Manchester United had to come back from a goal down to beat Newcastle United 4-1 and contributing writer, Nathan Quao, of Citi Sports, Accra, Ghana, picks out the main headlines from the match at Old Trafford.
Smalling and Lindelof wobble again
It may be too early to judge how well Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof will do this season but the defensive pair could not hold their own in the first half against the Magpies.
They looked shaky and very uncertain and all that was played out in Gayle’s goal for the visitors. Smalling went out wide to stop the crossing threat but fell short of the objective.
And Lindelof slipped horribly to allow the goal to be scored. Slips cannot be prevented but his came out of a bid to change direction and react to the cross. That was where he failed the test. There was no need seeking to change body shape if he had that right in the first place.
As the half went on, the pair just could not assert themselves and struggled to keep Newcastle United at bay.
Smalling may have scored but that should not mask his deficiencies and that of his Swedish partner. They need to assure the manager that they can do the job when Bailly is not available.
They need to hold their hands up for the loss of the clean run at home in the league.
Pogba illuminates United midfield
In the last few weeks, Manchester United fans had been calling for the return of Paul Pogba and his arrogance and he duly delivered.
Of course, he will need more time to get his full groove back but at the most critical time against Newcastle United, he got the job done.
He found space to cross and set up and Anthony Martial for the leveller and he got a goal for himself.
He seemed to bring light to the team’s midfield when they were not pushing themselves especially in the first half.
Matic could not give any good cover when Newcastle United were in their moment and that led to the defence getting exposed very often especially Ashley Young was not tracking back on a number of occasions.
Things improved for United in the second half but it will be very wrong and unfair not to highlight Pogba’s arrival as being important in the win.
Lukaku finds home
It must have been very relieving for Romelu Lukaku when he saw his shot hitting the back of the net past Elliot in post for Newcastle United.
He had gone seven matches without scoring and the levels of scrutiny were beginning to rise. His performance at Chelsea was poor and the discussions over whether Alvaro Morata had upstaged him had begun.
However, to be fair the Belgian forward, he kept working hard to score and when that was not working, he worked for the team.
His assist for Marcus Rashford in the 2-1 away loss at Huddersfield and the one for Anthony Martial against Spurs are very good examples of this trait.
Against the Magpies, though, he found the net once again and while the celebrations were regal, the nature of the strike felt was like a revolt.
The man was feeling the pressure but with one in now, we should expect more from him.
Rashford, Martial both start and deliver
The running story between the two young forwards all season had been one of two separated pieces of a puzzle.
The other always had to be found to complete the function but against Newcastle, they were on the same board and things came together very quickly.
Martial rose to head from Pogba’s cross and Rashford sent a pass Pogba’s way for the third goal for the Red Devils.
It looked really interesting seeing the two young attackers together on the same field and based on their output, it is clear that if they can be properly guided in terms of roles and functions, Man United will be the overall winners.
Their skills are very important weapons for a season that is very important for the team, the players, the fans and especially the manager.
Of course, Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned so he should give the two young attackers a few tips.