newcastle-denied-victory-by-man-utd-sub-cavani

Newcastle denied victory by Man Utd sub Cavani

Newcastle’s thrilling performance was only good enough for a point as a poor Manchester United scraped a 1-1 draw at St James’ Park.

Allan Saint-Maximin’s fine first-half goal had given Newcastle the lead in the seventh minute and they were well worth that advantage for over an hour as Ralf Rangnick’s side struggled.

But substitute Edinson Cavani scored a scarcely-deserved equaliser and it required some typical heroics from David de Gea to deny Miguel Almiron a late Newcastle winner.

Player ratings

Newcastle: Dubravka (6), Manquillo (7), Schar (7), Lascelles (7), Krafth (8), Fraser (7), Shelvey (7), Sean Longstaff (7), Joelinton (9), Saint-Maximin (9), Wilson (7).

Subs: Murphy (7), Almiron (6), Gayle (6).

Man Utd: De Gea (7), Dalot (7), Varane (6), Maguire (5), Telles (6), McTominay (6), Fred (5), Fernandes (6), Rashford (5), Greenwood (5), Ronaldo (6).

Subs: Cavani (8), Sancho (6), Matic (6).

Man of the match: Joelinton

While Manchester United escaped with a draw, the first dropped points of the Rangnick regime, Eddie Howe was left frustrated, a night of promise and hope ending with Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson injured.

The result was not enough to move Manchester United up the table – they stay seventh – while Newcastle remain one off the bottom in 19th, still two points from safety.

How the game unfolded

Amid an electric atmosphere at St James’ Park, Manchester United look hurried from the outset with their experienced centre-back pairing appearing particularly ruffled.

Harry Maguire’s error almost let in Ryan Fraser early on before Raphael Varane, in his first start since October, was punished after being dispossessed in the build-up to the opener.

Saint-Maximin found himself running at the Manchester United defence, cutting inside Maguire and, on the stretch, somehow poking the ball expertly into the corner of the net.

Newcastle United's Allan Saint-Maximin (left) celebrates scoring against Manchester United

Image:
Allan Saint-Maximin (left) celebrates after firing Newcastle ahead

The tempo seemed too much for the away side at that stage, the rejuvenated Joelinton coming close to doubling the advantage with a shot that had De Gea scrambling.

Rangnick’s team had plenty of possession but the chances continued to come for Newcastle with Wilson even putting the ball into the net only to be adjudged offside.

The closest Manchester United came in the first half was through Mason Greenwood from Bruno Fernandes’ clever free-kick but Cristiano Ronaldo was offside and interfering anyway.

It was an alarming 45 minutes for the visitors in what Gary Neville had billed beforehand as a new start but soon found himself deriding the players as “a bunch of whingebags”.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Gary Neville was not impressed with the body language of several of Manchester United’s players after their first-half display against Newcastle

Team news

Newcastle made no fewer than six changes from the 4-0 defeat at Man City, and named only eight substitutes out of a possible nine. Jacob Murphy and Miguel Almiron dropped to the bench, while Ciaran Clark, Matt Ritchie, Joe Willock and Isaac Hayden were out. Javier Manquillo, Fabian Schar, Emil Krafth, Jonjo Shelvey, Sean Longstaff and Allan Saint-Maximin came in.

Manchester United, who had not played since December 11, made two changes from the 1-0 win at Norwich. Raphael Varane played for the first time since late October, returning from a hamstring injury to replace the absent Victor Lindelof. Further up the pitch, Mason Greenwood came in for Jadon Sancho, who was benched.

Jadon Sancho and Cavani replaced Greenwood and Fred at the interval but Saint-Maximin should have had his second from close range only to be denied by De Gea.

Any better contact on Emil Krafth’s low cross from the right would have been too much for the Manchester United goalkeeper but the squandered opportunity left the door ajar.

Rangnick’s team just looked unable to push through it. A lunge from Ronaldo that might have earned more than a booking. A miskick from Marcus Rashford. A dismal cross from Sancho.

This was ‘Bizarro World’, where Joelinton looked the most complete player on the pitch. He set up Saint-Maximin again, forcing another good save from De Gea as the fans roared.

But with the game wide open, there was always that chance of an equaliser and Cavani found it – scoring from the second attempt after Diogo Dalot’s right-wing cross.

