Live Commentary: Manchester United 3-2 Newcastle United – as it happened

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Good afternoon and welcome to Sports Mole‘s live text coverage of the Premier League clash between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford.

The hosts come into this match looking to end a four-game winless run across all competitions which has left them 10th in the Premier League table after seven games of the season.

Newcastle, meanwhile, are still waiting for their first win of any kind this season and go into the weekend sitting in the relegation zone.

Make sure you don’t miss a moment of the action courtesy of our minute-by-minute updates below.


4.30pmGood afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for today’s late Premier League kickoff as Manchester United host Newcastle United at Old Trafford!

Ironically, ‘united’ is the last word you would use to describe either of these two clubs at the moment, with today’s hosts dogged by reports of dressing room fallouts and the visitors still under the ownership of the unpopular Mike Ashley.

They are two sides in desperate need of a victory, so let’s start by looking at the teams the managers have selected in their bid to get one today…

4.32pmMAN UTD STARTING XI: De Gea; Young, Bailly, Smalling, Shaw; McTominay, Matic, Pogba; Rashford, Lukaku, Martial

4.32pmMAN UTD SUBS: Romero, Lindelof, Pereira, Fellaini, Fred, Mata, Sanchez

4.34pmNEWCASTLE STARTING XI: Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Manquillo; Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy; Perez; Muto

4.34pmNEWCASTLE SUBS: Darlow, Schar, Clark, Hayden, Murphy, Atsu, Joselu

4.36pmWhat can we make of those two teams, then?

Well, there is plenty to talk about regarding the Manchester United selection, with the headline being that Alexis Sanchez misses out once again, having also been dropped for last weekend’s visit to West Ham United.

The Chilean did return for the Champions League game in midweek but was once again ineffective, extending his wait for a goal this season. He is replaced in the starting lineup today by Anthony Martial – as he was against West Ham too.

4.38pmUnited fans will be pleased to see Marcus Rashford retained in the starting lineup after his performance in midweek, when he was the standout performer in a distinctly average display against Valencia.

Romelu Lukaku completes the front three and will be bidding to end a five-game goal drought against a team he has a good record when facing in the past – namely directly contributing to 10 goals in 10 Premier League appearances against the Magpies.

Romelu Lukaku in action for Manchester United on August 19, 2018© Reuters

4.40pmScott McTominay is another player who returns to the starting lineup this afternoon, although the personnel selected by Mourinho suggests that he will not be playing in the role he carried out against West Ham United last weekend.

On that occasion McTominay slotted into a back three – and was described after the match as United’s best defender by Mourinho – but he is expected to play in a more familiar midfield role today.

4.42pmAlso in that midfield is Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba, the latter of whom has dominated so many headlines already this season – and mostly for the wrong reasons.

Pogba is not the only player to have reportedly fallen out with Mourinho, though, and one of the others to do so – Antonio Valencia – is absent from the squad entirely this afternoon.

4.44pmThe returning Ashley Young takes both Valencia place at right-back and the captain’s armband for today’s game – one of three changes from that midweek stalemate with Valencia alongside McTominay and Martial.

Eric Bailly continued at the heart of the defence, meanwhile, with Lindelof only making the bench and Jones once again left out of the squad completely.

4.46pmNewcastle, meanwhile, are still without striker Salomon Rondon due to a thigh injury, which means that Yoshinori Muto is handed his first Premier League start leading the line, with Joselu dropped to the bench.

Muto will be handed support by Ayoze Perez, who will play in the hole just behind the Japanese striker, but neither of them have scored a Premier League goal yet this season.

4.48pmNewcastle handed late fitness tests to both Federico Fernandez and Paul Dummett before today’s match, and Fernandez clearly passed his as he returns alongside Lascelles in central defence.

Dummett remains sidelined, though, which means that Javier Manquillo comes into the starting lineup in place of Kenedy, who switches forward to a more familiar attacking position.

