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Dublin: 1°C Thursday 15 April 2021


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Hello, and welcome to today’s liveblog.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail, tweet @the42_ie, post a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Kick off is at 2.15pm.

Let’s get started with some team news…

So, today’s teams are:

Newcastle: Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy, Perez, Gayle

Subs: Darlow, Manquillo, Hayden, Merino, Atsu, Murphy, Joselu

Man United: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Young, Matic, Pogba, Sanchez, Lingard, Martial, Lukaku

Subs: Romero, Lindelof, Rojo, Shaw, Carrick, McTominay, Mata

Rafa Benitez and the Newcastle lads have arrived at St James’ Park. Just 30 minutes to go before we get underway.

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

Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League - St James' Park

Newcastle United v Manchester United - Premier League - St James' Park

So then, how do we see this one going?

It really is hard to believe that in all his year’s as a Premier League manager Jose Mourinho has never come away from St James’ Park with a victory.

He will be keenly aware of Champions League priorities over the next month and indeed it seems likely that Newcastle have more riding on this game than the visitors.

Rafa Benitez’s side are languishing in the relegation zone but know that a win this afternoon should take them into relative safety — anything less than three points and they will remain in the bottom three.

It’s easier said than done, mind you — the Magpies haven’t won a single game at game at home since October.


Every Manchester United player is wearing a black armband this afternoon in memory of Liam Miller, who sadly passed away on Friday at the age of 36. Miller spent two seasons at Old Trafford under Alex Ferguson where he made 22 appearances.


An early free-kick for Newcastle in a dangerous position. Ayoze Pérez ran through on goal unchallenged but the ball took a touch off the hand of Chris Smalling just on the edge of the box. An early chance for the hosts then.


Close! The initial free-kick struck the wall poorly, but the ball fell on a plate to Jonjo Shelvey who forced a fine save from David De Gea with a powerful strike which looked like floating into the top corner from the edge of the box.

A well-hit effort, but De Gea was equal to it.


A second chance in succession for Newcastle!

Matic is dispossed sloppily right in front of his own box. Pérez nabbed possession smartly and sized up an effort — but he dragged it narrowly wide of the post.

The hosts looking very threatening in this early exchanges with Jose Mourinho’s side yet to properly leave their own half and spark a chance of their own.


Kenedy is the latest Newcastle player to try his luck and the hosts really are having a great time of it, putting United under significant pressure.

No-one would have expected this kind of energetic, purposeful performance from a Newcastle side which hasn’t won at home in almost four months.

Kenedy manoeuvred into the penalty area and however sweet he struck the ball, well, it ended up hitting his own team-mate and away. Unfortunate for the former Chelsea man.


United force their first chance of the game. Some good combination play from Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial sees the latter drag an effort across goal. In fact it wasn’t a shot all — the French winger tried to square the ball selflessly with a low cross, however it just didn’t quite come off.


Best of friends: Jose Mourinho and Rafael Benitez shake hands before kick-off.

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


A chance on the counter for United as Alexis Sanchez breaks away at speed. Martial attempts to slip the ball through a gap in order to meet the Chilean’s run, but the pass is slightly overhit. Newcastle stretched there.


Chance! A fine strike from the boot of Kenedy from distance but it’s straight at David De Gea. The Spanish goalkeeper stands his ground to gather the ball comfortably, but another decent effort from Newcastle there.


Matt Ritchie is next to have a go foe the Magpies. He too strikes from range but it flies high and wide of the goal as De Gea watches on.


Some really well-worked passing play from Newcastle there. It all started with a terrible back-pass with Perez keeping his composure to play the ball out to the wing. Bodies clad in black and white stripes flooded forward but the final ball into the box was poor and easily booted clear.


What a save! Making his Premier League debut, Martin Dúbravka keeps his head to produce a simply sublime save in a one-v-one situation with Anthony Martial inside the box.

The French winger was played clean through by Matic, but couldn’t manage to slip the ball beyond the Slovakian shot stopper from five yards out.

He earns a second round of applause from the St James’ Park faithful as he easily comes to claim the subsequent corner. Magnificent from Dúbravka.


