Manchester United stutter to a draw
Manchester United were back in action this evening, as they travelled to Saint James’ Park to take on Newcastle United in the Premier League, knowing that they could move up to fifth place with a win.
Those hopes were quickly shattered, however. Newcastle came out of the blocks quickly and took the lead in the seventh minute thanks to a lovely strike from Allan Saint-Maximin, who terrorised the United defence all evening.
What a start for #NUFC👏
Allan Saint-Maximin gives Newcastle the lead in the seventh minute 🎯
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 27, 2021
Rangnick was far from impressed with the first half showing, making two changes in the interval.
However, the second half was just as bad.
Newcastle could and should have doubled their advantage early on, as Saint Maximin fluffed a golden chance from four yards out.
As is so often the case, however, Eddie Howe’s side found themselves pegged with 20 minutes to go after Edinson Cavani bundled home the ball following a blocked cross from Diogo Dalot.
And, with injuries to both Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson forcing Newcastle into changes, the Magpies still had the better chances to win the encounter, while Manchester United will perhaps feel somewhat relieved to have emerged from such a dreadful performance with a point to show for it.
This is how 101 scored their side.
David De Gea: 7
The sole bright spark in Manchester United colours at St James’ Park. Made a flurry of good saves to keep his side in the game, both at 1-0 down and at 1-1, including a brilliant stop from a Miguel Almiron in the final ten minutes.
Was perhaps lucky to keep Saint Maximin’s effort out just after half-time, but was ultimately the reason the Red Devils came away with anything.
Diogo Dalot: 6
Like the rest of his team, he had a night to forget defensively. However, he was comfortable on the ball and ultimately provided the cross that saw Edinson Cavani poke in an equaliser that they barely deserved.
Raphael Varane: 4
For a defender of his calibre, it was a night to forget. Perhaps rushed back into the side due to Victor Lindelof’s illness, it was his mistake that led to the first goal, and the Frenchman was shaky throughout the game.
One to forget for the World Cup winner.
Harry Maguire: 5
Slightly better than his defensive partner, he was as poor as the rest of his teammates. Second to most balls, and unable to produce any of his longer passes or marauding runs that made Manchester United shell out 80 million pounds for him, it is hard to see how he keeps his place in the side when Lindelof returns.
Being booked for a cynical challenge after being given the runaround by Allan Saint-Maximin on the touchline just about summed up his, and Manchester United’s, night.
Alex Telles: 5
Solid but unspectacular. It is hard to see how Luke Shaw doesn’t slot straight back in when he returns from injury, but Telles deputised to a degree, despite offering very little in the final third.
Hooked at half time. If Rangnick needed a pitch about needing new midfielders in January, tonight could well have saved his breath. Manchester United were awful in midfield from minute one, and Fred was guilty of misplaced passes as well as a lack of bravery on the ball, leaving the defenders to do all of the ball progression in the side.
Scott McTominay: 5
Slightly better than his partner, McTominay did at least survive the indignity of being substituted at halftime. There was little he could do in the second half, in the face of Newcastle counter-attacks, but he kept the ball moving well until he was ultimately replaced himself.
Bruno Fernandes: 4
Something is going wrong with Bruno Fernandes this season. Normally so assured, he cuts the figure more of a whiney teenager now that Ronaldo is deployed in front of him. Booked for dissent, and failed to produce anything of note in an attacking sense.
Marcus Rashford: 4
Was lucky to survive the half time changes after a woeful opening 45 minutes. Failed to improve in the second half, and his game was summed up by an attempted cross skewing off his left foot and into the upper tier
Mason Greenwood: 5
Having forced his way into the side after his Champions League performance against Young Boys, he failed to make an impression, and was taken off after just 45 minutes.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 4
It is hard to remember a quieter night for Ronaldo. Failed to have a shot on target and cut an increasingly frustrated figure, leading to him being booked for an angry swipe on Ryan Fraser midway through the second half. Not what he imagined he was returning to Manchester for.
Edinson Cavani: 7
Bailed out a dire Manchester United with a rare moment of composure and technical skill, reacting first after his initial shot was blocked. Also helped in the press, and it is hard to see how he doesn’t start the next game under Rangnick.
Jadon Sancho: 5
Continued his poor start to life in Manchester with another anonymous display, this time as a half-time substitute. Gave the Red Devils a bit more balance but failed to create anything of note for himself or his teammates.
Nemanja Matic: N/A
Was a late substitute for Scott McTominay.