4.50pmRafael Benitez has made three changes to his side in all for this one, with Clark, Atsu and Joselu the men to make way for Fernandez, Manquillo and Muto.

Shelvey and Diame will patrol the middle of the park and could be crucial to any success for Newcastle if they are able to keep the likes of Pogba from exerting his influence on the game.

4.52pmOf course, sometimes this season it hasn’t even taken particularly good performances from the opposition midfield to keep Paul Pogba quiet, and he is just one of a number of star names struggling to live up to their billing at Old Trafford at the moment.

Debate continues to rage about whether it is the players or manager Jose Mourinho who are most at fault for the club’s current form, but one this is for certain – they cannot afford to let it carry on for much longer.

4.54pmOn paper, Newcastle look like the perfect opponents for Manchester United today given that the Red Devils have a brilliant record against the Magpies, but this is also a very good time for Newcastle to be facing Manchester United.

Mourinho’s side come into this match without a win in their last four games across all competitions, with that poor on-field form only adding to the relentless reports of unrest behind the scenes too.

4.56pmIt was a 1-1 draw with Wolves two weeks ago which sparked this alarming slump in form, and since then United have been knocked out of the EFL Cup by Championship side Derby County, lost to West Ham United and drawn with Valencia in the Champions League.

The speculation over Jose Mourinho‘s future at the club continues to grow as a result, with the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Mauricio Pochettino having been tipped as possible successors.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho applauds supporters following his side's 3-0 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur on August 27, 2018© Reuters

4.58pmUnited have been beaten as many times as they have won so far this season, contributing towards what is their worst ever start to a Premier League season, and their worst in the top flight since 1989-90, when they managed just seven points from their opening seven games.

This time around Mourinho’s side have 10 points from seven games, leaving them already nine behind Manchester City and Liverpool.

5pmUnited have also only kept one clean sheet so far this season, conceding 12 goals in their seven league games, which is their second-worst record at this stage of a campaign in the Premier League era.

Indeed, it took them 18 games to ship 12 goals last season, and considering that matches against Chelsea and Everton – in addition to a Champions League showdown with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus – are to come after the international break, that is something they need to improve on.

5.02pmPerhaps the most remarkable aspect of United’s underwhelming start to the season has been their form here at Old Trafford, where they remain winless since the very opening day of the campaign.

That was almost two months ago now – a four-game drought which includes draws with Wolves and Valencia in addition to their EFL Cup exit. United have only gone five home games without a win on one occasion since 1999.


Jose Mourinho on Newcastle: “Very, very, very good coach, a team that is always very well organised against especially the teams of the first part of the table, where their manager is very bright on his analysis of the opponent’s qualities.

“The results they had against the top teams didn’t get them points yet this season but gave them very, very close results and [were] very difficult matches for the opposition, so we expect a difficult match.”


Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez: “In all my time in England, I don’t remember any fragile Manchester United team.

“All of them have been really strong every year with good managers, good players, so I don’t see any fragile Manchester United team.

“I can see a team that everyone was expecting to be higher, but it’s a question of time, like us. Who is at the top of the table in the Premier League? The three teams who spent more money than anyone.

“Who is at the bottom of the table? Teams that didn’t spend so much money. That is a normal situation.”

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez watches on during his side's EFL Cup clash with Nottingham Forest on August 29, 2018© Reuters

5.08pmFor all Benitez’s insistence that Manchester United remain a strong team, the Magpies will still know that today represents a very good opportunity for them to chalk up a rare win at Old Trafford.

However, while the hosts are in poor form, Newcastle are in even worse shape and the supporters will have very little sympathy for the current Man United plight on and off the field having been through far worse in recent years.

5.10pmMike Ashley’s attempts to sell the club have so far not been successful, and matters on the pitch will not have help with Newcastle still winless after seven games of the new season.

