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Season 2021-22
Manchester United (h) Premier League

 

 
Date:
Monday 27th December 2021, 8.00pm
Live on Sky Sports

Venue:
 St. James' Park

Conditions: Equitable
 
 



 

Newcastle

 Manchester United

 

1 - 1

 

 

Teams

Goals

7 mins A throw-in taken inside his own half on the right flank by Emil Krath dropped for Sean Longstaff, whose back header reached Callum Wilson. The Magpies striker nodded the ball down but looked to be shoved in the back by Raphael Varane. The visiting defender turned away in possession but was promptly robbed by the onrushing Longstaff. With Wilson galloping away ahead of him, Lobby spread the ball out to Allan Saint-Maximin on the Newcastle left.

The Frenchman jinked inside Digo Dalot and looked like he'd run into trouble, but stretched while falling to get his right-footed shot away from 18 yards as Harry Maguire reached him. That effort found the far corner of the Leazes goal; David de Gea watching the ball sail past him. 1-0

Half time: Magpies 1 Red Devils 0

71 mins A familiar ploy from the visitors of trying to drop a diagonal ball behind makeshift left back Javier Manquillo finally came off; Harry Maguire reaching halfway and playing a simple ball to Bruno Fernandes in centre midfield, who turn to dink a pass out to the overlapping Dalot.

The Portuguese defender advanced before firing a pass that picked out Edinson Cavani, lurking unattended on the penalty spot - with a trio of defenders clustered on the six yard box ahead of him.

The visiting substitute's first shot was blocked by Fabian Schar, but the rebound fell straight back to Cavani, who prodded out his right leg, the ball hitting his shin and dribbling past both Jamaal Lascelles and Schar before ending up in the net beyond Martin Dubravka - who was still scrambling to his feet after reacting to the initial effort from Cavani. A soft goal.
1-1

Full time: Magpies 1 Red Devils 1

We Said

 

Eddie Howe said:

"We're disappointed, we felt we deserved to win. I don't think we deserved to concede. How (David) De Gea saved that shot from (Miguel) Almiron, I don't know. But hopefully we've seen the beginning of a new team. But for a bit more luck, we could have won the game.

"
We need to build on what we've seen in this game: I think there were large elements in the Liverpool game and the Manchester City game that we saw similar to be honest but, ultimately, the results in those games weren't as good. Sometimes, that gets lost.

"Obviously, we conceded some disappointing goals in both of those games.
I think we've had three pretty consistent performances.

"No doubt today's was the best in terms of our defensive delivery and our attacking performance. That was the best we've seen since I've come here but, hopefully, we've been improving to deliver that today and we've got a lot more to go.

"We know the games only get harder - they don't get easier - but I'm very boosted by what we've seen from the players today."

About the injuries:

"Callum's injury looks severe, weeks maybe months. I feared for him when he went down with nobody around him. A pull, not a knock.

"The lads gave everything but we are thin on the ground in terms of bodies. These are difficult moments for us. I believe it's 13 plus a goalkeeper
(available, to meet the PL squad criteria to play a game). We're going to be dangerously close to that number.

"Allan, I don't think is as serious
(as Wilson) but serious enough to bring him off."

On Joelinton:

"Initially, we thought we would play him as a No 10, but we went to 10 men against Norwich at home and we reshuffled to play him as an 8 and I thought that night he was brilliant defensively. His tactical knowledge of the position was excellent.

"The question mark against any attacking player moving into midfield is whether he can defend but he has been absolutely brilliant defensively for us. The work-rate and the amount of ground that he covers is incredible really. I cannot praise him enough."

They Said

 

Ralf Rangnick said: 

"I didn't like it
(the performance) at all. We’ve been trying to get better at controlling games - today, we didn't control the game apart from a few moments.

"It's all about energy, physicality and who wins the second balls and the transitional moments and, in all those areas, we were not at our best. In the end, we got a point but the performance overall needs to get better.

"Against Palace, we were better, that was a different game and we played at home. We then had two away games at Norwich and here at Newcastle and, as I said, it’s about physicality, it’s about energy… you have to be ready and able to win those direct duels and this was not that often the case.

"Even when we were in possession of the ball, we had too many giveaways, including the goal that we conceded and, if after seven minutes you are one-goal down at St James’ Park, then it doesn't make things easier.

