Monday, June 17, 2024

Newcastle 2-0 Manchester United: What Were The Main Talking Points As The Magpies Fire Themselves Into The Top-Four?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, English Premier League 3 Apr 2023

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Putting in what was arguably a season-best display on Sunday afternoon, Newcastle fired themselves into the top-four as they claimed a deserved 2-0 victory against Manchester United at St. James’ Park.

Marking their return from the international break with a real statement on home soil, Eddie Howe’s side caused the Premier League giants a string of issues on either side of the half-time break.

With ex-Arsenal starlet Joe Willock opening the scoring on the 65th minute as he headed home from inside the six-yard box, the Magpies will know that Sunday’s victory in the north east could prove pivotal in their bid to claim a famous Champions League ticket.

With England international Callum Wilson sending the St. James’ support into overdrive as he wrapped up all three points thanks to a glanced header with just two minutes left on the clock, Newcastle also gained some real revenge following their EFL Cup heartbreak at the hands of United on February 26th.

Finishing Sunday’s fixtures sat third in the table, Howe’s high-flying side certainly cashed in on a United squad who have shown some recent inconsistencies on the road.

Leapfrogging the Red Devils and with Erik ten Hag’s men now firmly looking over their shoulder, we have taken a look at the main talking points from Sunday’s showdown at St. James’ Park.

Newcastle’s destiny is firmly in their own hands

While Newcastle might have found themselves at the heart of an extended wobble when returning from the World Cup’s winter break, Howe’s side have certainly come roaring back in some style.

Heading into the March international break with a pair of crucial 2-1 victories against Nottingham Forest and Wolves, the former Bournemouth boss has only seen his squad gain a string of plaudits this season.

More than deserving of their 2-0 win here and collecting what is a heavyweight Premier League scalp, the Magpies will now know that their top-four dream is in their own hands.

Dominating large spells here and putting in one of their performances of the season, Newcastle sit firmly in pole position to claim what would be a historic Champions League spot in 2023.

Now winning each of their last three Premier League appearances on either side of the fortnight interval, Sunday’s hosts will simply be looking to lay down another marker when they travel to east London in midweek.

With the mood around St. James’ Park at a red-hot high following another dominant display here, Howe’s men will be next seen on Wednesday night when they make the trip to relegation scrappers West Ham.

United are now looking over their shoulder at a top-four tussle

While Manchester United might have marked their return from the World Cup’s festive break with some in their camp eyeing a stunning title charge, the Red Devils now find themselves in the midst of a different type of battle.

Although the Premier League giants might have ended their six-year wait to lift a piece of silverware as they claimed a 2-0 victory against Newcastle on February 26th, ten Hag’s side could not find a similar performance on Sunday afternoon.

While the former Ajax boss might have seen his side punch their FA Cup semi-final ticket prior to the international break thanks to a 3-1 victory at home against Fulham, United are now firmly looking over their shoulder at a top-four scrap.

Watching Newcastle leapfrog them and with Tottenham set to met Everton on Monday night at Goodison Park, ten Hag’s men now hold just a one point buffer from slipping out of the Champions League spots.

With fans around Old Trafford knowing that a top-four return is crucial this season, United must now prove that Sunday’s toothless performance was nothing more than a minor blip.

Despite continuing to impress in Manchester this season, United have shown some extended inconsistencies on the road. In fact, Sunday’s guests have won just a trio of their previous eight appearances away from Old Trafford across all competitions.

Newcastle’s defensive resolve is the backbone of their success

While it might be Manchester United’s latest away day struggle that will steal most of the headlines here, Newcastle were certainly back to their rugged best on Sunday afternoon.

Although the Red Devils might have continued to gain a real reputation for their free-scoring displays since opening 2023, Howe’s side offered their top-four rivals nothing more than the odd scrap to feed on.

With United failing to muster a single shot on target during the first-half of a Premier League showdown for the first-time this season at St. James’ Park, Newcastle have impressed many with their stability at the back.

While the likes of Alexander Isak might have done a stellar job of leading Newcastle’s charge, it has been their defensive steel that has been the backbone of Howe’s success this season.

Recording yet another Premier League clean sheet here, Sunday’s hosts have remarkably conceded just 19 top-flight strikes this year – the best defensive record in the division.

Match Report

Newcastle: Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn, Longstaff, Guimaraes, Willock, Murphy, Isak, Saint-Maximin

Subs: Wilson, Joelinton, Gordon, Anderson

Manchester United: De Gea, Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw, McTominay, Sabitzer, Antony, Fernandes, Rashford, Weghorst

Subs: Sancho, Martial, Lindelof, Fred, Pellistri

Goals: Newcastle: Willock (65’), Wilson (88’)

Yellow Cards: N/A

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Stuart Attwell


Tom Dunstan

Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan



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