Cardiff and Huddersfield are the only other teams still searching for that elusive first victory, although the Terriers’ draw with Burnley in a 3pm kickoff means that Newcastle will begin this game in 29th place.

5.12pmVictory would be enough for the Magpies to climb out of the bottom three – at least until Fulham face Arsenal tomorrow – but should they fail to pull off an upset here then it would be just the third time in their history that they have made such a poor start.

You have to go back to 1898-99 for one of those – a 10-game winless run at the beginning of the season – and the only other time that they have waited eight top-flight matches for victory was in 2015-16.

5.14pmIt should be noted that Newcastle were handed a torrid start to the season, though, with today’s match being their fifth against members of last season’s top six in their opening eight games – Liverpool are the only team they haven’t faced in that time.

Six of those opening eight games – including today – come against teams that finished above them last season, and it is perhaps no surprise that their only two points of the campaign so far have come against the only sides they have faced who finished below them – promoted Cardiff and Crystal Palace.

5.16pmNewcastle fans will, of course, bear that in mind when considering their current league position, and they will be happy to know that things do get easier after the international break.

The Magpies’ next four games after the break come against Brighton, Southampton, Watford and Bournemouth – all of whom finished below them last season.

5.18pmThe Magpies have been beaten by Nottingham Forest this season too, but they can take some encouragement from their performances against the big teams, only narrowly losing to Spurs, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City – all by a 2-1 scoreline.

Goalscoring has been one of the main problems for Benitez’s side, as they have failed to find the back of the net in their last two games and have not scored more than once in any match so far this season. Indeed, they have attempted just 52 shots this season with only 18 on target – both league-low tallies.

5.20pmPREDICTION! Right, we’re 10 minutes away from kickoff at Old Trafford, which means that it is time for a prediction!

The home side’s current troubles make this a very intriguing match, and against almost any other team it could be enough to tilt the match in the favour of the visitors. However, Newcastle have a woeful record here and are in trouble themselves, so I am going to go for a home win.

SPORTS MOLE SAYS: Manchester United 2-0 Newcastle

5.22pmI mentioned Newcastle’s poor Old Trafford record there, so just how bad is it?

Well, the Magpies have won just one of their last 36 visits to this stadium to face United, losing 26 of those in a run which stretches back to 1972. The solitary win in that time came in December 2013, when Yohan Cabaye scored the only goal of the game against David Moyes’s United.

5.24pmIndeed, Newcastle’s poor record extends to the whole city of Manchester, having won just two of their 42 Premier League away games against United or City – one at City in September 2000 and that win over Moyes’s side.

Home and away, United have only lost three of their last 29 Premier League meetings, although one of those did come in their very last clash in February.

5.26pmMatt Ritchie scored the only goal in that game to hand Newcastle all three points, and another victory today would make it successive league wins against United for the first time since 1972.

Newcastle were able to hold on to the lead on that occasion, but that is not something they have always done in this fixture. Indeed, they have lost seven Premier League games against United when scoring first – just one short of the competition’s record for one club against another.

5.28pmRight, the players are out and we’re almost ready to get going now! A reminder of the team news before we do get started…

MAN UTD STARTING XI: De Gea; Young, Bailly, Smalling, Shaw; McTominay, Matic, Pogba; Rashford, Lukaku, Martial

NEWCASTLE STARTING XI: Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Manquillo; Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy; Perez; Muto

1 minKICKOFF:  Here we go, then! Newcastle get us underway at Old Trafford!

3 minThere is plenty of noise inside Old Trafford during these opening moments from both sets of fans. The home fans booed their team off on Tuesday night and will be demanding an improvement today.

5 minSpeaking of the fans, Newcastle’s supporters have just launched their first chants aimed at Mike Ashley, describing the unpopular owner in some rather unflattering ways.


7 minGOAL!  What a start for Newcastle! Out of nothing, they take the lead at Old Trafford, and it is far too easy for the visitors!

