7th October, 2018
As at the 10th minute of the game between Manchester United and Newcastle United on Saturday, 6th October, 2018, many people must have been wagering bets on whether Jose Mourinho will be sacked at the end of the match.
The visitors were leading by 2-0 as at that time. That was also the result as at the time both teams retired to the dressing rooms at the end of the first half.
Then came the second half where everyone watching the game saw a glimpse of what Manchester United looked like under Sir Alex Gerguson in the good old days. Days when if as a result of any unexpected circumstances the Red Devils trail 0-3 at halftime, they eventually go on to win by 4-3 or more.
It was that kind of a day on Saturday 6th October, 2018 as the team went up against Newcastle United in a late kick-off game at Old Trafford.
Even though both teams went into the match in an attack mode, it was Newcastle that drew the first blood when they scored the first goal of the game in the 7th minute through Kennedy.
A throw-in found Ayoze Perez unmarked behind United’s midfield and the forward sent in an excellent pass for the run of Kenedy into the box and even though Young caught up with him, Kenedy however shifted the ball from his right to his left foot and coolly put it into the far bottom corner giving De Gea in goal for ManU no chance at all.
If this goal shocked the home team and their fans, it got worse just a few minutes later as the visitors added a second goal to the surprise of even their own supporters.
The goal came as a result of another poorly defended throw-in aimed at Shelvey whose cross found Muto on the penalty spot. The Japanese got past Young and simply slammed the ball into the net. It was just 10 minutes of the game played!
Something had to happen if the Red Devils were not to face a debacle in the game. Jose Mourinho decided that enough was enough and that it was time to take some action. As early as in the 19th minute, he replaced Eric Bailly with Juan Mata.
McTominay was moved into the centre-back role. Paul Pogba then slid into a defensive midfield position and Mata took the role of the attacking midfielder.
The home team got a better balance as a result and immediately got their first chance straight after that but Matić headed into the arms of Dubravka. Then a Rashford free header disappointingly missed the target from 5 yards out.
At the beginning of the second half, Mourinho made another tactical change, replacing Scott McTominay with Marouane Fellaini and moved Matić into the central defence to pair Smalling.
United got better into the game and had chances to score but somehow failed to convert them. The most outstanding of them was that of Matić. A 20-yard shot from Pogba went through a sea of legs before being excellently saved by Dubravka, who could only parry it. Matić was the closest and quickest to react and he had an open goal at his mercy from six yards out but his left-footed shot ended up high in the sky.
The home got better into the game and had Newcastle pressed hard at the back but the much-needed goals just refused to come. Mourinho had to intervene once more as he decided to replace Rashford with Alexis Sanchez in the 67th minute.
Then the revival began. In just three minutes later, Manchester United scored their first goal of the game. Diame brought Martial down on the edge of the box in a good position for a left-footed shooter and earned a booking. Sanchez and Mata took up their positions, the Chilean stepped over it and Mata swung it over the wall and down, hitting the near bottom corner. Dubravka had no chance with that one.
The goal-keeper however single-handedly kept his team in the lead with two incredible saves thereafter as Fellaini and then Smalling hit the target from close range in the 74th minute.
Two minutes later however, there was nothing the brilliant shot stopper could to prevent Manchester United’s equaliser. Anthony Martial played a great one-two with Pogba and eventually blasted the ball from around 12 yards into the near bottom corner.
Newcastle came close to scoring straight afterwards as Diame’s header hit the back of Fellaini, changing direction and fooling De Gea, but Lukaku somehow managed to clear it off the goal line.
From that moment onwards, it was a real battle for the three points as none of both teams seemed to want just a point and serious attacking football was on full display at both ends of the pitch.
However, it was the home team that finally prevailed as they scored the third goal in the very last minute. The Red Devils conjured a promising attack and eventually Young whipped in a good cross from the right side. Even though there was a crowd of players in that box, the ball somehow found the head of Sanchez who placed it into the bottom corner, past Dubravka and into the net.
With this result, Manchester United have now moved up to the eight position on the table with 13 points while Newcastle United occupy the 19th position with a meager two points.
MANCHESTER UNITED: De Gea 7.5, Smalling 6.5, Bailly N/A (19′ Mata 8), Young 6, Shaw 6, Matić 5.5, McTominay 7 (46′ Fellaini 6.5), Pogba 7.5, Rashford 6 (67′ Sanchez 8), Martial 8, Lukaku 7.5.
NEWCASTLE: Dubravka 8, Lascelles 7.5, Fernandez 6, Yedlin 6.5, Manquillo 6.5, Ritchie 6.5, Shelvey 7.5, Diame 6.5, Kenedy 7.5 (68′ Murphy 6), Perez 8 (88′ Joselu N/A), Muto 7.5 (78′ Atsu 5.5).
GOALS: Kenedy 7′, Muto 10′, Mata 70′, Martial 76′, Sanchez 90.