Manchester United's Edinson Cavani celebrates scoring against Newcastle

Image:
Manchester United’s Edinson Cavani came off the bench to score against Newcastle

The Uruguayan can appear like a magnet for the ball in the box and almost conjured a second goal soon after as Newcastle sat back, doubt creeping into their performance.

Edinson Cavani equalises for Manchester United at Newcastle

Image:
Cavani slots home the equaliser for Man Utd

A promising night got trickier when Saint-Maximin went off injured, joining Wilson who had hobbled off earlier, sapping belief in a result – and perhaps Premier League survival.

But Newcastle refused to yield and came painfully close to a winner in the 88th minute when Jacob Murphy hit the post before Almiron drew a stunning save from De Gea.

Martin Dubravka almost blew it late on when dropping a high ball into the path of Sancho but a Manchester United win was not deserved. Both had to settle for an eventful draw.

What the managers said…

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Eddie Howe was left ‘very disappointed’ after Newcastle were pegged back to draw 1-1 with Manchester United

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe: “We’re disappointed, we felt we deserved to win. I don’t think we deserved to concede. How De Gea saved that shot from 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.”

Man Utd boss Ralf Rangnick: “I did not like it at all. We were trying to get better at controlling games. Today we did not control the game, apart from very few moments, at all. It was all about energy, about physicality, and who wins the second balls. In all those areas we were not at our best today. In the end, we got a point, that is the good thing. But the overall performance has to get better.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Ralf Rangnick was unhappy with Manchester United’s performance in their 1-1 draw with Newcastle

Man of the match: Joelinton

Joelinton has been a revelation in midfield and this performance showcased his defensive qualities. He won possession of the ball 11 times, more than anyone else on the pitch, making four interceptions, also the most of anyone in the game. He was involved in everything – having more touches and completing more passes than any Newcastle player.

“He was brilliant,” Jamie Carragher told Monday Night Football. “That was an outstanding midfield performance by any standard. His running with the ball, he wins the ball back. The power he showed. He has taken some criticism. Let’s not sugar coat it, he was really poor as a centre-forward. Eddie Howe has put him in a midfield position and he has looked Newcastle’s best player. It was a superb performance. Rightly so, he gets man of the match.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sean Longstaff said that the disrespect shown towards Newcastle’s Joelinton is a disgrace

Sean Longstaff was eager to defend his team-mate’s reputation as an under-performer when speaking to Sky Sports after the game – “the disrespect he gets is a disgrace” – but there is no denying that the change of position has brought out previously unseen qualities.

“Initially, we thought we would play him as a No 10,” Eddie Howe told Monday Night Football. “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.”

Opta stats

  • Newcastle have dropped more points from winning positions than any other team in the Premier League this season (19). Indeed, they have only won one of the nine league games in which they have scored first in this season (D5 L3).
  • Manchester United have scored 113 goals against Newcastle United in the Premier League; the outright-most one team has scored against another in the competition.
  • Newcastle have conceded 80 goals in the Premier League in 2021; the outright most by a team in a single calendar year in the competition. The last top-flight team to concede more over the course of a year was West Brom in 1985 (87).
  • Newcastle have only won 11 points from their 19 league games this season – of the previous 15 instances of a team having 11 or fewer points at this stage of a Premier League campaign, West Brom in 2004-05 are the only team who have managed to avoid relegation.
  • Since the start of the 2019-20 season – his first at the club – Allan Saint-Maximin is the only Newcastle player to have reached double figures for both goals (10) and assists (11) in the competition.
  • Newcastle record eight shots on target in this match, while only facing four from Manchester United – since 2003-04 (as far back as we have this data), this is the first time Newcastle have recorded twice as many shots on target as the Red Devils in a Premier League match.
  • Five of Allan Saint-Maximin’s 10 goals for Newcastle in the Premier League have seen him open the scoring, while the Magpies are unbeaten in the five games when the Frenchman has scored the first goal (W4 D1).
  • Since making his debut in the Premier League in October 2020, Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani has scored six goals as a substitute; at least twice as many as any other player in this period. Only four players have now scored more for the Red Devils as a sub in the Premier League – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (17), Chicharito (14), Marcus Rashford (9) and Anthony Martial (8).

What’s next?

Manchester United now host Burnley on December 30 at 8.15pm in the Premier League, while Newcastle are at Everton at 7.30pm on the same day. You can watch free match highlights from both games shortly after full-time on skysports.com and the Sky Sports App.