Putting in another rugged performance at St. James’ Park on Saturday night, Newcastle secured a deserved 1-0 victory against Manchester United and moved within two points of breaking into the top-four.
While Eddie Howe’s side might be dealing with what has quickly become a stacked injury list in the north east, Newcastle were a more than worthy winner as the red-hot Anthony Gordon bagged his sixth Premier League strike of the season 10 minutes after the interval.
Causing Erik ten Hag’s leaky defence a string of problems here, the Magpies certainly couldn’t have wished for a better response following on from their Champions League controversy in midweek.
However, while Howe’s squad certainly deserve all of Saturday’s plaudits as they continued on their remarkable purple patch at St. James’ Park, Manchester United find the pressure on their shoulders start to mount once again.
Failing to create anything in the final third and completely outplayed across the park, the Reds fell drastically short in what was billed as a must-win affair.
Continuing to show some rather glaring inconstancies, ten Hag’s men still remain as a real outside contender to claim another crucial top-four finish this season.
On a night when Newcastle made another statement of intent, we have taken a glance at the key talking points.
Howe gets the response he was demanding
Suffering major Champions League heartbreak away in Paris on Tuesday night as they eventually had to settle for a devastating 1-1 draw against French giants PSG, some were wondering if Howe’s squad would show any signs of a hangover here.
However, although the Bournemouth boss might have once again been unable to call upon a string of first-team stars this weekend, Newcastle came flying out of the traps and were a more than worthy winner.
With the Magpies making it clear that they have their sights firmly set on claiming another top-four finish in 2024, Saturday’s hosts have continued to gain a fearsome reputation for their success in the north east.
Heading into November’s international break with a controversial 1-0 victory against title contenders Arsenal, Howe’s side have now won eight of their previous nine home fixtures across all competitions – a run that stems back to a 2-1 loss against Liverpool on August 27th.
Collecting back-to-back Premier League wins against Chelsea and Manchester United over the past week, Newcastle have a major platform to build on.
The pressure is back on ten Hag
While Manchester United might have arrived at St. James’ Park on Saturday night having won each of their previous three Premier League appearances on either side of November’s international break, ten Hag’s side find themselves at the heart of another public crisis.
Suffering an infamous Champions League collapse away at Turkish heavyweights Galatasrary earlier in the week as they eventually settle for a 3-3 draw, the Red Devils now need a minor miracle in their bid to pinch a knockout stage ticket.
Although United might have always been set to face a stern examination here, the former Ajax boss will be most concerned by a lethargic display in the north east that saw them blown away across the park.
Struggling to find any kind of fluidity in the final third and with summer recruit Rasmus Holland shockingly omitted from ten Hag’s starting XI, there will certainly be more pressure on the Dutch tactician.
Enduring what has been a nightmare few days for the Premier League giants and showing some extended issues at the back, United now face a tough winter schedule.
Pope frustration & Gordon magic
Although Alexander Isak might have done a stellar job of spearheading Newcastle’s attack since arriving from Real Sociedad last year, Gordon has quickly become one of the Magpies’ key performers.
Enjoying what has been a hugely successful flurry on either side of November’s international break, the former Everton starlet has now notched six top-flight strikes and has already set a career-best return.
However, while the England U21 international might have put in another clinical performance on Saturday night, fans around St. James’ Park will certainly be worried by what looks like a devastating injury blow to Nick Pope.
With Howe already juggling a remarkably stacked injury list that includes the likes of Sven Botman, Dan Burn, Callum Wilson and Sean Longstaff, the ex-Burnley shot-stopper sustained a major shoulder injury during the second half.
While Howe might have been overjoyed to claim another heavyweight Premier League scalp here, the last thing the former Bournemouth manager needed was another brutal first-team injury blow to deal with during the winter schedule.
Newcastle: Pope, Trippier, Lascelles, Schar, Livramento, Miley, Guimaraes, Joelinton, Gordon, Isak, Almiron
Subs: Dubravka, Ritchie
Manchester United: Onana, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Shaw, Dalot, McTominay, Mainoo, Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford, Martial
Subs: Hojlund, Amrabat, Reguilon, Antony
Goals: Gordon (55’)
Yellow Cards: Newcastle: Joelinton – Manchester United: Maguire
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Paul Tierney
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