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Manchester United boost top-four bid with 3-1 win over Newcastle United

Manchester United strengthened their bid to finish in the top four of the Premier League with a 3-1 victory over Newcastle United at Old Trafford last night.

The Red Devils started the game in a relatively slow fashion and goalkeeper David de Gea needed to punch away Joelinton’s volley on the turn from the edge of the box.

They eventually broke the deadlock in the 30th minute after a sublime run from Marcus Rashford, who cut inside from the left wing before beating goalkeeper Karl Darlow at the near post.

The lead lasted for only six minutes as Allan Saint-Maximin scored on the half-volley.

The Frenchman had just forced a save from De Gea and was then gifted the chance to score after a poor clearance from Harry Maguire.

United took the lead for the second time before the hour mark as Daniel James scored for the second game running.

Nemanja Matic’s cross was likely to be intercepted by Jamal Lewis but Bruno Fernandes came up with a feather touch which deflected the ball into James’ path.

The Red Devils put the game to bed with a third goal in the 75th minute through a Fernandes penalty after Rashford was adjudged to have been fouled in the box by Joe Willock.

The victory took United to 49 points after 25 league games and they have retained the second spot ahead of Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City on goal difference.

A title charge seems unlikely with arch-rivals Manchester City 10 points clear at the top of the standings after registering a stunning 13th straight win in the league on Sunday.

However, United have boosted their top four hopes with the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool squandering the opportunity to keep up at the weekend.

They are now six points clear of fifth-placed Chelsea and nine ahead of Liverpool, who are behind the Blues. United face Thomas Tuchel’s side at Stamford Bridge next weekend.

Prior to that, they are scheduled to host the second leg of the Europa League round of 32 tie against Real Sociedad.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will ring the changes with United already 4-0 up from the away leg.

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