Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku helped Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to a fourth successive Premier League win as Manchester United beat Newcastle 2-0.
United were frustrated for large spells of the clash, as the Magpies pushed them all the way in a contest of narrow margins. Lukaku came
Rashford then justified the faith shown in him by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as his cool finish wrapped up the points for the visitors with just ten minutes to go.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had got off to the perfect start to his interim reign, with his side scoring 12 goals in three games and picking up maximum points. It was Newcastle who started the brighter in the opening exchange though, with Christian Atsu proving a real menace to the United back line.
The best chances of the half fell to Rashford though, but the England forward struggled to make anything of two very promising situations. Neither side was able to break the deadlock in the first half with Newcastle the happier going into the halftime break.
Rashford began the second half in the same vein, wasting another great opportunity after Fabian Schar played the England forward onside just minutes after the restart. Solskjaer rang in some attacking changes around the hour mark with Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez introduced.
#NEWMUN— o.t.tt (@CharlesZee2) January 2, 2019
Luke shaw is just something else . like thus guy has zero knowledge on how to defend and his crosses are we need pavard asap
The Belgian made an instant impact on proceedings, putting United into the lead after Newcastle goalkeeper Dubravka spilled Rashford's dipping free-kick. Lukaku was the first to pounce on the loose ball, poking home from close range.
Lukaku was involved again for United's second, as his slide rule pass to Alexis allowed the Chilean to swivel and tee up up Rashford, whose cool finish sealed all three points.
Key Talking Point
For Newcastle, it was another cruel evening as they put in a performance worthy of a result but left with nothing. They haven't picked up a single point after conceding first this season and it proved to be the story again once United got the breakthrough.
They had their chances to make something of the game and probably still lack a real focal point up front. Christian Atsu and Salomon Rondon threatened throughout but never troubled David de Gea.
The Magpies must not lose heart from this result as they have shown enough to suggest they should secure another season of Premier League football. It'll be another tough season for the Magpies, but given the limited spend that's maybe the best they can hope for.
Starting XI: Dubravka (8)*, Yedlin (8), Schar (6), Lascelles (7), Dummet (7), Ritchie (7), Ayoze Perez (6), Hayden (7), Diame (7), Atsu (8), Rondon (7)
Substitutes: Shelvey (6), Kenedy (6), Muto (6)
STAR MAN - Newcastle's defence provided an excellent screen for their keeper but Martin Dubravka was alert to the danger when he needed to be. Quick off his line, the Slovakian made it impossible for United to profit off of anything in the box forcing the forwards to fire from range.
WORST PERFORMER - Defence was key to Newcastle's success against United and their back five executed the game plan almost to perfection. Fabian Schar was the notable weak point and was twice caught out by Rashford, presenting the forward with two key chances that could have put the game beyond Newcastle.
Key Talking Point
Manchester United faced a much tougher challenge today than in Solskjaer's first three games in which they cruised to victory. The Norwegian has revitalised this team but there are still bigger issues to face that have kept United out of the top four this season.
Paul Pogba produced another subdued performance after starring in recent games to prove as frustratingly mercurial as ever. Despite the attacking prowess and gulf in size of the respective wage bills Newcastle matched United in this encounter and made a real contest of it.
Who say those days are not yet back? Where is the special 1?#NEWMUN— Angela Kelly (@fcbQUIN) January 2, 2019
It means there's plenty of work to do before they visit London for a clash with title-chasing Tottenham, which will likely prove a much sterner test of Solskjaer's credentials to maintain the role long term.
Starting XI: De Gea (6), Shaw (6), Jones (5), Lindelof (6), Valencia (5), Matic (5), Herrera (6), Martial (8), Pogba (5), Mata (7), Rashford (7)
Substitutes: Lukaku (8)*, Sanchez (7), Lingard (6)
STAR MAN - Manchester United really struggled to get a foothold in the game as the Newcastle defence stood strong throughout the first hour. Romelu Lukaku silenced his critics for the second week running with an immediate impact on the game. It's a real poacher's finish but United desperately needed something to ignite this game.
WORST PERFORMER - Antonio Valencia
Newcastle have a tough month ahead, facing three of the current top four in their next four league games. They'll have a little respite from that schedule first though with an FA Cup fixture against Blackburn
United should continue to build momentum in a third-round FA Cup tie with Championship strugglers Reading
Source : 90min