Home SportsFootball Manchester United Suffered Another Terrible Night

Manchester United Suffered Another Terrible Night

by Iliyasu Nuhu
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Anthony Gordon scored a 55th-minute winner as Newcastle United outplayed and defeated Manchester United for the second time in just over a month.

But the victory came at a price as goalkeeper Nick Pope suffered what appeared to be a serious shoulder injury.

In-form Gordon tapped in Kieran Trippier’s low cross at the far post to give Newcastle a richly deserved success that took them above their opponents and to within reach of the Premier League’s top four.

It came 31 days after Eddie Howe’s side recorded an emphatic 3-0 victory at OId Trafford in the Carabao Cup.

Howe’s already injury-ravaged side should have been in front before the break as Alexander Isak’s shot was deflected narrowly wide by Harry Maguire before Trippier’s brilliantly struck free-kick bounced to safety off the underside of the bar.

When a goal finally came for Newcastle, there was no surprise it should come from Gordon, whose left-sided partnership with Tino Livramento had been too much for Manchester United to cope with.

Newcastle’s win means they have beaten Manchester United in three consecutive games for the first time in more than a century.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka denied Newcastle a second with an inspired goalline block, only for Fabian Schar to do something similar to keep out Sergio Reguilon’s effort, the nearest the visitors came to avoiding their sixth defeat of the campaign.

However, it was in trying to save that Pope was hurt, with the England man immediately signalling he could not continue.

The loss of Pope will be a bitter blow for Howe, who is without so many senior players as his side battle on four fronts.

That they were able to shrug off such setbacks – and the gut-wrenching concession of that injury-time equaliser to Paris St-Germain in the Champions League in midweek – says plenty about their character.

Gordon followed up his goals against Arsenal and Liverpool with another one against a big-name opponent.

The £45m has now been involved in seven goals – five goals and two assists – in his last eight league games, more than in his previous 45.

It was Gordon’s partnership with Livramento on Newcastle’s left-flank that rattled the visitors throughout a one-sided contest.

Livramento’s presence underlined the positive about a spate of injuries; players get a chance that otherwise might not come their way.

Although Newcastle spent an initial £32m on the former Southampton full-back in August, he has had to bide his time when it has come to starting games.

However, with Dan Burn out, a space has opened up in Howe’s team and Livramento has slotted right in.

This was his third start in a week and he could not be accused of a gentle introduction given he has faced two of England’s biggest clubs, either side of that match against Paris St-Germain.

Offered the chance to keep surging down the wing in support of Gordon, Livramento did exactly that, repeatedly unsettling the visitors to the extent they were fortunate not to be behind at the break.

The tally of 14 shots faced – the most Manchester United have defended in the first half of a league game since they were four down at Manchester City in October 2022 – owed much to Livramento.

Though it was Gordon who won the game, Howe will not overlook the 21-year-old’s contribution to another fabulous night at St James’ Park.

A run of five wins in six games had earmarked Manchester United as the Premier League’s in-form team.

But anyone who watched them taken apart during that run by neighbours Manchester City at Old Trafford on 29 October, as well as in the EFL Cup tie with Newcastle three days later, would know the statistic was a false one.

Yet again, faced with a good, disciplined, well-drilled side, Erik ten Hag’s team were toothless.

At the end, with Maguire up front as an emergency attacker, the England man thought he had scored. The effort, correctly, was ruled out for offside.

With a dismal Champions League campaign now requiring an unlikely combination of results for them to limp into the last 16, Manchester United lack Newcastle’s resilience, eye for an opportunity and doggedness.

There is no end in sight to the ownership saga that seems to be dragging Ten Hag’s side down even further. But on a night when Newcastle lost the services of another key man, the Dutchman’s complaint that his opponents had been given better preparation time rang hollow, even with the inconvenience of a three-hour drive when it was discovered the planned Saturday morning flight would not be possible.

(BBC)

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