One through ball slices the United defence open and is collected by Kenedy, who is allowed to cut onto his left foot by Young and then curls his finish into the bottom corner past De Gea!


10 minGOAL!  Incredible scenes as Newcastle make it two goals in three minutes to take complete control of this match after just 10 minutes!

It is more terrible defending from the hosts as Muto collects the ball with his back to goal and is allowed to escape Bailly, turn and hammer his finish past De Gea. It is close to the United keeper, but there was such power on the shot that he could not keep it out.

12 minThe atmosphere is deafening inside Old Trafford now. The Newcastle fans are ecstatic, and the Manchester United fans are trying to roar their team into action. This has been a remarkable start to the game.

14 minA terrible record at Old Trafford, no wins this season and yet Newcastle are two up after 10 minutes here and flying…

16 minHere comes a spell of United pressure, and already it looks as though Newcastle will be happy to sit back and try to soak up the United pressure for the remainder of this match.

18 minSAVE!  Shelvey picks the ball up around 25 yards from goal and gets it out of his feet before letting fly. There is all sorts of movement on the ball, but De Gea is able to adjust and parry it away.

18 minThe resulting corner sees Perez flick the ball on and Diame get on the end of it, but it is easy for De Gea to collect.

19 minMAN UTD SUB: Mourinho is already turning to his bench, and not due to an injury. Juan Mata replaces Bailly, who is hooked with less than 20 minutes on the clock.

20 minSAVE!  Matic rises well from a corner and plants a firm header towards goal, but it is easily collected by Dubravka.

20 minSAVE!  Newcastle get forward at the other end and again are able to get a shot away far too easily, but Perez’s effort is tame and easy for De Gea.

22 minThat United change has seen McTominay slot back into the centre-back pairing with Smalling, with Mata taking his place in midfield. An unorthodox reshuffle from Mourinho.

22 minCHANCE!  Big chance for United to claw one back here!

Lukaku drifts out to the right flank and cuts onto his left foot before delivering a peach of a cross into the box. Rashford stretches every sinew to get there, but puts his header wide of the target when he should have scored.

Golden opportunity.

24 minA remarkable statistic, and not one anyone would have been expecting Newcastle to break here…

24 minPogba collects a loose ball in midfield before working space to shoot, but his effort is deflected wide of the target.

26 minManchester United have dominated the ball since those two quickfire goals, but Newcastle appear to be happy enough with that and they continue to offer a threat on the break too.

28 minWe’re almost half an hour into this match now and still the Newcastle fans are in dreamland. Serious, serious questions will be asked of Mourinho if they cannot claw this one back.

30 minUnited continue to see all of the ball here, but they are struggling to break Newcastle down at the moment. Indeed, despite having only had 30% possession it is the visitors who still look most like scoring right now.

31 minMartial collects the ball on the left flank and cuts inside, squaring up Yedlin one on one. However, his final delivery is poor and easily cleared.

33 minPogba escapes a yellow card for kicking the ball away, and to be fair it is easy to understand his frustrations as his shoulder barge from Diame looked fair.

34 minCHANCE!  Big chance for Newcastle to put this game to bed!

A poor clearance from Smalling only falls as far as Kenedy, who nods it back into a dangerous area. Muto helps it on its way from close range, but De Gea pulls off a brilliant reaction stop to deny the striker a second goal. The ball almost escapes his grasp and creeps in, but he gathers it just in time.

36 minCHANCE!  More dreadful defending from the home side as a free kick is floated into the area and met by Lascelles, who has wandered into the box completely unmarked. He gets his header all wrong, but that was so easy once again.

38 minNewcastle look dangerous every time they come forward and they win a free kick on the left edge of the area here. The ball is fed back low for Ritchie, who goes down having beaten Martial to the ball but doesn’t get anything from the ref.

40 minBizarre decision from the referee here as he gives a goal kick when a Shelvey free kick clearly took a big deflection off the wall and behind. Indeed, rather than a corner it could have even been a penalty as Young stuck his arm out to block it.

