Matt Ritchie scored the only goal of the game as Newcastle United beat Manchester United 1-0 at St James’ Park this afternoon.
The goal came from an indirect free kick from deep that had been flicked on twice to find the midfielder unmarked in the penalty area.
We created very little threat to Newcastle’s goal ourselves who had debutant Martin Dubravka putting in an excellent performance when called upon against us.
Here are how our players fared:
David de Gea 6 – Not given a chance with Matt Ritchie’s one-on-one finish into the bottom corner from close range. David de Gea made a smart save to deny Jonjo Shelvey early on but otherwise a largely uneventful game for the Spaniard.
Antonio Valencia 6 – Didn’t allow Kenedy much possession and the Brazilian caused very little threat to Antonio Valencia down the wing.
Chris Smalling 6 – Dived to concede the free kick from which Newcastle scored and was beaten by Dwight Gayle to assist Ritchie’s strike. Chris Smalling had kept Newcastle’s two strikers quiet to that point.
Phil Jones 7 – Had a solid game on his return from illness in picking off a couple of passes and shielding Newcastle’s attack away from David de Gea’s goal. Excellent interception to prevent a Newcastle overload in the final 10 minutes.
Ashley Young 7 – Kept Matt Ritchie quiet in open play, played a number of long balls forward and put a couple of crosses into the box.
Paul Pogba 5 – Seemingly suffered a hamstring injury in the warmup and hobbled around the field all afternoon without doing much effectively before being hauled off straight after Newcastle opened the scoring midway through the second half.
Nemanja Matic 7 – Was a solid defensive wall as always in front of the back four but didn’t see as much of the ball as he usually does.
Anthony Martial 7 – Caused some threats to the Newcastle defence without the finishing product. Missed back-to-back chances from six yards from a corner at 0-1.
Jesse Lingard 5 – Quiet game from the number 10 whose excellent form over the Christmas and New Year period has disappeared in recent weeks.
Alexis Sanchez 7 – Hardworking effort from the Chilean who saw an effort denied by Florian Lejeune on the goalline after Alexis Sanchez had rounded goalkeeper Martin Dubravka. Starting to find his form following his move from Arsenal.
Romelu Lukaku 7 – Excellent in holding up the ball to bring teammates into play, created a couple of chances but didn’t cause a threat to the host’s goalkeeper himself.
Juan Mata (26 mins) 5 – Overhit a chance to play Alexis Sanchez in down the right but otherwise Juan Mata didn’t do anything of note after replacing Jesse Lingard.
Michael Carrick (26 mins) 5 – Wasn’t the most attacking intentions from Jose Mourinho though there were few attacking players available on the bench for the boss. Michael Carrick wasn’t as smart in possession today as he has been over the years.
Scott McTominay (15 mins) N/A – The youngster had little time and few touches to make any impact.