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Dublin: -1°C Saturday 17 April 2021


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Hello! And welcome to our minute-by-minute coverage of this afternoon’s late kick-off in the Premier League, where Manchester United welcome Newcastle to Old Trafford. All morning there have been reports, rebukes and counter-reports that Jose Mourinho is on the brink of being sacked.

Man United have stated that they are fully behind their man, and have dismissed any notions that a defeat today could signal the end of the Portuguese’s tenure in charge at the club.

Mourinho himself will know that nothing but a win will do today. It feels like we have been saying that for weeks now, but without a single victory in four games and with his side currently enduring their worst start to a Premier League season in decades, today feels like a pivotal game in the Mourinho-era.

United are currently in a state of disarry, with a draw at home to newly-promoted Wolves followed by a Carabo Cup exit at the hands of Derby, followed by a 3-1 spanking in London against West Ham, followed by a frustrating 0-0 draw at home to Valencia in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Mourinho will want to put this current period of unease behind him. Today he faces an old foe in Rafael Benitez, and a Newcastle side which itself is enduring a barren spell with zero wins, two draws and five defeats so far this season. Kick-off is coming up in an hour’s time at 5.30pm.

Let’s get started with the team news…

So, today’s teams will line out as:

Man United: De Gea; Young, Bailly, Smalling, Shaw; McTominay, Matic, Pogba; Rashford, Lukaku, Martial.

Subs: Romero, Lindelof, Mata, Pereira, Fred, Fellaini, Alexis.

Newcastle: Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Manquillo; Shelvey, Diame; Ritchie, Perez, Kenedy; Muto.

Subs: Darlow, Clark, Schar, Murphy, Hayden, Atsu, Joselu.

With a little under 45 minutes to go before kick-off, how do we see this one unfolding? Let us know below!

Poll Results:

Man United win (406)
Newcastle United win (311)
Draw (229)


An end-to-end start as chants of “Rafa… Rafael Benitez” poor out from the vocal away supporters. The game’s first chance sees Ashley Young sweep across a dangerous ball into the penalty area, however it’s played too far in front of Romelu Lukaku. The striker can’t get a toe to it, and the ball spills out the other side of the box harmlessly.


GOOOOOAL!!! Newcastle storm into the lead and there’s only seven minutes on the clock. Kenedy twists and turns Ashley Young after being played through on goal. The 22-year-old Brazilian composes himself momentarily before sweeping the ball cooly into David de Gea’s bottom corner. What a start to this game!


GOOOOOOAL!!! Newcastle have doubled their lead, scoring twice in the space of three minutes. Old Trafford is absoutely stunned as the away supporters delve into a state of euphoria. Yoshinori Muto delivers a killer blow, latching onto possession with his back to goal before turning Ashley Young and slamming the ball low into the back of the net. My word.


A first response from Man United now, as Scott McTominay rises at the back post to deliver a powerful header which just flies over the bar. I think it’s fair to say those two early goals took everyone by surprise. United’s players seemed utterly stunned initially, but are now flooding forward in their droves. There is plenty of time left in this game, but no-one could have seen this coming before kick-off.


Save! Jonjo Shelvey has a go from outside the box. It’s an awkward, dipping shot which almost drops right into the top corner, but De Gea does really well to get across and bat the ball away for a corner kick.


Substitution for Man United: Juan Mata replaces Eric Bailly.

Manchester United v Derby County - Carabao Cup Third Round - Old Trafford Source: SIPA USA/PA Images


An early change from Jose Mourinho to try and get back into this. Eric Bailly makes way, being replaced by Juan Mata after just 19 minutes — meaning Scott McTominay will now drop into defence for the hosts.


Close! Marcus Rashford is millimetres away from halving the deficit. He latches onto Romelu Lukaku’s cross and fires a header directed towards the top corner. It’s anybody’s guess as to how it didn’t end up in the back of the net — but the England forward looks away in dismay as the ball flies narrowly wide of Martin Dubravka’s post.



Man United a lot more composed since Mata’s introduction, but still not getting a huge amount of success in the final third as Newcastle refuse to buckle. Paul Pogba is dropping deep to pick up possession, but is also driving forward through the centre of midfield. The French international danced through a host of challenges on one occasion, before his low strike was deflected wide for a corner. 


A number of attacks from United now. The latest yields a corner which Chris Smalling rises highest to meet. His effort is dipping and dangerous, but Dubravka comes from his line to catch with confidence.


