Manchester United – Newcastle United: United’s second half comeback paves over the cracks of another frustrating performance (3-2)
José Mourinho’s hand was forced throughout the match but his attacking substitutions eventually paid off. His final one, Alexis Sánchez, netted an all-important winner. However, it was a mixture of Newcastle’s defensive intensity and United’s senseless attacking play that put any kind of result for the home side under pressure.
United were winless on home turf since early August (!), when they gathered an opening day victory over Leicester City. So, to say the weight of pressure on Mourinho’s shoulders was growing would be an understatement.
That being said, he didn’t stray too far away from the side that drew 0-0 against Valencia during midweeks Champions League action. In came Scott McTominay for Marouane Fellaini, Anthony Martial for Alexis Sánchez and Ashley Young for Antonio Valencia. System-wise, nothing changed, as the players lined up in a 4-3-3 formation again. It seems like Mourinho’s experiment from last week’s loss against West Ham - playing with three center backs - is binned.
Rafa Benítez also made three changes from the side that lost 2-0 at home to Leicester last week. Joselu made way to give Yoshinori Muto his full Premier League debut whilst Kenedy replaced Christian Atsu and Ciaran Clark dropped to the bench for Federico Fernández. As always, Newcastle lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, which turns into 4-4-1-1 or 4-4-2 for most of the match.
Newcastle’s strong intentions pay dividends early on...
The visitors had the bit between their teeth from the very start. There was a level of aggression and intensity to Newcastle’s . . .