"Today was not a question of body language, it was a question of body physicality. The body language was not that much of a problem today, but if you want to be competitive here against Newcastle, then you have to get physical and this was not the case in many parts of the game and, therefore, we were struggling."
 

We shouldn't be looking for excuses. We have to meet the demands in terms of speed, tempo, rhythm, transitions. We had chances to score but so did Newcastle. The good thing is we got the point after being 1-0 down but the performance has to get better.

"We still have steps to go. Today was not a step forward. We need to decrease the number of giveaways and unforced errors and those steps of development we need to take. We have to take it game by game. We have physical games coming up against Burnley and Wolves.

"Results are on track but we have to get better than what we showed today.I think we were better in some games so far in the past, but it’s also about getting results and again the good thing today was we came back and we got the equaliser.

"In the end it could have been 2-2 – again there were two or three fantastic saves from David De Gea, similar to the game at Norwich, but we also had our chances to score a second goal. For sure, David is one of the best goalkeepers in the world - he showed that at Norwich and in the game today."

 

Stats


Allan Saint-Maximin netted his fourth goal PL of the season and remains second in the 2021/22 scoring charts behind Callum Wilson, with six. ASM moves on to 10 PL goals for the club, level with Jonjo Shelvey and one ahead of fellow SJP colleague Jamaal Lascelles.

At the halfway point of the PL season, Newcastle have 19 goals from 19 games. Their lowest return in a game season remains 35 in 1997/98. Sadly the Magpies failed to keep a PL clean sheet once again, managing just one from their 19 games. They've conceded 42, hardly inspiring confidence that they'll avoid exceeding their previous high total of 68 in 2012/13.

This was the ninth time Newcastle have scored first in the PL this season - but they've gone on to win just one of them, drawing five and losing three.

Newcastle named only eight of their nine permitted substitutes and included two goalkeepers; Freddie Woodman and Mark Gillespie. Federico Fernandez, Jamal Lewis and Paul Dummett were already unavailable due to injury, with Ciaran Clark, Matt Ritchie, Joe Willock and Karl Darlow all missing amid confirmation that an unspecified number of positive COVID tests had been logged in the camp.

Red Devils @ SJP - Premier era:

2021/22 drew 1-1 Saint-Maximin
2020/21 lost 1-4 og(Shaw)
2019/20 won 1-0 M.Longstaff
2018/19 lost 0-2
2017/18 won 1-0 Ritchie
2015/16 drew 3-3 Wijnaldum, Mitrovic(pen), Dummett
2014/15 lost 0-1
2013/14 lost 0-4
2012/13 lost 0-3
2011/12 won 3-0 Ba, Cabaye, og(Jones)
2010/11 drew 0-0
2008/09 lost 1-2 Lovenkrands
2007/08 lost 1-5 Ab.Faye
2006/07 drew 2-2 Milner, Edgar
2005/06 lost 0-2
2004/05 lost 1-3 Shearer
2003/04 lost 1-2 Shearer
2002/03 lost 2-6 Jenas, Ameobi
2001/02 won 4-3 Robert, Lee, Dabizas, og(Brown)
2000/01 drew 1-1 Glass
1999/00 won 3-0 Ferguson, Shearer 2
1998/99 lost 1-2 Solano
1997/98 lost 0-1
1996/97 won 5-0 D.Peacock, Ginola, Ferdinand, Shearer, Albert
1995/96 lost 0-1
1994/95 drew 1-1 Kitson
1994/95 won 2-0 Albert, Kitson (LC)
1993/94 drew 1-1 Cole


Halfway - 19 games in, last 12 PL seasons:

2021/22 11 points 19th (scored 19, conceded 42)
2020/21 19 points, 16th (scored 18, conceded 32)
2019/20 25 points, 10th (scored 18, conceded 28)
2018/19 17 points, 15th (scored 14, conceded 26)
2017/18 18 points, 15th (scored 19, conceded 29)
2015/16 17 points, 18th (scored 19, conceded 34) (relegated)
2014/15 26 points, 9th (scored 22, conceded 28)
2013/14 33 points, 8th (scored 29, conceded 24)
2012/13 20 points, 15th (scored 23, conceded 30)
2011/12 30 points, 7th (scored 26, conceded 25)
2010/11 22 points, 13th (scored 28, conceded 29)
2008/09 22 points, 12th (scored 25, conceded 27) (relegated)


 

Waffle

 


Following a trio of demoralising pre-Christmas defeats, Newcastle's final game of 2021 saw them revive to such an extent that even hostile elements of the media conceded that they'd deserved three points rather than just one. 

