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Dublin: 1°C Thursday 15 April 2021


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Hello! And welcome to our minute-by-minute coverage of this evening’s Premier League clash between Newcastle United and Manchester United.

The good times kept rolling for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over the weekend. His side dismantled Bournemouth 4-1 to make it three wins on the bounce since the former United legend took charge from Jose Mourinho.

You get the sense that Solskjaer’s remit when he was made interim boss was to try and secure a top four finish and help ensure Champions League football sticks around Old Trafford for next season.

Manchester United v Huddersfield Town - Premier League - Old Trafford Source: Martin Rickett

It seemed like a mighty uphill battle given United had had their worst start to a Premier League season in 26 years, but to his absolute credit Solskjaer has made the best possible start.

United are now beginning to look up, not down, and there is an undeniable buzz about the club these past few weeks that seems a world away from the dour misery which plagued the final stretches of the Mourinho era.

Tonight he will travel to a ground he will be more than familiar with during his time as a player — St James’ Park is the location and Rafael Benitez’s struggling Newcastle the opposition as United seek a fourth win on the hop.

Kick-off is coming up in just over an hour’s time at 8.00pm.

Let’s get started with the team news…

So today’s teams will line out as:

Newcastle: Dubravka; Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett; Diame, Hayden; Ritchie, Perez, Atsu; Rondon.

Substitutes: Woodman, Manquillo, Lejeune, Shelvey, Kenedy, Muto, Joseulu.

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Jones, Shaw; Matic, Herrera, Pogba; Mata; Rashford, Martial.

Substitutes: Romero, Young, Fred, Darmian, Lingard, Sanchez, Lukaku.

Man United fans will be hoping for a similar performance to that 4-1 win against Bournemouth here tonight. It was a third win on the bounce, but yet again the nature of the performance was very impressive.

After wins against struggling Cardiff and Huddersfield, United knew Eddie Howe’s men would provide a stiffer test, and they passed with flying colours.

Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford enjoyed excellent individual displays, and not only those two players, but the entire United squad seem significantly more confident since the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

A win tonight could see his side potentially close the gap on the top four to five points.


A cracking atmosphere from the off here and Rafa’s men are responding. An early attack from Man United sees Anthony Martial sprint down the left before offloading to Juan Mata, however DeAndre Yedlin intercepts with precise timing. The crowd were loving it.


Close for the visitors as Marcus Rashford sends a powerful free-kick dipping towards the bottom corner. He did well to get plenty of whip and pace behind the strike, it flew up and over the wall of Newcastle bodies, but Martin Dubravka read it early and got down to smoother the ball.

Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League - St James' Park Source: Owen Humphreys


Jamaal Lascelles wrestles Marcus Rashford off the ball vying for possession just outside the penalty area, with the striker claiming a free-kick just outside the box. Referee Andre Marriner waves play on though, deeming the challenge a fair one.


Shot! Newcastle almost break the deadlock out of nothing. Christian Atsu takes a brilliant first touch inside the Man United box following a hoofed ball into the mixer, but the forward’s left-footed effort is saved by David De Gea. That easily could have been 1-0.


Three chances in quick succession for Newcastle as Phil Jones loses his composure all over the place. Atsu’s first shot was followed up by another, before Jones gifted possession away to Salomon Rondon. He lined up a certain goal, before the England defender made a dramatic last-ditch slide challenge to make amends.

Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League - St James' Park Source: Richard Sellers


Another opportunity comes the way of Christian Atsu, but the goal he seeks fails to materialise yet again. A long, diagonal ball swept across goal catches Victor Lindelof unawares. Atsu latches onto the pass and tees himself up for a left-footed strike at goal, but he delayed just too long and could only drag a poor effort across goal.


A really promising start to this game by Newcastle, you have to say. Man United seem a little like rabbits caught in headlights so far, with Atsu and Rondon causing all sorts of problems for Jones and Lindelof, who look very shaky at the moment.

Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League - St James' Park Source: Richard Sellers


Chance. Two chances. Goodness me, Man United should be ahead after two brilliant opportunities in the space of 20 seconds. A long ball over the top of defence firstly sees Marcus Rashford run between Jamaal Lascelles Paul Dummett and almost slip the ball beyond Dubravka. The goalkeeper manages to put him off, before the ball spills to Anthony Martial, who can only float his own effort over the top of the crossbar.


Jamaal Lascelles becomes the first man in the book this evening, the defender shown a yellow card for lashing out at Ander Herrera after losing possession with a loose touch of the ball.


Paul Pogba goes close to breaking the deadlock. He picks up possession on the edge of the box, but his right-footed shot flies inches wide of the bottom corner. A decent strike, but narrowly wide of the mark.

Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League - St James' Park Source: Richard Sellers


A dangerous cross into the box from Luke Shaw almost finds Marcus Rashford free inside the box. Fabian Schar rises highest to head the danger clear, with the Man United striker having a free pop at goal if not for that last-gasp interception mid-air.



