/10 – Lined up in an unorthodox ‘false nine’ position but actyally drifted all over the pitch to try and influence play. Set up the third for Hojlund.

Substitutes

SUB: Lisandro Martinez (83′ for Mainoo) – 6/10

SUB: Marcus Rashford (83′ for Garnacho) – 6/10

SUB: Rasmus Hojlund (83′ for Amad) – 7/10

Subs not used: Altay Bayindir (GK), Lisandro Martinez, Willy Kambwala, Christian Eriksen, Toby Collyer, Antony, Omari Forson.

Manager

Erik ten Hag – 8/10 – Made a big call by switching things up to protect Hojlund. It ultimately worked in the end, although his team are still conceding too many goals.

Anthony Gordon

Anthony Gordon was unfortunate to be on the losing side / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/GettyImages

GK: Martin Dubravka – 6/10 – Beaten three times but would be harsh to suggest he was poor.

RB: Kieran Trippier (c) – 4/10 – Lacked all awareness when he played Mainoo onside for the opening goal after the rest of the back four had stepped up together. Withdrawn early.

CB: Emil Krafth – 6/10 – So-so at the back. Moved onto the right when Schar replaced Trippier.

CB: Dan Burn – 5/10 – Thought he’d scored a first half equaliser with a towering back post header, only to see it cleared off the line. Would have expected a physical battle with Hojlund that didn’t happen to begin with, but was left treading water when the Dane came on.

LB: Lewis Hall – 7/10 – It was a fine goal in stoppage time from a player who apparently loves scoring at Old Trafford so much that he doesn’t do it anywhere else.

CM: Sean Longstaff – 5/10 – Struggled to make his mark.

CM: Bruno Guimaraes – 7/10 – Missed the target by some distance with a relatively straightforward header later in the first half. Performed the box-to-box role well.

CM: Elliot Anderson – 5/10 – Struggled to make an impact either on the ball or out of possession.

RW: Jacob Murphy – 6/10 – It was his inch-perfect cross that made Gordon’s goal possible. Not actually involved that much otherwise, which was a shame for Newcastle.

ST: Alexander Isak – 5/10 – Not as clinical as fans have become used to when presented with a glorious opportunity in the second half. Perhaps explained by his absence from training due to illness.

LW: Anthony Gordon – 8/10 – Made the home defence think with his pressing, pace and unpredictabilty. Showed real goalscoring instinct to get himself in the box to equalise.

Substitutes

SUB: Joelinton (62′ for Anderson) – 7/10

SUB: Miguel Almiron (62′ for Murphy) – 6/10

SUB: Fabian Schar (63′ for Trippier) – 6/10

SUB: Harvey Barnes (77′ for Longstaff) – 6/10

Subs not used: Nick Pope (GK), Alex Murphy, Paul Dummett, Joe White, Matt Ritchie.

Manager

Eddie Howe – 7/10 – Went for broke at the end by putting on an extra forward in search of a second equaliser. it was a worthwhile gamble but didn’t quite work.

Player of the match – Amad Diallo (Man Utd)

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Author: XenBet