The much-prized and unlikely victory that a diluted but composed side deserved eluded Eddie Howe's side, but there was much to warm a partisan holiday crowd under the lights on a chilly Tyneside night. 

Whether by accident or design, the Magpies side that took to field after injury, illness and suspension succeeded in achieving the elusive balance between attack and defence - and crucially discovered some much-needed resilience in midfield.

That latter attribute was aided in part by one of Jonjo Shelvey's "brain in gear" games, plus the sort of committed display that we worried was no longer in Sean Longstaff's locker. Completing that triumvirate of wise men though was Joelinton - now truly a star rising in the North East, having prospered to an unheralded degree in left midfield. He was colossal.

As ever though with this club, the negatives weren't far behind the positives: a wonderful opening goal but a failure to double the advantage leading to the feared moment of defensive inadequacy, due in part to a cobbled together backline including two right backs. And worse still, extending past tonight's battle were further onfield casualties in the shape of the entire front three of Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin and Ryan Fraser leaving the field with ailments of varying severity.

Wilson's enforced withdrawal and the lack of a parallel replacement on the bench (Howe echoing Steve Bruce in not believing Dwight Gayle can play there) resulted in the hosts allowing the visitors to initiate attacks with less interference: Saint-Maximin unable to emulate the solo press.

Despite that though, they more than held their own all night against a Red Devils side who looked ill-prepared after a 16 day break following a COVID outbreak among staff and players that had closed their training ground.

Saint-Maximin's fine opener set the tone and Shelvey came close to a second before Wilson poked home a disallowed effort. Chances continued to appear for the black and whites in the second half; none more so than early on when Saint-Maximin could only direct a first-time shot at De Gea from close range with the goal seemingly gaping.

Fraser then took advantage of a marvellous Joelinton run and threaded pass but tried in vain to beat De Gea at his front post. And after Ralf Rangnick's side had scabbed an equaliser, a late raid from Newcastle came agonisingly close to winning it:
Jacob Murphy hitting the post and fellow substitute Miguel Almiron bringing the save of the game out of De Gea from the rebound.

Dubravka dropped the ball during six minutes of added time but got away with his mistake and Joelinton claimed a penalty when his shot hit an arm, although VAR showed the contact was outside the area.

The full time whistle brought mixed feelings: yet another game when one point should have been three, but satisfaction in having gone toe to toe with illustrious opponents, given them a game and emerged with some reward.

The stark reality is that failing to win here increases the probability of our relegation, but you'd have to go a long way to encounter despondency round these parts tonight. Call it pride, defiance or realism, people are on board with whatever this "project" is; responding to what looks to be an effort to repair the damage done by haphazard stewardship of club and squad alike.

Having bought the tickets, waved the flags and sung the songs, those fans now wait to see whether the new owners respond to the emerging situation with affirmative action in the transfer market next month. Having just about got away with the Emery/Howe issue early in their reign on a goodwill basis, not doing so risks ending the honeymoon period abruptedly. 

If a striker wasn't on the shopping list before though, it has to be now; although it's hard to believe that Howe would ignore his own previous experience of managing Wilson and his SJP medical file, and believe that he would have stayed fit.

Although it's tempting to go down the route of planning for the 2022/23 Championship XI, our opinion remains that this season is salvageable and there are three teams we can finish above.

Failing to bolster the squad in the areas that are required wouldn't be a complete shock given what players have to buy into in order to sign here - but managing the message better than in previous seasons might mitigate the disappointment.  Rearranging the words, "line over the couldn't it get" really wouldn't be a good idea for a press release or press conference soundbite on February 2nd....

PS: While writing this report, confirmation came that the Premier League had granted Newcastle's request to postpone their next game away at Everton on December 30th, which raises the possibility of the visit to Southampton three days later suffering a similar fate.

That has to be a positive given our dwindling resources, also balancing out what was becoming a significant disparity between the games played by sides towards the bottom end of the table. It does of course allow for the game (or games) to be played with the benefit of incoming transfers.

Biffa

 

Page last updated 31 December, 2021