Mohamed Diame lines up an ambitious go at goal from 30 yards, but Nemanja Matic does well to get his foot in the way and provide the block. It’s been a bit more even over the last 10-15 minutes, with Newcastle really dominating this match during those opening exchanges you have to say.


Phil Jones is almost the most unlikely hero of this first half with five minutes to go. He leaps like a salmon out of water to meet Juan Mata’s inviting cross into the box, but his effort flies well over the crossbar, the ball colliding with his forehead and away into the crowd.

Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League - St James' Park Source: Owen Humphreys


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


There have been six goals at the Vitality between Bournemouth and Watford, but none here. It’s been that sort of a game really, more than a few decent chances but no clinical edge from either Newcastle or Man United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men in particular seem a little worn out by the festive fixture pileup, and are clearly lacking the bounce and flair which featured throughout their three wins against Cardiff, Huddersfield and Bournemouth. More action to come shortly, hopefully with a few goals!


Close! Marcus Rashford cuts inside and sweeps a powerful effort across goal. It looked like potentially cusping into the bottom corner but just missed its intended target. A promising start to this second half by United here.

Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League - St James' Park Source: Richard Sellers


Solskjaer’s men have upped their game in the second half, applying a lot of pressure in the final third and causing all sorts of problems for Schar, Lascelles and Dummett. Newcastle survive, and do look a threat on the counter with the pace offered by Atsu down the left flank.


There he is again. Christian Atsu sprints through against a back-peddling Man United defence. With the goal at his beg and mercy the attacker releases a low effort aimed at David De Gea’s bottom left corner, but it bounces and bobbles well wide. A very good break for Newcastle, but yet again no finish at the end of it. 


Very, very good defensive work by Matt Richie there. Anthony Martial played a tentative pass through to Marcus Rashford who looked like having a free tap-in, but Richie outmuscled his marker and guided the ball out of harm’s way.

Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League - St James' Park Source: Owen Humphreys


Now then, two chances in quick succession for Newcastle at the other end as the ante is upped by both teams here. Perez with the first effort and Jonjo Shelvey with the follow-up, but his shot is held well by De Gea. End-to-end stuff here, a proper game of it now!


GOOOOOALLLLLL! He’s only just after coming on, but Romelu Lukaku has made an immediate impact at St James’ Park. He scored with his first shot against Bournemouth at the weekend but has scored in even quicker fashion here tonight. A free-kick by Marcus Rashford is spilled horribly by Dubravka and Lukaku does excellently to pounce and poke the ball into the back of the net.

Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League - St James' Park Source: Richard Sellers


That goal has sucked the life out of Newcastle’s forward momentum. Ploughed on by Atsu, Rondon and Perez up top they were making a real go of it up until Lukaku’s breakaway. They face an uphill battle here.


Substitution: Kenedy replaces Ayoze Perez for Newcastle.


Salomon Rondon is nearly gifted the perfect opportunity to level proceedings with 20 minutes to go. A routine free-kick lofted into the box is poorly dealt with by Lindelof, the ball bounces into open space for a free shot at goal, but just too far out of reach for Rondon to take a swipe at it.


Another free is released from the right boot of Rashford. He gets plenty of power behind it, but not enough height — it smashes the Newcastle wall and away from danger. Rafa Benitez’s men are looking to counter at every given opportunity here, and are dead set on getting something from this game. 15 minutes to go.


Close! Christian Atsu with a brilliant strike from just outside the box. He clamps the ball down outside the penalty area before lashing a left-footed drive aiming for David De Gea’s top corner. It narrowly flies over the bar.

Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League - St James' Park Source: Owen Humphreys



Paul Pogba breaks away but is caught in two minds over whether to pass or have a go at goal. He decides on the latter, but his left-footed shot is weak and easily blocked down. You feel the next goal will decide this… it’s very tense.


GOOOALLLL! The three points look all but wrapped up here as Marcus Rashford scores his third goal in four games. He takes possession inside the box following a sweet and swift counter-attack. With only Dubravka to beat the England striker slides the ball underneath the Newcastle goalkeeper. Cool, calm, collect, 2-0.

Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League - St James' Park Source: Owen Humphreys


Newcastle pushing and pressing for something late on here, but they look out of time. Matt Richie swings a free-kick into the mixer and it falls invitingly for Jonjo Shelvey, but he can’t find the space to have a shot at goal. Frustration for Newcastle now as they will feel a point was within reach before Rashford doubled United’s lead.


Substitution: Jesse Lingard replaces Marcus Rashford for Man United.


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


Close! Paul Pogba nearly adds a third deep into stoppage time. The midfielder rounds Dubravka as Newcastle pushed men forward in search of a late consolation, but the French international could only find the side-netting with his effort from outside the box.

Well, there we have it. Four games, four wins, 12 points from 12 for Ole. It was a dreary first half, but both sides really upped the ante in what was a really entertaining second 45 minutes at St James’ Park. Romelu Lukaku, for the second time in as many games, scored with his first shot off the bench to break the deadlock, with Marcus Rashford ensuring the three points with his third goal in four games. Thanks a million for joining us for the evening — you can read our full report from tonight’s game here. Cya!

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About the author:

Aaron Gallagher


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