Save! Muto almost makes it 3-0 with a header out of absoutely no-where. The Japan international is not picked up inside the box, but can only see his effort brilliantly clawed away by David de Gea. A quite remarkable save from no more than three yards out. Muto should have done so much better.


Two close chances in quick succession for Newcastle now. Rafael Benitez’s men are appearing a lot more bullish and in control of their two goal lead. Matt Richie is the latest to try his luck, but his effort flies wide. This is not the look of a team who haven’t won a Premier League game all season.

Manchester United v Newcastle United - Premier League - Old Trafford Source: Richard Sellers


Mohamed Diame goes on a lung-busting individual run right through the middle of the park. It’s all too easy for the 31-year-old, but at the end of it his shot is tame and right at David de Gea.


There will be two minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half.


Serious shouts for a penalty in stoppage time for Man United as the ball appears to strike Muto on the arm inside the box, but referee Anthony Taylor waves play on.


There is one change from Jose Mourinho at the break as Marouane Fellaini comes on in place of Scott McTominay.


Miss! Oh, goodness me how did that not go in. Paul Pogba initially produces an excellent low save from Martin Dubravka, but Nemanja Matic absoutely balloons the follow-up over the bar from close-range. Mourinho doesn’t know where to look. That should have been 2-1.


And again! Shots reigning in from every direction now. This time Juan Mata has a go from outside the box with his left boot, but he hits it with the wrong part of his foot and the ball fizzes well wide of the target. It’s all Man United at the moment, but no goals to speak of for the hosts.

Manchester United v Newcastle United - Premier League - Old Trafford Source: Richard Sellers


Marcus Rashford with another close header. He leaps like a salmon but yet again his effort is a matter of inches from landing in the top corner. Newcastle under a significant amount of pressure at the moment, but Dubravka’s clean sheet remains in-tact as things stand.


Kenedy very nearly makes it 3-0 at the other end. He turns Chris Smalling inside out before rifling a strong, powerful left-footed effort just over the bar.


Pogba has dropped very, very deep in the second half.


Manchester United v Newcastle United - Premier League - Old Trafford Yoshinori Muto and Marcus Rashford battle for the ball. Source: Richard Sellers


Substitution for Man United: Alexis Sanchez replaces Marcus Rashford.


GOOOOOOOAL!!! Man United have halved the deficit with 20 minutes to go. Juan Mata is the man on the scoresheet — the Spaniard curls a brilliant free-kick into Martin Dubravka’s bottom corner. It’s 2-1. The drama!


Save! And another! Marouane Fellaini with a low strike which Dubravka palms away and then another close-range save from a Paul Pogba back-heel. It’s all action at the moment.


GOOOOOOOALLLL!!! We’re all square as Anthony Martial cuts inside and slams a brilliant low strike into the bottom corner. An excellent individual finish and it’s 2-2!


What a game this has been. Manchester United have come back the dead and are now searching for a winner. The crowd have found their voice and the atmosphere inside Old Trafford is electric. Ten minutes to go, and this really could go either way.


Slow, patient build-up play from Pogba, Shaw and Martial down the left flank. They know all three points are up for grabs. But Newcastle are remaining compact and disciplined with 10 men behind the ball at the moment.


Juan Mata drags a ball across goal but the linesman’s flag is raised for offside. Five minute to go now.

Manchester United v Newcastle United - Premier League - Old Trafford Source: PA Wire/PA Images


There will be five minutes of stoppage time to come at the end of the second half.


GOOOOOOOALLLL!!! Alexis Sanchez pops up with a 90th minute winner for Manchester United — what a comeback! It’s his first Premier League goal of the season and you can see what it means to him. Ashley Young delivered an inviting cross into the box, and Sanchez leapt high before steering the ball down into the bottom corner. Incredible scenes.


Rafael Benitez looks distraught at the moment. United have performed an incredible comeback, from 2-0 down after 10 minutes to deliver a 3-2 victory just when the chips were down. Old Trafford is simply hopping. 

Wow, wow! What a game — Manchester United come from two goals down to snatch all three points with a 90th minute winner for good measure from the head of substitute Alexis Sanchez off the bench. A game full of drama, goals and endless talking points. Thanks a million for joining us, you can read our full match report here. Cya!

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About the author:

Aaron Gallagher


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