ARTICLES Player Ratings

Player Ratings: Manchester United 4 – 1 Newcastle

All eyes were on Manchester United today, with the ever-awaited homecoming for the one and only Cristiano Ronaldo. The team did not let the occasion get to them and made sure they did what was expected from them, by putting in a superb performance.

Whilst United did struggle to break through Newcastle’s persistent low block at the start, the deadlock broke with United scoring at the end of the first half, and who else could it be other than Ronaldo.

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The start of the second half was more or less the same, however Newcastle ended up getting an equaliser thanks to Manquillo. This was a wake up call for the home side, although we answered quickly with a second goal from the one and only Cristiano Ronaldo, thanks to a marvelous run and through ball from Luke Shaw.

Newcastle never got back into the game, not that they ever were to begin with, and Manchester United ended the special day with two more world class goals, one being an individual moment of brilliance from Bruno Fernandes, and Jesse Lingard capped the day off with a neat curling effort to make it 4-1, courtesy of a lovely dummy by Anthony Martial.

Goalkeeper

David de Gea – 8/10

De Gea could’ve pretty much sat with the ever loud and supportive home fans in the first half, with him hardly having anything to do. The second half started the same for him, and whilst he couldn’t do much to prevent Newcastle’s only goal, he made a solid save when he was called upon, punching away Joelinton’s shot. A lot of the credit for the 4th goal has to go to de Gea, for his brilliant ball which started the attacking. Could we finally see de Gea back at his best, early signs so far are certainly promising.

Defenders

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 7/10

A solid performance from Wan-Bissaka, both defensively and in the opponent’s half. He was always an option for our attack on the right, and linked up well with Pogba, Bruno and Mason. He also put in a few dangerous crosses, which were appreciated by Ronaldo constantly. His positioning was good in our half, and he also made some brilliant challenges. A nice decent outing from our right back.

Raphael Varane – 7.5/10

It didn’t look like this was the world cup winners’ Old Trafford debut tonight based off how assured he was and the maturity in his performance. He dealt with the threat of Saint Maximim with relative ease, on top of any other attacks he had to deal with. On the ball, his distribution was solid and he always looked to progress the ball. Although he did try to prevent Newcastle’s goal, ultimately there was not much he could do as our defensive organisation was out of shape, and hence Manquillo had ample of space to the right of Varane.

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Harry Maguire – 6/10

Our skipper did not have too much to do throughout the game and was solid whilst dealing with Newcastle’s counter attacks and the threat of Saint Maximim, however he could have done so much better to prevent Newcastle’s goal, with him committing prematurely and failing to win the ball. That hindered with the shape of our defence and resulted in a Newcastle goal.  

Luke Shaw – 6.5/10

Luke Shaw certainly did not have his best game for his standards. Whilst his assist to Ronaldo was superb, defensively he was often out of position throughout the game and could’ve done much better for Newcastle’s only goal of the night. He did link up well with our players, and that is no surprise, it was his crossing which often let the team down, with Shaw often failing to beat the first man at times. His ongoing injury looks like it is troubling him a bit, however his performances aren’t a major concern, and he should find his touch back soon.

Midfielders

Nemanja Matic – 8.5/10

Matic tonight showed what difference a natural defensive midfielder can bring to a team. He did everything at which he excels at, often dropping as the 3rd centre-back in build up, helping the defence out with his interceptions, and on the ball, his distribution was positive. Matic often refers himself as the key of the team, and today he showed why that is the case.

Paul Pogba – 9/10

Pogba has been in red hot form since the start of the season, and today’s match was no different for him. Playing in the double pivot alongside Matic, Pogba kept things ticking and made sure he linked the attack to midfield tonight. He was always available as an option for our teammates to pass the ball to, on top of that defensively he tracked back and constantly made sure he was in the right place. Pogba capped off his superb, tidy, and disciplined performance with two assists, making it 7 in total for the season! Two back to back world class performances from the double pivot for Pogba so far, and he is certainly on track for the assist record.

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Bruno Fernandes 7.5/10

Our Portuguese magnifico showed today why you can’t sleep on him, with him scoring an absolute screamer of a goal. It was an hot and cold match for him, with him making some rather poor decisions and his final ball not coming off, but at the same time, he showed moments of brilliance throughout the game, one of them being a beauty of a first touch which got him a nice reaction from the fans. He also kept making those constant runs in behind, something he has added more to his game this season. Subbed off in the 85th minute for Anthony Martial.

Forwards

Jadon Sancho – 6.5/10

A much better outing for Sancho as compared to his debut, the young English winger looked much sharper today. He looked more confident and linked up well with the team, albeit did lose the ball sloppily a few times. It’s still early days so he is finding his rhythm, but Sancho could’ve also scored in the first half from Bruno’s ball to him. There’s much more to come from Sancho and it isn’t long before he gets his first goal. Subbed off in the 66th minute for Jesse Lingard

Mason Greenwood – 7/10

Playing on the right-hand side to accommodate Ronaldo, Greenwood had a relatively quiet first half, although his shot did lead to our first goal and broke the deadlock for United. He grew more into the game in the second half, and constantly looked to move the ball forward and make things happen. With each passing game, you can see the maturity in Greenwood’s performance, and how much he has grown as a player.

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Cristiano Ronaldo – 9/10

Did anyone expect anything else other than a world-class performance from one of the best players of all time? The entire world’s eyes were on Ronaldo and capped off his Manchester United homecoming with a brace, which showed some key mental aspects of what’s always kept him at the top of the game, his anticipation and movement. The first goal was a proper’s poachers’ goal, with Ronaldo lapsing on to Woodburn’s mistake, and he made a superb run for the second goal, which he latched it away with his weaker foot. He was a constant threat for the opposition. Today was only the beginning, and there is much more to come from our #7.

Substitutes

Jesse Lingard – 7.5/10

Subbed on in the 66th minute, Jesse Lingard looked sharp and constantly looked like a threat. He linked up well and ended his solid performance with a superb finish from a brilliant team goal. He looks rejuvenated in 2021, and today’s goal showed that.

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Donny van de Beek – N/A

Subbed on in the 85th minute, didn’t do enough to warrant a rating. Was nice to see him on the pitch, and hopefully we get to see more of him in our match against Young Boys.

Anthony Martial – N/A

Subbed on in the 85th minute alongside van de Beek, didn’t do enough to warrant a rating. He was involved in our 4th goal, with a nice dummy which led Pogba’s pass to reach Lingard.

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