A second chance in succession for Martial. Romelu Lukaku picks him out with a pinpoint cross directed towards the back post, but Martial cannot keep it down and heads wide of the post. Will United regret these missed opportunities?


Newcastle fans shout and scream for a penalty but it’s not given. Gayle is taken down by a challenge from Chris Smalling but referee Craig Pawson waves play on.


There will be just one minute of additional time to come at the end of the first half.


Second-half: We’re back underway at St James’ Park…


No changes at the break for either side. Paul Pogba appeared to be struggling with a knock in the very early stages of this game but seems to have run it off and remains on the field of play for the second 45 minutes.


Some decent build-up play from the visitors there and it was sparked by the determination of Antonio Valencia to get his head up. He takes the ball on the right wing and cuts inside, before exchanging a host of one-twos.

The move fizzles out as a Newcastle body hooks a ball played over the top away from danger — but that said, that move had a bit more of that energy which was lacking from Jose Mourinho’s side in the opening half.


Goal… but it won’t count. Romelu Lukaku has the ball in the back of the Newcastle net but the flag is raised for offside following a foul earlier in the move’s build-up.


Another chance for United as they begin to take control of this game now, Alexis Sanchez is instrumental and, in fact, does it all by himself. The forward weaves in and out beyond numerous challenges before his shot is deflected wide of the post. An excellent run.


What. A. Block.

Sanchez looks all but set to give his side the lead with another chance. He rounds the goalkeeper and has only an empty net to slot the ball into… but wait!

Out of no where French defender Florian Lejeune flies in with a precise and brave block to clear the danger. The St James’ Park crowd goes wild at the sight of it. Sublime defending.



No goals but it’s been an entertaining hour’s football in Newcastle, hasn’t it? Still 0-0.

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


Chris Smalling goes down under the challenge of Jonjo Shelvey… only there is no challenge. The Man United defender is shown the game’s first yellow card for a blatant dive.


At last we have a goaaaaaaal. Newcastle break the deadlock and St James’ Park erupts into a maddening frenzy.

A cross into the box isn’t dealt with and Gayle manages to knock the ball down expertly into the path of the onrushing Matt Ritchie, who isn’t picked up.

He strikes the ball sweetly and strongly and it flies past David De Gea. The Magpies are ahead!


A double substitution for Man United:

Juan Mata replaces Jesse Lingard.

Michael Carrick replaces Paul Pogba.


United respond quickly and swiftly at the other end. Ashley Young steers down the lefthand wing but only succeeds in forcing another save from goalkeeper Dúbravka, who is having an absolute stormer between the posts.


Into the final 15 minutes now and United again go searching with a snappy counter, but Newcastle hold firm. They are just about holding on, but Jose Mourinho’s side are cutting them apart on the break every couple of minutes.

It looks like it will be a backs-against-the-wall job for Rafa Benitez’s side from her on in.


Save! And another save! Two fantastic blocks on the line denies Anthony Martial, who really is having a poor day in front of goal.

A corner dropped into the box falls on a plate for the forward — his first attempt is booted clear before it falls to him straight away again, but another block from a Newcastle defender follows!

Martial looks away in disbelief and at the moment it looks like nothing is going the visitors way — they can’t seem to buy a goal!


Substitution for Newcastle: Dwight Gayle is replaced by Joselu.


Substitution for Newcastle: Christian Atsu replaces Kenedy.


United still going forward in search of a late, late equaliser. But Newcastle succeed in clogging up the pitch with bodies at every corner. Time is running out for Jose Mourinho and it looks like his winless run at St James’ Park will continue with just five minutes to go. Will there be late drama?


Antonio Valencia is shown a yellow card for an uncharacteristically rash challenge. He showed a high boot to the head of Atsu and is punished for it. It could have been an awful lot worse but the Newcastle man seems to be okay now.


There will be  four minutes  of additional time to come atthe end of the second half.



Newcastle have every single man behind the ball now ad United push and push and lump balls towards the danger zone. Rafa Benitez’s nerves must be gone, his side are just about holding together under immense pressure.


Substitution for Newcastle: Isaac Hayden replaces Ayoze Pérez.


SAVE! It’s a stunning, last second save from goalkeeper Dúbravka right at the death and the crowd goes wild. That should be it…

About the author:

Aaron Gallagher


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