Newcastle 1-0 Manchester United: Anthony Gordon’s strike seals the three points against limp Red Devils for the hosts but Nick Pope is taken off to compound  Eddie Howe’s injury woes

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Manchester United were forced to travel here by bus. They duly attempted to park it in their own penalty area, left it in reverse and, come the end, were surveying the damage of a car-crash performance that shows how far they have fallen behind the other United, the one of Newcastle who were magnificent.

It is remarkable to consider that only this victory, thanks to the excellent Anthony Gordon’s second-half strike, took Eddie Howe’s team above their visitors in the Premier League table. Now, for the first time in more than a century, Newcastle have beaten Man United in three straight matches. We could have played for another 100 years and you wouldn’t have fancied Man United to score. For once, the issues were not with their goalkeeper.

Erik Ten Hag spent much of his pre-match taking questions on Andre Onana. He answered one by keeping faith with him. One comment in the wake of his latest calamity at Galatasaray suggested Onana could be football’s first ‘false one’. Cruel, but not without justification.

It was not just in Manchester where they were talking about the keeper. Howe, much like Onana can shots on his goal, had sidestepped a question about him. He preferred to talk about his players, and how fantastic they were in a game they bossed from start to finish.

Anthony Gordon handed Newcastle a 1-0 win after sneaking in at the back post in the second half

Anthony Gordon handed Newcastle a 1-0 win after sneaking in at the back post in the second half

The England youth star ensured the Magpies bounced back from disappointment in midweek at PSG

The England youth star ensured the Magpies bounced back from disappointment in midweek at PSG

Nick Pope was taken off late in the game to compound Eddie Howe's injury headaches

Nick Pope was taken off late in the game to compound Eddie Howe’s injury headaches

The only surprise was that it took 55 minutes to score and that it remained the only goal. Bruno Guimaraes found the overlapping Kieran Trippier and he threaded a first-time cross through the goalmouth, where the only taker was Gordon, converting at the far post having stolen two yards on the shoulder of a sleeping Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

MATCH FACTS

Newcastle (4-3-3): Pope (Dubravka 85′); Trippier, Lascelles, Schär, Livramento; Miley, Guimarães, Joelinton; Almirón, Isak, Gordon (90+7′)

Subs: Dummett, Krafth, Karius, Hall, Diallo, Murphy, Parkinson

Goals: Gordon 55′ 

Booked: Joelinton 

Manager: Eddie Howe

Man United (4-2-3-1): Onana; Wan-Bisska (Reguilon 80′), Maguire, Shaw, Dalot; McTominay, Mainoo (Amrabat 80′); Rashford (Antony 61′), Fernandes, Garnacho; Martial (Hojlund 61′)

Subs: Bayindir, Lindelöf, Varane, Pellistri, Van de Beek

Booked: Maguire, Antony

Referee: Robert Jones

Attendance: 52,214

This was Gordon’s sixth of the season. That he scored only seven during the entirety of his time at Everton shows the improvement under Howe. The winger may have been an interested observer of the Euro 2024 draw a couple of hours before kick-off. 

In this form, he surely has to be given a cap during the March internationals. Howe has challenged him to add goals to his game and, at St James’ especially, it feels like a basketball would drop in a golf hole for the 22-year-old.

Who would Gareth Southgate leave out, given his wealth of talent in those wide areas? Well, if he was watching this from Hamburg then he had his answer – Marcus Rashford. 

The Man United forward lasted a little over an hour and you got the impression that was 62 minutes too many for him. His body language shortly before being hooked was telling, slowing to a petulant walk after Gordon had escaped him on the left. He was, however, never going anything more than a canter in the first place.

Off he came, joined by the equally ineffective Anthony Martial, who had rowed with Ten Hag in the first half. That was more fight than he showed at any other time. 

To think, Martial is one short of joining Eric Cantona on 64 Premier League goals, having played 65 more matches than his French compatriot. Did he ever look like drawing level here? Not a chance. Literally, not a single chance for the centre-forward. This contest was played at the other end of the park.

Thankfully, for Onana, his first involvement was with his feet. Indeed, Diogo Dalot’s back-pass to the keeper was Man United’s only completed pass inside an opening four minutes in which the hosts monopolised possession.

Even with 100 more years of play you wouldn't have fancied Man United to breakdown Newcastle's defence

Even with 100 more years of play you wouldn’t have fancied Man United to breakdown Newcastle’s defence

Eddie Howe's side have seen off the challenges of Chelsea and Man United while hampered by injury woes

Eddie Howe’s side have seen off the challenges of Chelsea and Man United while hampered by injury woes

Onana would have soon used his hands had he not flapped at Trippier’s lofted corner on seven minutes. Dalot, meanwhile, clearly had little faith in his team-mate’s glove work, stealing from Onana’s grasp inside the goalmouth. The ball bounced up onto the defender’s arm – a penalty, if you’re in Paris – but home appeals were, rightly, waved away.

A record of this game will show that Man United had the first shot on target, but that was misleading in the extreme. It felt like they needed written permission to cross the halfway line. Still, Alejandro Garnacho should have scored when sent clear by Bruno Fernandes. 

The winger hesitated, as if reluctant to shoot. Maybe the scorer of last week’s spectacular bicycle-kick prefers the ball above his head outside the box, rather than at his feet in it. By the time he did dispatch the angle was against him and Pope blocked with his feet.

The spider cam spinning a web above the pitch needed every one of its eight legs to keep up with Newcastle during their early blitz. They were relentless in their pursuit of an opening goal.

Howe, in reality, is working with a bare 11 right now, evidenced by naming the same team in the three matches since the international break. To show the energy and aggression they did here, then, was quite remarkable.

‘Let’s f***ing give it to them’ said Howe before April’s 2-0 win over the same opposition at St James’. That quote, captured by the Amazon documentary cameras, was celebrated on a giant flag before kick-off. It felt as if the head coach had given exactly the same team-talk.

There were 13 home shots before half-time. The frustration for Howe was that only one drew a save from Onana, and what a fine stop it was. Miguel Almiron sized a low steer through bodies for the bottom corner, but there it was met by the diving Cameroonian, snaffling on his line.

Alexander Isak came into this with five goals from his last five in the league, yet his touch eluded him when Fabian Schar dropped a ball on his boot inside the six-yard area and a glorious chance was gone. 

The Swede did make a far truer connection from the same position moments later but Harry Maguire, going to ground, deflected wide. Jamaal Lascelles headed inches over from the corner. The closest Newcastle came to a deserved breakthrough was on 39 minutes when Trippier beat the wall but not the crossbar with a free-kick from 25 yards.

Ten Hag would have been relieved to hear the half-time whistle, but quite what instruction he would give a team so clearly second best was a mystery, as was the scoreline.

There was a late Man United rally when Pope was forced off with a shoulder injury, but his replacement Martin Dubravka did not have a save to make. Nor was he ever likely to.

IT’S ALL KICKING OFF! 

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Post source: Daily mail

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