What we saw today was an excellent rearguard action by Newcastle to stand up to all the extreme pressure Manchester United could throw at the Magpies, and there were some outstanding defensive performance from the like of Krul and every one of our back four, and we got our first clean sheet of the season and an excellent point at Old Trafford.
At the start this game looked a little like last week at Swansea, when we were overrun, but despite what McClaren said, the players seemed to have learned from last week and the lads were cutting out the crosses and blocking the shots, and Steven Taylor had an excellent game today at the back.
It was a rearguard action today since we didn’t have one shot on target all game, and all that stats were in the Red Devils favor – except the result.
Mitrovic headed this one against the cross bar from Mbemba cross
Rooney seemed to have scored aftre just four minutes, but the goal was ruled for offside and it was very close and he was probably level with Taylor and the goal should have counted.
But then after 23 minutes and out of nothing, it was almost a goal made in Anderlecht, when Chancel Mbemba put in a great right wing cross and Mitrovic magnificently headed the ball goalwards – but the ball hit the crossbar and came back out.
Aleksandar did not get a yellow card today and he worked his socks off for the side – and he looks the part from what we could tell.
Tim Krul had to be in form to keep Newcastle in the game, and he made several good saves in the first half, and Ayoze Perez also made some good runs and kept the ball well.
After 42 minutes Perez had a great shot that goalkeeper Romero had to turn around the post for a corner.
It was 0-0 at the half and Newcastle had been coming more into the game in the final 20 minutes and had played some very good passing football with quick breaks.
It was anybody’s game as the second half kicked off and it was evident that our forwards were helping out at the back a lot, as first Mitrovic cleared in the penalty area and then Perez helped Coloccini to make a great block.
On 69 minutes after extreme pressure form the Red Devils, Florian Thauvin made his debut for Newcastle, as he came on for Obertan and after a minute he was brought down harshly – welcome to the Premier League.
But the Frenchman then made a brilliant run down the right wing and looked good in his first 10 minutes on the field and can certainly cross ball as he showed with a very nicely flighted corner – meant for Mitrovic.
On 74 minutes only a brilliant Colo tackle cleared the danger as Newcastle were being pressed further and further back.
On 76 minutes Krul saved well from Shaw and the with 10 minutes to go the Dutch keeper then again saved brilliantly from Chicharito who had come on as a sub.
Cisse came on with two minutes to go for the exhausted Mitrovic, who had put in some shift for Newcastle is his very first start for the club.
Head coach Steve McClaren was on the touchline urging his players on as they showed courage and fortitude today – something that was sorely missing last week.
After 91 minutes Anita kicked off the line from Smalling and then Newcastle had a terrific breakaway with three players up and it looked like we must score as Papiss Cisse hit the ball at goal and Thauvin diving in just missed getting contact – otherwise Newcastle could have won this game.
But Newcastle saw out stoppage time for an excellent draw – and somehow our defense held out and got a clean sheet – and it is hard to see how McClaren will change the back four on this display for Arsenal at home next week.
It was an excellent result and it was obvious the coaches and the players had been working on organization and defending since Swansea – and we looked a lot better in defense than last week.
A really excellent result from Newcastle and a very good performance.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): Romero, Darmian (Valencia, 76), Blind, Smalling, Shaw, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger (Carrick, 58), Januzaj (Chicharito, 67), Mata, Memphis, Rooney (C).
Subs not used: Johnstone, Young, Herrera, McNair.
Newcastle (4-2-3-1): Krul, Mbemba, Taylor, Coloccini (C), Haidara, Colback, Anita, Wijnaldum, Obertan (Thauvin, 69), Perez (Tiote, 76), Mitrovic (Cisse, 88).
Subs Not Used: Darlow, Williamson, de Jong, Aarons.