41 minSAVE!  Newcastle win the ball back again off Matic and that gives the visitors the chance to launch another attack. Diame drives forward and is able to get the shot away, but it is simple for De Gea.

42 minSAVE!  Dubravka is finally forced into a rare save as Pogba plays a one-two with Lukaku before curling a low effort towards the corner which the Newcastle keeper saves comfortably.

44 minCHANCE!  United give the ball away once again to allow Perez to break into the box, but he completely misses the ball when going to pull the trigger!

45+1 minThere will be two minutes of added time at the end of this first half.

45+2 minYELLOW CARD!  Shaw picks up a yellow card for stopping a Newcastle break moments after Muto escaped a handball inside his own area.


6.26pmWow. An incredible half of football which leaves Jose Mourinho facing one of the biggest tests of his managerial career.

Newcastle lead Manchester United 2-0 at Old Trafford, with both of those goals coming in a remarkable opening 10 minutes. The hosts are in dire straights at the moment and it is hard to see a way back for them at the moment.

6.28pmKenedy got the opening goal after just seven minutes, and it was dreadful defending from Manchester United as they were sliced open far too easily.

Kenedy latched on to a through-ball which beat the entire United defence before easily taking it past Young and curling a pinpoint finish into the bottom corner.

6.30pmThe second goal arrived just three minutes later as Old Trafford was left shell-shocked by the quickfire double – the first time they have ever conceded twice in the first 10 minutes of a home Premier League game.

This time it was Muto who got the goal, and again it was poor defending as he was allowed to turn inside the area before drilling his finish past De Gea.

6.32pmThe bulk of the other chances have also fallen to Newcastle, who look dangerous almost every time they come forward with the hosts so shaky at the back.

Mourinho took Bailly off in favour of Juan Mata after the two early goals, and Scott McTominay has struggled since being forced to play at centre-back. The hosts need a drastic response in this second half.

46 minKICKOFF:  Manchester United get us back underway for the second half, and Mourinho has made another change at the break with Marouane Fellaini replacing McTominay.

48 minA very interesting 45 minutes awaits us here, especially as Mourinho now looks to have gone to a back three of Smalling, Pogba and Matic.

50 minUnited certainly look like they are trying to produce a response more in this second half. Mourinho looked pumped up on his way in at half time and no doubt had some choice words for his players, and they look to be reacting finally.

51 minCHANCE!  United should be back into this game here, but Matic has just missed a sitter!

Fellini collects a corner on his chest before teeing up Pogba, who drilled effort takes a nick on the way through. Dubravka reacts well to get down and save it, but he can only parry it into the path of Matic. It falls to the midfielder on his left foot and he has most of the goal to aim at, but he blazes his rebound well off target.

52 minSAVE!  Newcastle test De Gea again at the other end as the ball drops to Ritchie on the edge of the box, but his effort is straight at De Gea.

53 minSHOT!  United are looking a lot more dangerous now, and Mata steers a well controlled volley just wide of the target from outside the area here. Really good effort from the Spaniard, but the direction was just lacking.

55 minCHANCE!  The chances are starting to come for United, but so far they have been unable to make the most of them. Here Rashford rises highest in the area, but he can’t quite climb high enough and flicks his header well wide of the target.

57 minNewcastle continue to hang on here – they have just over half an hour to hold off this improved United performance. So far, so good!

58 minYELLOW CARD!  Ritchie picks up a bizarre yellow card for taking a free kick too early.

59 minSHOT!  It is again far too easy for Newcastle as one pass forward finds Kenedy, who twists and turns before lashing a powerful effort over the crossbar.

61 minWhat must Alexis Sanchez be thinking right now? United are two down, in desperate need of a goal yet Mourinho has used Fellaini and Mata ahead of him so far.

63 minYELLOW CARD!  Pogba goes into the book for a cynical trip on Yedlin, catching the full-back on the Achilles.

65 minIt looks like Mourinho will be turning to Sanchez momentarily. Can the Chilean inspire a comeback? It is the final throw of the dice for the home side.

67 minMAN UTD SUB: Alexis Sanchez does indeed come on in place of Rashford, rather than Martial.

68 minNEWCASTLE SUB: The visitors also make their first change of the evening as Kenedy is replaced by Jacob Murphy.

69 minYELLOW CARD!  Diame goes into the book for a trip on Martial, which gives United a free kick in a very dangerous position…


70 minGOAL!  Now then! We have a game on our hands in the final 20 minutes here as Manchester United pull a goal back!

Mata lines up the free kick and curls it over the wall and into the bottom corner, with Dubravka unable to get across to it. Huge goal for United, giving them a lifeline here.

71 minCHANCE!  Almost an immediate response from Newcastle as Matic fails to see the ball out, with Muto getting a foot to it and poking it back into the area. Ritchie is there and tries to flick it past De Gea, but the United keeper blocks it from point-blank range.

73 minNewcastle are taking their time over everything right now, as you would expect. No cards yet for time-wasting, but the referee may not be far away from taking those measures.

74 minSAVE!  United are knocking on the door here and Newcastle need a smart save from Dubravka to keep out Fellaini’s effort.

75 minCHANCE!  Manchester United really should be level here! The corner falls at the feet of Smalling, who fires his effort straight at Dubravka when he should score. Moments later Pogba tries to acrobatically turn the ball towards goal, but Dubravka collects again.


76 minGOAL!  United have their equaliser and Old Trafford goes wild! It is lovely football from the hosts as Martial plays a quick one-two with Pogba inside the box before drilling his finish past Dubravka at the near post!

78 minCHANCE!  Oh my word! Moments after the equaliser, Newcastle should be back in front! Diame is left completely unmarked from a corner and has a free header, but he cannot get anywhere near good enough contact on the header and Lukaku clears the danger on the line.

79 minNEWCASTLE SUB: Another change from the visitors as Christian Atsu replaces Muto.

81 minJust under 10 minutes remaining in this match now and Newcastle can expect it to feel a lot longer than that. It will be backs-to-the-wall time for the visitors.

83 minMourinho is very animated on the touchline at the moment, roaring his side on. Credit where it is due – his half-time changes seem to have had the desired impact here.

85 minUnited will not have been happy with a draw coming into this match, but the way the game has developed there would be positives to take from this one – not least the way the players have fought in the second half.

87 minNewcastle have defended really well tonight, and it would be harsh on them if they didn’t get anything from this game. They are almost there now, though!

89 minNEWCASTLE SUB: A third and final change for the visitors sees Joselu replace Perez.


90 minGOAL!  Incredible scenes as Manchester United complete the comeback in the final minute of normal time!

It is Sanchez who gets his first of the season in timely fashion, planting his header past Dubravka from just behind Martial. Sanchez was out of favour at the start of the match, but now he is the toast of Old Trafford!

90+2 minThere will be five minutes of added time at the end of this match.

90+3 minSAVE!  Sanchez curls an effort towards goal, but it is easy for Dubravka to collect – even if he does need two attempts.


7.28pmIncredible. An incredible match at Old Trafford as Manchester United come from two goals down to beat Newcastle United 3-2, with all of their goals coming in the final 20 minutes.

It cannot be stated just how big that win could prove to be for Mourinho, who looked to be a dead man walking when United went two down inside 10 minutes. However, his players finally showed some fight and determination in the final 20 minutes and in the end they pulled off a result which could be the catalyst to kickstart their season.

7.30pmRight, that is all we have time for this evening!

Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for tonight’s match as Manchester United launch an incredible second-half comeback to beat Newcastle, who remain winless. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction too.

From me, though, it is goodbye for now.

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